This photograph was originally taken in June, 1963, as President John F. Kennedy was making his way along Father Griffin Road, As you can see, he is passing O'Broin's shop, more commonly known as O'Beirne's. Originally, the main thoroughfare along here was Munster Avenue, which ran from the corner of William Street West all the way to Grattan Road. The end nearest the beach was usually covered in fine sand and was known as The Bockatees, or Lovers Lane.
When Father Griffin Road was being constructed, it was suggested to James and Mairead O'Broin that this corner site might be a good one for a shop. They bought the site in 1932, and opened their shop in 1934. A 1936 advertisement tells us to "Be wise and shop with J. Byrne, High Class Grocer and Confectionery; Irish Bacon, Butter and Eggs a speciality; Lowest prices, personal attention, a trial will convince you; try our Frigidaire Ices, Tobaccos, Cigarettes, Sweets etc." The name over the door was eventually changed to the Irish language version, and indeed, the sign we see over the door was later stolen. Bean Ui Beirne was also a national school teacher in Scoil Fhursa. She used to grow flowers in the first floor glasshouse. She and her family lived in the house next door to the shop.
The house next door was occupied by Donovans, and next to them was Clarkes. A few doors further west was the home of the McGlory family. Their son Sean was an actor whose career started in An Taidhbhearc. He later moved to the Abbey, and later still went to Hollywood, where he acted in many films. I can remember a Tarzan movie coming to the Savoy, in which Johnny Weissmuller found himself surrounded by a pygmy tribe, all of whom had spears and kept jumping up and down shouting "Póg mo Thóin, Póg mo Thóin". You could say that Sean McGlory helped pack the Savoy that week. One of the last parts he played was a beautiful cameo role in John Huston's adaptation of James Joyce's "The Dead".
Across Fr. Griffin Road from O'Broins was Pat and Margaret McDonagh's B&B where they also kept students. On the other corner was O'Flaherty's garage, and the house on the fourth corner of this junction was Crosbies. The section of the road going west from this corner, and around Birmingham Terrace has not really changed much since it was built.
Our thanks to Dr. Enda O'Beirne for this photograph.