The slow, agonising death of small towns in Ireland
It grieves me to see long-established businesses in small Irish towns fold and close down day by day. Especially because I grew up near them and worked in one of them, in the 1950's/1960's.
In later years, when I went out as a "knight of the road" (commercial traveller), I saw the demise of long-established family shops almost weekly. Time was when the main street in any town was a thriving, vibrant place, humming with people all doing their business in a variety of shops. You had the bar and grocery stores, drapers, newsagents, greengrocers, shoe shops, cloth halls, butchers, bakers, hardware shops, salmon and poultry buyers, etc, - their owners all making a living and giving employment into the bargain. In a typical bar and grocery store you had maybe three shop assistants, a store man, a bookkeeper, a van man and a messenger boy.
It was the same story with all the other establishments, some of them giving more employment than the others depending on size. We weighed up the half-ounce of snuff, the quarter-pound of tea, the pound of sugar, the half-quarter of tobacco and the quarter, half, and stones of flour.