THE END OF AN ERA HAS COME. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE NEW TO CARLINGFORD, ON A SHORT VISIT TO CARLINGFORD OR HAVE YET TO GRACE THE VILLAGE, YOU MAY NOT UNDERSTAND THE CAUSE OF MY SORROW BUT I BELIEVE IT IS ONE WORTH SHARING WITH OUR CARLINGFORD ENTHUSIASTS.
Recently I’ve had to say goodbye to a part of my childhood that brought so many of us great joy throughout the years.
The memory of having a coin in your pocket running up Newry Street still excites me to this day and is one that so many of our generation can relate to.
It wasn’t until driving up Castle Hill of late that I saw the sturdy black door was shut. A small window usually embellished in goodies lay barren and I wondered if it could be so? Anna’s shop had always been a constant support in an attempt to preserve an element of our youth. It had always seemed to be there, serving the community in confectionary goods through good times and bad.
Anna, a true lady, represented something outside of modern day consumer gimmicks. There was no sign above her door. Her shop was exempt from advertising. You will not find Anna or her establishment on Google Search. She did not have pretty paper bags decorated in balloons and bubblegum, there was no special effect lighting to illuminate her merchandise, no opening hours visible because there weren’t any, yet you can’t ever remember going when it was shut.
Often on rainy days or dark evenings when the door stood ajar you knew you needed to execute a mannerly cough to invite the familiar face to appear in the doorway, humming away as she always did, before lifting up the old counter to go behind and offer her familiar kind word and friendly chat.
There was an unspoken bond between Anna and the villagers that earned her the trust of parents and children alike. It was the one business in the village that kids were allowed to be kids, you were guaranteed value for money and you never left that building without a smile on your face.
And what produce Anna had; Love Hearts, Chomps, Opal Fruits, Sherbets, Flogs, Refreshers, Golf Balls, Mix-Ups, Milk-Teeth, Mr. Freezes, Meanies, Dan bars, Dip Dabs, Fruit Salads (not exactly what they said on the tin), Football Chow’s, Cola Bottles, Snowballs, Macaroon Bars and Candy Sticks (fake cigarettes) to name a few. The options were exciting and the prices were logical.After picking and choosing your treats Anna would patiently wait while you counted out your pennies appreciating that you were parting with your life savings for this produce.
Carlingford has had a surfeit of history. Businesses come and go. Some succeed where others have failed. Some fail where others have succeeded. And for all the goods and services provided in the village throughout the years some will be remembered for a great deal of years to come. I know who tops my list.
On behalf of the 80s kids, the 90s kids, the 00s kids and the kids of today, Thank-You Anna for being dependable and constant in your humble business of goodness. When I look at Charlie and the Chocolate factory I think of you as we imagined the endless possibilities of operations going on out the back of your monumental, white-washed abode. When I pass the modern new craze ‘vintage’ sweet shops I think of you and laugh at their failure in comparison to your truly idyllic, fairytale backdrop. When I see kids spending ludicrous amounts for minuscule quantities of chocolate in excessive packaging I think of you handing me 100 Golf Balls in exchange for a pound, guaranteeing an afternoon of entertainment. There were no gimmicks and no scams. What you saw was what you got, in both the shop and in its owner. How often can we say that nowadays?
On behalf of Visit Carlingford I would like to thank Anna for her dedication and service to the Carlingford Community. I would like to express my admiration and praise for Anna’s hard work and bravery through times that offered many obstacles and burdens to business not to mention for a business operated by one dedicated lady, from her own home on a daily basis. Anna’s shop stood the test of time, it met with adversity head-on, fought through economic difficulty and succeeded each time, providing Carlingford with something and more importantly, someone to be proud of.
On behalf of the team we want to offer our Congratulations to Anna and wish her all the best in her well-earned retirement.
by Maeve Mc Cann.