Via Sunday Miscellany on RTÉ Radio 1: Memories of a much loved Carlow instution - Maria O'Rourke reads Mary Kelly's Shop above.
Inherited from her mother before her, Mary Kelly's shop was always painted red. The display windows on either side of the door were rearranged regularly - selection boxes and biscuit tins at Christmas, pyramids of Easter eggs during Lent, and Halloween masks in October. There were yellow and red streamers of plastic so that you couldn’t see through to the shop from the road, and when Mary was decorating the window, all you could see was her disembodied arm arranging this season’s treats.
I never saw Mary Kelly outside of her shop, although I believe she went to 7.30 Mass every morning, returning just in time to sell cigarettes to the men on their way to work in the Sugar Factory. She ran a 'book’ for my grandmother, my mother and my aunt, and for countless other Carlow people, mostly women.
The entries were written in a sort of code that only Mary and her customer understood. Sl P was a sliced pan, 10 cigs could mean Silk Cut red in the case of my mother, Consulate for Granny or Silk Cut Purple for my aunt. Each day more was added, until a line was drawn at the end to signify payment. My grandmother’s last bill came to eight pounds, four shillings and six pence.
Listen to more from Sunday Miscellany here.