Open all hours no more..it's the end of an era in Agher
More than a century of history came to an end on Sunday afternoon as Vincent Nangle closed up the shop his family has run at Agher Crossroads since the late 1800s for the last time.
Vincent himself has run the shop since 1956 so it was an incredibly emotional day for Vincent, his family and the entire community to see him turn the key in the door to close the shop that has been the hub of the community for so many generations.
More than 300 people turned out on Sunday to surprise Vincent and wish him well but it was also a sad day for the area to see their local shop close.
Unfortunately Vincent's wife Ann, who has been at his side serving customers for more than half a century was in hospital and didn't make it to celebrations but is on the road to recovery.
Vincent's daughter Anna and son Stan flew in from Australia especially and joined sons Barry and Peter who live locally, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and many friends to mark the occasion.
The local community pulled out all the stops setting up a marquee with all sorts of delicious cakes, treats and sandwiches followed by music on Sunday afternoon in honour of the Nangles. Indeed one woman brought in a bill head dating back to 1964, in old money it came to £3 and 10 shillings that Vincent said he would "cherish".
"It was a very pleasant surprise and a day I will never forget," said Vincent. "It was emotional. People are so good. You can't beat good neighbours."
"The shop was the hub of the place. We wouldn't have been here without the people. It is them who kept us going. It was always a great pleasure, we had great friends. It is a sad day but the day had to come some time for us to close."
Reflecting on his well over 60 years behind the counter, Vincent, now 81, said it has been a "pleasure" and they had been very lucky and had a "great life".
But he also spoke of the struggle it is for small country shops to keep going and how trends have moved towards the larger shops and supermarkets with the local shop now all but gone.
He said it was "sad to see it" and nothing could replace people coming in and out for the bit of chat and banter but he was sorry to say the day of the small shop is gone.
"We haven't the buying power, the selection or the space. It is a different time. I wouldn't ask a young person to stand at a counter from 8am every until 2pm on a Sunday. They wouldn't be making a living. Maybe in a bigger area they could."
The shop at Agher crossroads has been there for more than 140 years and Vincent's grandparents took it over in the late 1800's followed by his parents Vincent and Elizabeth (Betty). The shop was originally in the house but a separate shop was added in 1949 and continued there ever since.
Vincent's father died in 1952 and his mother and two brothers ran the shop. Then in 1956 after leaving school, Vincent began working in the shop and has been there ever since.
He met his wife Ann, who is from Carlanstown, at a carnival in Summerhill in 1959 and the couple were married in 1966.
The Nangles’ four children were all reared in the shop and helped out as soon as they were old enough and then after them the grandchildren, helping unload the van every Thursday.
There was a post office attached until 2010 but like in many rural communities this was pulled and since then the Nangles still ran a postal agency where people could still get their pensions, buy a stamp and other services. These will now move to Summerhill.
In busier times the Nangles opened at 8am each day and didn't close until 10pm at night but in latter years, they have been closing up the shop at 7pm. They also opened every Sunday until 2pm.
While the family helped out in the evenings and weekends, it was very much still Vincent and Ann running the shop and Vincent said thank god they had their health and good children and neighbours around them.
Now they won't be tied to running the shop, Vincent said he would play a few games of cards and would do some trips.
Son Barry, speaking on behalf of the family, paid tribute to his parents saying how proud they were of them and he also thanked the local community for organising Sunday's event.
"It was a happy day. It was great to see so many local people there. It shows how important a small little country shop is to the local area and it will be missed but it is something that is happening all over the country."