Renmore Stores, A Brief History
October 4th, 2007
This photograph of Renmore Stores was originally taken c. 1947 and shows William Duggan and his son John standing at the red door of the shop which faced towards open fields across the road.
The shop was opened in 1940 by William and his wife Evelyn who was one of the Leech family from Ross Hill Lodge. William was from Annaghdown and worked in McNamara's in Williamsgate Street. In 1940, Renmore was all open fields and agricultural land, and had very few houses. Those who lived on Renmore Road were the Duggans, The Finns, Beattys, Eddie Shea, The Shaughnessys, McNamees, Lowerys and Girvans, Bartley Nolan and Tony McGrath. Then there was the army church and barracks The house we see to the left of our picture belonged to Joe Kyne, the vet. Others who lived on the road into Galway were the Hepples, the Bruzzis and the Noonans, then there was an open space, then Ryans and Weirs near "The San", as Woodlands Hospital was locally known. It was a sanatorium for TB patients. On the far side of the road was the Jez pitch and Fahy's Field. A little further out, there was a small cluster of houses near the Galway Milk Company.
Duggans had about a dozen regular customers for the shop.
In the early days, it was mostly run by Evelyn. The door was closed for much of the day�.one had to press the doorbell which rang in the kitchen, and someone would unlock the door and serve you. Pakie Lydon would deliver the bread (grinders and turnovers) in the morning and after that you could set your watch by the customers arriving�. Nolans from below the bridge for their bread, Tom Gilmore for his Woodbines, Mike Curran for his tobacco etc. In the evening , the door was opened and the shop became a meeting place for the locals . It had a social dimension, and would be full of chat and smoke from pipes and cigarettes.
The tobacco had to be cut from a block. Most other goods such as flour, sugar, fruit for the Christmas cake etc , had to be weighed. This was a job for the Duggan children, and they were also trained to put these products into paper bags which had to be folded in a certain way. There was no such thing as string or tape.Their dad would pick up a bag and shake it, and if so much as a grain of sugar spilled, then the bag had to be folded again�.properly , this time. All of the the biscuit tins and jars the sweets came in were returned to the manufacturers, and you could not buy a siphon of lemonade (the only fizzy drink available) unless you returned an empty.
A number of women from Ballyloughane supplied the shop with country butter and local farmers like Malachy Noone came in with potatoes and vegetables on his pony and cart.
In those days, the men from An Ch�ad Cath in the barracks were important customers. If the army were going on manoeuvres, and one truck stopped outside the shop, all the other trucks would do likewise and Duggans would have a good day. It would also be busy if there were a coursing meet or a Sigerson Cup match in Fahy's Field. In the early fifties, Calvary Hospital was built across the road, and this meant a lot more business, especially from those visiting the maternity unit. In the mid fifties, William doubled the size of the shop. At the end of that decade, McInerneys bought up much of John "Red" Coyne's land and started to build Renmore as we know it today.
William and Evelyn's son John took over the running of the business in the mid sixties and with the help of his brother Tom, expanded the shop in 1970 and bought Kyne's house next door. In 1980, they continued developing and built the complex that is there today, consisting of the original shop, a full grocery, a post office and a pharmacy. And now, the third generation of Duggans are becoming involved in the business. They have big shoes to fill.
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