There are few shops on earth more interesting than a good hardware shop, especially one where you might chance on old fittings or implements, no longer in general use, that might just take care of your problem. Thomas Mc Donogh's shop in Merchant's road is such an establishment. Although it has been modernised in recent times, it still retains a sort of old fashioned atmosphere, where not everything is wrapped in plastic. That ambience used to be even better with a wonderful system of payment. Your invoice and your money were sealed into a hollow wooden ball, which was inserted into a sort of rocket shaped object, which was placed into a pipe facing the ceiling. A lever was pulled and your money took off into the nether regions while you held a conversation with the shop assistant. Eventually you heard the sound of the ball returning - the shop assistant unscrewed it and removed your receipt and your change and handed it to you. It was all very civilized.
The hardware shop is merely one component of the Mc Donogh group of companies. The following blurb was written some sixty years ago "The firm of Thomas Mc Donogh and Sons Ltd. has occupied an important position in Galway business circles for more than a century. It was founded over 100 years ago by the Mc Donogh family, which has taken a prominent part in both the industrial and public life of the town. The family is still actively associated with the business the managing director being Dr. Michael J. Mc Donogh, the other directors being Miss M.A. McDonogh and Mr. David J. O'Brien. Messrs.
Thomas Mc Donogh and Sons Ltd employ over 300 persons and are the largest merchants in Galway. At their up to date saw mills they produce a wide range of articles in native and foreign woods including carts, cartwheels, felloes and spokes. They also manufacture furniture on a considerable scale and are one of the largest stockists in the West of builders' materials, added to which they manufacture extensively concrete roofing and ridge tiles. Associated with the company are the firms of Mc Donogh's Fertilizers Ltd., manufacturers of sulphuric acid and compound fertilizers, and the Mc Donogh Milling and Trading Co. Ltd., flour and maize millers, whose household and bakers' flour, sold under the brands of "West Cream" "Corrib cream" and "Home Glory", are widely known and have a very high reputation."
Mc Donogh's have now decided to move their hardware operation out of the centre of town after 120 years. I suppose it reflects changing times, but I for one, am sorry to see Galway's best hardware shop moving out of the centre. Our photograph today shows the hardware shop and head office in Merchant's road in the fifties. There was two-way traffic there then some of it horsedrawn. (Please excuse quality of this week's photo - due to a technical problem)