TODAY, Friday, August 27 is a red letter for a kind and caring postmistress as she retires and hands over the keys of Castlecomer Post Office for the last time.
For half a century, Anna Mai Mullins and her devoted staff Sheila Fenlon and Helen Barrett, with the assistance of Anna’s husband Dick have provided a wonderful local service at the town’s PO at the junction of Chatsworth Street and The Square.
The occasion is a nostalgic one for staff and customers as the post office was both a service to the community and a social venue too, for meeting friends and a chat.
The good news is that as one memorable era comes to an end, another opens up as the PO will now be in a new premises adjacent to the local Eurospar and will be run under the aegis of the supermarket.
No doubt Anna Mai and her staff will get the stamp of approval from an official of An Post who today oversees the transformation and makes a presentation to Anna.
It will be a new world for those using the postal service, posting letters and parcels, collecting weekly State pensions or social welfare payments.
OBLIGATORY TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE
The promise is that it will be business as usual.
The obligatory trip down memory lane for those at the changing over ceremony surely includes many happy events in the PO and a number of attempts at robberies in what was, ironically, once a police headquarters.
Back in the early ‘30s when business began at the premises that is now becoming redundant, the postmistress was Ms Evelyn Larkin who was joined by Ms Mary O’Reilly, formerly of Crettyard.
The latter went on to became postmistress until the early 1970s when Anna Mai Mullins sat into the hot seat.
Mary O’Reilly was assisted by her sister Kathleen. In the early years in particular the PO had some great characters who delivered the post locally.
Michael ‘Lowry’ Byrne, Mick Brennan from Clogh, Tom Gleeson and Jack Corcoran were but a few of the much loved and appreciated fir an phoist.
Anna Mai, her husband Dick and PO staff may experience mixed emotions when the shutter finally comes down at 4pm.
They may look forward to their retirement years, they will certainly treasure the excellent rapport they enjoyed with customers over 50 years and they will more than likely promise to keep in touch with old friends in the new premises.
RUNNING FOR IRELAND AGED 75
For Dick Mullins, the word retirement is not exactly prominent in his personal dictionary.
He retired from his own job 10 years ago but continued to work away in the background at the post office.
Whatever about cutting back as a hard-working man, there wasn’t a hope of him taking any short cuts in the world of athletics where he continues to be a real wonder of the Irish international team.
He joined his local St Abban’s Athletic Club in 1963 and is still one of the true blues in a club that remains a wonderful nursery in the region for running, jumping and their first cousins.
As a cross country runner he has been selected for Ireland in five successive years for U75.
As he was 75 last December, he will now compete in over 75 and is hoping that internationals will be held in November.
An Post and first to deliver have something in common and for a glorious hat-trick, Dick has so often been first past the winning post and is planning for more of the same.
His legacy could be the man who always delivered on and off the field.