Tuesday 21 May 2019

Henry plays the last post on his post office career

Sheila Fitzgerald

The local community in Rockchapel turned out in their droves last week to pay tribute to former postmaster Henry Keogh and his wife, Ann, who recently retired after 37 years of service to people from the parish and surrounding areas.

On behalf of the local community, Tom Murphy presented Henry and Ann with a lamp made from bog oak and a voucher for Inchydoney Hotel was presented to the couple by Fr Denis Stritch PP. In addition, Eileen Enright presented a bouquet to Ann. 

A fantastic slide show of old photographs featuring people who were involved in the post office down through the years went down a treat with everyone, and was further enhanced by accompanying anecdotes courtesy of Neily Curtin and Mike Stack.

The history of the post office can be traced back to 1906 and it closed its doors for the final time on August 31 last. Many stories were told of times when life was very different to nowadays - at one point the telephone exchange in the post office malfunctioned because a local farmer used a telephone pole for his electric fence and the entire exchange became live. 

When the telephone service first arrived in the parish only four houses had it - the presbytery, the Garda station, and the other shop, as the visiting doctor would hold a dispensary there every week. 

Each member of the Keogh family worked in the post office as they grew up, along with some locals. Four generations of the Keogh family ran the business, starting with Denis J Curtin in 1906. Denis passed away in 1915 and was succeeded by his daughter, Molly. After Molly's death, her daughter, Kathleen, took over, and she married Harry Keogh, who was the local headmaster.

 In the late 1950's, the post office was moved from what is now Paddy Molly's pub to the Keogh's residence, where the shop and post office continued until its recent closure. Kathleen retired in 1981 when Henry and Ann took over. 

After a nostalgic trip down memory lane and plenty great refreshments, Henry, who is an enthusiastic musician, took to the stage with a large number of his friends and entertained until the small hours.