‘I’m smiling but I’m broken inside’: Limerick postmistress prepares to close after 37 years

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Majella Ryan’s retirement after 37 years means the village will now have no post office Picture: Dave Gaynor

Majella Ryan’s retirement after 37 years means the village will now have no post office Picture: Dave Gaynor

EMOTIONS spilled over at Knocklong post office this Friday where postmistress Majella Ryan was spending her last day behind the counter.

Majella’s retirement after 37 years means the village will now have no post office. 

Knocklong is one of seven post offices in the county and 159 around the country to close as a result of a deal brokered earlier this year by An Post and the Irish Postmasters Union. 

“I’m smiling but I’m broken inside,” Majella said as friends, neighbours and long-standing customers turned out to mark the day, and to wish her well in her retirement. 

All week, gifts of flowers, candles and wine were being handed in at the post office attached to Majella’s bungalow home. 

And this Friday, life-long friend Pauline Walsh and Majella’s sisters, Colette and Mary along with other friends, had prepared a royal send-off for Majella. With teas and coffees, sandwiches, wine and even glasses of bubbly to choose from, the party spilled out into the garden. 

But there was sadness at the loss of yet another service in a village that has lost so many other businesses over the years. 

“We are going to miss her. She is such a great lady and always very helpful,” said Theresa Houlihan. Theresa will now have to get someone to drive her to the next nearest post office to collect her pension. 

And, as Shamie Walsh pointed out, there is no public transport in place to get people to neighbouring post offices. Instead they will have to rely on lifts or hire hackney cars which could cost up to €20 round trip. 

“For Majella this is OK but for the community it is not,” Pauline Walsh said. “We do need our post office in our community.”