By Marian Harnett

PROLOGUE: We have two ears and one mouth so we should listen more than we say.  Zeno of Citium.

DEATHS. Sincere sympathy to the families of the late Brenda Aherne Woulfe,  Church St. and Peg McEnery nee Collins, Knocknagoshel.  May they rest in peace.

THE END OF AN ERA:  Ann Lyons’s sweet shop and small grocery, The Square, Abbeyfeale which opened for business approximately 41 years ago closed on Saturday, February 27. Christmas week 2020 had brought the shocking news that Ann Lyons was dead – Ann whose sweet shop in the Square was an institution, shelves laden with jars of sweets, stacked boxes of penny sweets at eye level, sweet cakes and buns,  Brennan’s loaves, tins of custard, jellies, soups, Limerick ham, Charleville cheese in the fridge, rubber gloves, dish clothes, scrubbing brushes and much much more. The counter covered in Split the Bucket, C.D’s, sporting books, parish magazines, tickets for socials, parish outings, afternoon tea dances, fundraisers, raffle tickets and all the minutiae it takes to keep a community going. Ann might have been confined to a wheelchair but she was always there to help out her church and her community no matter how often she was asked.  Ann’s support of WL102fm from when it went on air first in 2005 to her death was extraordinary and she was very proud of the involvement of her nephew Liam Aherne who was one of its first sports commentators and who has now moved on to work with RTE. Her shop was a Mecca for the thousands of children who passed through her doors over the past 40 years coming from school or in town on Saturday for the weekly shopping or attending the St. Patrick’s Day Parade or the Fleadh by the Feale, the Gathering, Santa’s arrival in town, and all the other going’s on down the years. A trip to town was no good without a call to Ann and communions, confirmations, sporting achievements were all celebrated there. Thirty six years ago Mary Flynn from Meenoline finished her Leaving Cert and took a summer job with Ann, she quickly became indispensible helping Ann with the ordering, packing shelves, serving customers and all the myriad of jobs that running a small shop entail.  Mary and Ann made for a formidable twosome – there was the welcome of the world for every customer and it didn’t matter whether you were coming to spend your pocket money or do your weekly shop, Ann and Mary knew your name and what class you were in or if you had moved on to college or to work or to quote Rosemary Fonseca who came to live in Abbeyfeale some years ago.    “Ann Lyons’ … We knew not well

a well-known landmark within the town

And as we came from lands afar

you both welcomed us with a smile

when we landed within the Square

A well-known place for folks, young and old

buying candies from the jars

shelves well stocked within the store

When we met in the street

The lady in the chair

a beam that shone so bright

Upon this sweet and bountiful day

Both ………… ‘Ann and Mary’,

would take their time to speak  to

A blow-in upon that day

Thank you for the time you took

to welcome us to the town

The times we took to step inside

You beckoned us with a smilethat made our day

It was so sad to hear

That she was laid to rest

Upon the day

The lady within the chair.

We thank you both for the wondrous times

That children had, both the young and the old

in passing time

rambling from school to home

visiting the landmark within the midst

T’is sad to hear – A landmark so dear

within the square is passing through

Hearing stories, through the vine

Will close …….. this one last time

A landmark within the town

That we now know so well

(On hearing that this shop and the people involved, has been in the town for over 41 years) To Mary and Ann (Rip)

Mary continued to run the shop but unfortunately its days were numbered and it finally closed on Saturday, February 27. Thank you to Ann’s family who gave away much of the stock of her shop to her customers. The love and esteem that Mary was held in was evidenced by the queues that lined the Square on Friday and Saturday from early morning to dusk with children carrying bouquets of flowers and gifts to give to the lady who always had the smile and who called them by their name no matter their age. We wish Mary great success as she begins the next chapter in her life.

SOCIAL ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE:  Are you interested in developing or expanding your social enterprise? Have you an innovative approach to addressing community needs? ‘Cooperating to Succeed’ is an imaginative yet practical programme designed to support social entrepreneurs, providing a year-long training and support package, tailored to your current needs. For further information please contact [email protected] or 069 66294.

TAKEOUT AVAILABLE:  We all need something to look forward to during these months of pandemic so why not treat yourself to a meal from Leens Hotel.  Available from 1-8pm seven days a week. Conor McCarthy’s Kitchen Table has also reopened for Takeaway and the Green Gourmet in Convent St.  is open for takeaway until 3pm Monday to Friday.

WANTED:   Trainers & Mentors Wanted: Social Inclusion & Community Activation Programme (SICAP) is looking to form a panel of experts to support the delivery of SICAP activities. For Expression of Interest Form please visit or contact SICAP Co-ordinator, Dearbhla Conlon Ahern on [email protected]