Date Published: 30-Jun-2011
John Sheridan was only 14 years old when he got his first job in the city, where he remained in the retail business for over 50 years
until his retirement.
John doesn’t look anything like his 65 years and for the last 25 of those he spent serving customers in the menswear department of Anthony Ryans, where he says he enjoyed every minute.
“They are great to work for. There were great people working there and I really liked my work but it was time to retire,” he says.
For the native of Oranmore, who was one of ten children, there was no talk of further education in those days and getting a job was high on the agenda for most people.
It was his mother, a regular customer at The Blackrock Tailoring Company in Williamsgate Street, now long closed, who got him the job.
She came home from town one day and announced that John would be starting as a shop assistant. That was 1960. John was just 14.
“That was the way it was. You learned your trade. You started at the bottom, not even serving customers. I remember learning how to package goods people bought. Blackrock was known then for its brown paper packaging tied up with a green twine. That was before plastic or paper bags. I got £1 7s 6d (one pound, seven shillings and sixpence) and like most young boys still living at home, I handed it all up to my mother and she gave me what she thought I needed for the week!
“Training was very important in those days, no matter what age you were. It was expected that the job would train you.
“Not only were we trained in practical ways – like I spent most of my time upstairs at first folding shirts and sweaters – but on how to say ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon’ to customers. There was great importance put on being polite to customers. I think all that has changed now in a lot of the high street stores where shop assistants don’t even feel they have to look at you, let alone greet you!” he says.
Sure enough John did learn his trade and he found he loved everything about it, most of all dealing with customers. It wasn’t long before he got his opportunity to move down the town to Mainguard Street to a specialist men’s shop called Burtons.
One of the reasons he left Blackrock was because the premises closed for a while following a fire.
He was still commuting between his home and work. Commuting in those days meant “thumbing” as in walking up College Road until he was in the countryside and hitching. That side of town was still undeveloped.
“In those days there was no public transport from our side and I was often running late but that was acceptable at that time because most workers didn’t have a car.”
He says that in those times everyone was at the same level. “We had nothing but we had everything, as in values and respect.”
They were, he says, simpler times, which is why he has appreciated everything he has achieved.
It was inevitable then that a young, athletic man with a steady job (though no car) would meet a girl and settle down. And that’s what happened when he met Bridie Gills from Ballindereen. Her uncle Mick won two All-Ireland medals, one for his native Galway and one for Dublin where he was based later.
As a young man John too enjoyed a few sporting achievements. He hurled with Oranmore. They won the county Minor title in 1963 and the county Junior in 1965 but were beaten in 1968 in the Senior finals by Castlegar who brought an end to Oranmore’s good run.
As a sports lover, it was natural for him to get involved with Galway United when he became a father to three sons, though he quickly adds that he couldn’t kick a ball!
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Judge adjourns Connemara assault case
Date Published: 08-May-2013
A date will be set next October for the trial of a 52-year old Connemara man, who is charged with assaulting traditional Irish musician Noel Hill five years ago.
Michael Folan from Teach Mór, Lettermullen, is charged with intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Noel Hill at Tí Padraig Mairtín Beag in Leitir Mór, on St Stephen’s Day, 2008.
The matter had been listed for trial on several occasions before Galway Circuit Criminal Court in the intervening period.
It was referred to the High Court in Dublin last year for judicial review after Michael Folan said he wanted his trial heard ‘as Gaeilge’and that a bi-lingual jury be made available to hear the case.
At Galway Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Rory McCabe adjourned the case for mention to October when it’s expected a date will be set for trial.
Bank of Ireland Galway Shopping Centre branch to close
Date Published: 10-May-2013
Bank of Ireland’s branch at Galway Shopping Centre on the Headford Road is to close in July.
The branch is to merge into the BOI outlet at Galway Industrial Estate in Mervue.
Galway Bay fm news reports the 14 staff impacted are to be offered redeployment and there will be no job losses.
Galway RNLI rescues three people stranded on Hare Island
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway RNLI Lifeboat has come to the rescue of three students who got stranded on Hare Island after getting caught in the tide off Ballyloughan Beach.
The two girls and boy, in their late teens had gone for a walk and were spotted waving from the island by a local resident who contacted the emergency Services and Galway Lifeboat.
Conditions at the time (4pm) were very changeable with heavy showers.
Three members of the Lifeboat shore crew were working in the vicinity of the station at the time and launched the boat in six minutes.
The three students were picked up safely and brought back to the Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks where they were warmed up and given tea and did not require medical attention.