Ann Fitzgerald: A community's fight for their post office offers hope for rural Ireland
Our local post office in Abbeyleix recently closed. But, fortunately, it immediately reopened 100 yards down the road.
What was previously a standalone outlet, has now, following a tender process, been incorporated into a corner of the town's SuperValu supermarket.
The post-office has been in the Connolly family for 60 years and departing postmaster Derry Connolly pointed out: "I am not of retirement age and I wouldn't be retiring at all if it wasn't guaranteed that the post office would continue in the town."
Proprietor of the SuperValu is Connell Breslin who also owns another branch of the chain 18km away in Rathdowney, where a similar consolidation will happen in a few months when the postmaster retires.
This is part of a nationwide pattern of retirements and incorporation of post offices into supermarkets like SuperValu.
A few days later I was standing at the nearby traffic lights when I fell into conversation with a local man walking his children to school.
He was sad at the move and described happy childhood holidays in Allihies (West Cork) when his phonecall home would be put through by the exchange at the post office.
He still visits Allihies and its post office, where his son spoke of getting strawberry bon-bons, "which, for some reason, are blue."