Thursday 26 April 2018

'I really loved meeting people' - Ireland's longest serving postman retires after over 51 years

James Cashin
James Cashin

David Looby

IRELAND’s longest serving postman James Cashin hung up his postbag recently after 51 and a half years delivering letters and packages

James, from New Ross, started delivering as a boy of 15 on October 10, 1966.

He was due to retire when he turned 66 last year but sought a one-year extension.

James reported for duty on Good Friday and told his colleagues that he had delivered his last letter.

"I told them I was giving it up and that was it. I have a few grandchildren now and I’ve school duties."

When asked if he thought there were any other postmen who had served for longer, James told the New Ross Standard: "I don’t think so, no,"James replies.

James recently visited Peurto Rico in the Canaries with his wife Anne, some siblings and their wives and got a taste for retirement freedom.

Reflecting on his long career, James said: "I loved it. I really loved meeting people, especially the older people. When I started they would be waiting on you for a bit of news. I would call into elderly people to say hello and to see if they were alright; it’s all part of the job."

He thanked Anne for her support, describing her as ‘brilliant’.

The son of Nick and Joan Cashin, James was one of 13 in the Cashin family. Acting on the sage advice of his father to get a pensionable job, James took the postman exam in Waterford in 1966.

Soon James found himself bringing telegrams from the post office on Charles Street to people across the district.

James said: "I could be out on telegrams for Old Ross in the morning and then on to Tullogher or The Rower or somewhere in the afternoon. At the time people who died in England were notified by telegram.’

He then worked as a postman in Ferrybank in Waterford, travelling down every morning at 5.45 a.m. on his Yamaha 80 motorcycle. James always enjoyed the social aspect of the job and after a few years in Waterford he was relocated to the New Ross area to do relief work.

He covered his New Ross area route for four decades and on his routes did everything from bringing in fuel and running errands to lighting the fire. "I didn’t mind the hours and went to bed at ten every night, getting up at 5.30 a.m."

In 1975 James married Anne Coppola who had spotted him on his bicycle delivering post ‘and she never looked back’, James said.

They had four children, Nicola, Tony, Paula and Ricky and grandchildren Freya, Max, Conor and Áine.

James said: ‘The job was handy enough. It was rough when you were on the bike as the distances were greater then. The volume of mail wasn’t the same and it has declined a lot in recent years, the peak being in around 2000.’

James never feared delivering at houses where there were dogs as he has always kept greyhounds and was a dog lover.

James has established a close bond with many people across the district, including Mrs Josie Rochford, 87 and her husband Jack Rochford, 90, in

Poulmounty.

Every Monday morning Mrs Rochford left a note in the letterbox directing James to the back door where she left him a loaf of freshly baked bread for his efforts. She started the tradition three years ago when James’s mother Joan passed away.

James celebrated his 50 years as a postman with his brothers Paul, Pat and Eugene who are all postmen, along with his colleagues, at the local An Post depot in Woodbine Business Park in October 2016.

Since he retired James has been inundated with calls from colleagues and people who can’t believe he won’t be calling to their door anymore.

A fit man who doesn’t drink or smoke, James said he will miss some aspects of the job, adding that the ideal postman has a good personality and some manners.

He plans to spend time with family and looking after his brother Murt’s greyhounds with him.

New Ross Standard

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