My memory of Croke Street, is one of a bustling business and manufacturing area. You might think that this is an overstatement and that I’m looking back through rose coloured glasses, however, when I was young, Croke Street and its immediate environs, from lower Friar Street and The West Gate to Stradavoher, was home to a host of artisans, and a variety of thriving businesses says Jim Quinn.
I’m talking about the war years and the early 1950s. Here you had, 2 barbers, 3 tailors, 2 shoe makers, 3 bakeries, a blacksmith’s forge, a farrier, a coach-builder, a coffin maker, the town gas works, a dairy supplying bottled milk, and the Tipperarry Star printing works. There was a rag and bone merchant who was an exporter though he didn’t see himself as such, and 2 establishments exporting rabbits and fowl, both domestic and wild to the starving millions in England. There was a large variety of shops, several groceries, pubs, drapers, etc. Beside Dunnes was Mc Grath’s electrical (that was ahead of its time in a town where some establishments did not have electricity).
Further on down the street was a hardware shop; the proprietor cluttered up the footpath all day with a variety of buckets and pans and shovels and other items, advertising what was available inside. The street had its own Pawn Shop that got many a poor soul through the week. There were several boarding houses and rooms to rent to cater for the large influx of workers during the beet campaign. All these places were my playground in those happy days before the realities of life came along to ruin my carefree existence. See next weeks Tipperary Star for full story.