Sunday 21 July 2019

Coolgreany's last post

Postmistress Norah Finn says tearful goodbye to her customers before closing

Postmistress Norah Finn locks up for the final time
Postmistress Norah Finn locks up for the final time
Postmistress Norah Finn with her daughter Ciara
Norah with Terence O' Malley

Sara Gahan

Tears filled the eyes of postmistress Norah Finn as she turned the key in the door to Coolgreany's Post Office for the final time last Thursday.

The closure comes under the terms of a voluntary redundancy package offered by An Post and announced in September.

Coolgreany Post Office has stood in the corner of Jim Short's Grocery Shop for 13 years, serving up to 4,000 people on the Wexford/Wicklow border, but it has been part of the community since 1847.

The customers were met with a big smile from Norah, who spoke of her sadness and upset at having to close the doors after years of service.

'It is the end of an era for the village and it feels like a death for me,' said Norah, as she tried her best to hold back the tears.

'It is sad to be leaving here and my biggest worry is for my customers. I just hope they are all set up now for the move to their next Post Office.

Norah, who handed out her private number to her customers in case any issues arise, said she can honestly say that 99 per cent of her 13 years serving as postmistress in Coolgreany has been a pleasure.

'I rarely had any issues, it is such a lovely area to work in,' said Norah. 'The people are so kind - I have had chocolate, "thank you" cards and flowers coming out of my ears.'

The postmistress said she doesn't want to leave her position but felt she had no choice but to accept the voluntary redundancy package that was offered.

'Last Friday, the last day for pensions, was a horrendous day here,' said Norah. 'I was just upset saying goodbye to them all. My oldest customer, who had been one of my very first customers, broke down and cried in front of me.'

Norah has plenty of memories from her time as postmistress and recalls how one couple spontaneously started waltzing outside of the office while waiting in line to be served by her.

'I just want to thank all of my customers from the bottom of my heart and I appreciate the support. I will always be so grateful,' said Norah. 'I also want to thank shop owners Jim and Cynthia for all the help over the years.'

Following the closure on Thursday, all social welfare payments were transferred to Ballyfad Post Office.

Before Norah locked up for good, a queue of people gathered outside the Post Office to carry out their last few jobs and to say goodbye to Norah.

Customer Catherine Hempenstall said she will miss Norah as she was always helpful and pleasant to everyone. She added that it is the end of an era for the village.

'I'm very sorry to see it going, it was always such a professional Post Office,' said Terrence O'Malley. 'I would have been a regular customer here and will miss Norah.'

David Alexander, and his son Adam, called in one last time to stock up on stamps before Norah closed. He said he didn't want to have to travel to Arklow. He added that he will definitely miss the Norah and the Post Office.

Gorey Guardian