20th Century / Irish Heritage / Market Street / The Abbey Loop / Timeline


shop-signMacDonald’s Irish Directory and Dromahair

Local Residents remember

” Myself and Vera Johnston used to watch for a Mrs Mc Parland who was a farmer’s wife from up the high road and when she would come into the village to Gillmores for her messages we would wait for her and she never failed to give us a penny for sweets. Another spot we used to play in was the shoemaker’s shop. Myself and Vera would go into Toner’s and sit and play among the pieces of leather he used to have strewn on the floor. There would always be a few of his cronies sitting and chatting “

Margaret Mc Loughlin http://www.lifehistoriesarchive.com/items/show/2528.

In 1932 “MacDonald’s Irish Directory” was published by a Scottish publishing company.

This listed a number of shops and other businesses in ‘Dromahaire’. I printed out a copy and showed it to Sean Johnston at his residence. We went down the list and he tried to remember what the businesses were, who owned or managed them, and where the shops were originally. It became obvious that a lot of old buildings were demolished and rebuilt, sometimes with extensions, for new commercial purposes, or were converted into private residences.

The 1932 Directory description of a premises is first given, then Sean Johnston’s comments and subsequent information from other sources.    We welcome further details from visitors to this website.                                          –  GB February 2017

Abbey Hotel, Dromahaire; teas, wines and groceries, all first class; J. Jeiter, proprietor

Joseph Jeiter, father of Paul, died in 1915. He came from Saarbrücken in Germany, a qualified baker, and arrived in Manorhamilton in 1880. His first business was in Manorhamilton, where he married Mary Doud from Cavan. They bought the Abbey, with a thatched roof, in 1895 and rebuilt the front combining English and German architectural styles. His widow and Paul’s brother Frank managed the business, until Paul eventually took over. Frank worked as a cook in New York’s famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel for a couple of years before returning in 1930 to help the family business. His cooking had a good reputation. Many wedding receptions were hosted by the hotel. Paul Jeiter also worked, as an engineer, in New York, where he did some maintenance jobs on the Brooklyn bridge and tunnel construction under the Hudson River, and he too returned in 1930. His business acumen and technical innovations were widely admired. Frank died in 1958, Paul in 1961, and Paul’s wife Kathleen ‘Katie’ died in 2010. In 1969 Katie Jeiter sold the Abbey to Geoffrey Hack from London. He died soon after and Joe McGoldrick became a partner in the business. He remembers using the hotel’s own generator for electricity until 1973. Some years in August a marquee was set up behind the hotel and dances here held. Big Tom and other stars performed.  In 1980 the business was sold to Donal Sullivan from Ballymote. Around 1982 Mr. Sullivan sold it to a Mr. Cregg, a farmer from Ballygawley.  Then around 1987 it was sold to Michael Joe Dolan. Around 1999 it was acquired by Lou Whitfield from Dublin. c.2001-2002 it was acquired by a group of four businessmen, who refurbished and reopened the hotel and restaurant in 2004.  It suddenly closed in 2009 and remains empty. Thanks to Joe McGoldrick for details of ownership since 1969.


Canning, Mrs. M.A.; grocery and delft warehouse.

It was a popular sweet shop, located where Corcorans subsequently lived. The proprietor was known as Ma Canning on account of her initials. Sweets were displayed in big Jars and were sold by weight i.e. 4 ounces, 8 ozs .  Retired bus driver, Thomas Corcoran, lived there until his death c.1995. Many years ago a teacher, Miss Mulholland, lodged at Cannings. Next to Cannings was a shop belonging to Francis Oates, son of Patrick and Kate (1911 census), with shelves displaying library books for borrowing. Nina Oates later managed the shop. This building was eventually demolished and today, further in from the street, is the post office building.


Dromahaire Co-operative Society Ltd., Creamery

Martin Clinton was manager.

The Breffni Co-Operative Creamery at Cleen reopened under that name after a fire in 1914. The first building had opened in 1904. The original co-treasurers of the committee to establish a co-op were prominent local businessmen, George Hewson of The Lodge and John Hosie of Castle Dargan. From 1928 to 1980 between 450 and 500 suppliers brought milk from a wide catchment area. It was known as a churning creamery as the cream was removed for churning into butter and farmers brought the skimmed milk back to farms to be used as animal feed etc. Monday was a busy day for workers, when farmers brought weekend milk. The co-op was wound up in 1986. Mr. Josie Torsney worked at the creamery from 1945 to 1968. He said that three or four workers always ensured that the interior walls were kept clean and the churning machinery was regularly sterilized to satisfy Department inspectors who insisted on high standards of hygiene. Boxes of butter were delivered to shops in North Leitrim. The creamery also sold weighed sacks of animal feed. This information is taken from a personal memoir written by Josie Torsney that was printed in 2015 for family reference.

At Cleen Crossroads .Description


Duncan, William; builder

Gillmor, Stuart J. & Son, Dromahaire; drapers

They sold hardware & building materials.  A bakery at the rear supplied fresh bread to several shops in North Leitrim. The first Gillmor came to the village around 1820, from Tyrone, and the business thrived through three generations until about 2013, when John Gillmor retired. In 2017 Gala opened a supermarket and coffee shop in the premises.


Hicks, Mrs.; spirit merchant

Mrs. Hicks had a pub located at where Fowleys funeral home now stands. It was later O’Briens.

Hone, J.; draper

Hosie, John, Breffni Mills; corn miller

Hosie lived in Castle Dargan. He helped found the Breffni Creamery co-op at Killeen. He had a grain store at Dromahair railway station, and stores in Manorhamilton and Blacklion, and exported flour, eggs and other foodstuffs to the UK by rail. During the war years 1939 to 1945 he operated a barter system, exchanging flour for fresh eggs and other food. Farmers from Donegal and elsewhere brought wheat for milling and gave Mr. Hosie a small percentage of the resultant flour bags as payment-in-kind for the service. He died in 1950.

Kelly & Co., tea merchants

These grocery premises were at what subsequently became known as the Blue Devon pub. Mona Kelly married Joe Dolan.  Kellys also sold footwear and coffins. Tom Corcoran bought the premises in the 1960s and named it the Blue Devon, after he caught with a Blue Devon hook a large salmon from the Bonet river.  Today an extension at the rear of the Blue Devon is used for Bingo, drama productions by the Lough Gill Players, and fundraising events.

M’Carrick, Kate E.; grocer          

It stood opposite Stanfords and was a small shop. A hall was adjacent, where court cases were sometimes held. A Patton married a McCarrick. The Patton brothers, Raymond and Dermot, in 1970 renovated what became known as Pattons Hall.  People also called it the Breffni Hall. Country musicians like Big Tom and Larry Cunningham performed there. The hall also hosted community drama productions and school concerts. In the 1980s Bingo, charity auctions and other fundraisers were held there.

M’Gowen, G.E., School Supply Stores; bookseller

O’Carrol, Miss E.; dental surgeon

This was at Dr. Jordan’s period residence. Dr. James O’Carroll lived in the village a long time, appointed dispensary doctor in 1886, and died in 1940.  His son Harry O’Carroll was appointed County Surgeon for Leitrim in February 1922. Profiled in the Leitrim Guardian by Sean Sweeney in 1981. Dr. Susan O’Carroll died in 1963. The family plot is in Killenummery cemetery.


O’Hara, John; draper

This was where the Chinese takeaway now stands. It later traded as Creeds grocery and sold second-hand furniture and other household effects. They sold timber. Old disused petrol pumps stood outside the premises until the mid-1980s.

Stanford, Patrick; grocer

This picturesque building is today Stanford’s Inn & the Village Tearooms.                          Tom MacGowan married Delia Stanford, and today the business is managed by the MacGowan family. Some bricks produced in clamps in Friarstown from the late 19th century until the 1940s, near Ballintogher,  give the inside bar a pleasant period quality.


Ulster Bank, Ltd.

Addendum: F. Kelly is still inscribed on a residence between Gillmors and Fuschia Cottage. It was a grocery shop. Phil Brady later rented the shop. Mr.F.Kelly subsequently built the Woodview Inn, where groceries and kerosene were also sold.dsc_0047_1


The Tea Rooms


1951  Tea Rooms

Mrs. Dunleavy owned the thatched Tea Rooms seen in this 1951 photo . Monthly fair days were held on the third Thursday and she cooked hot meals and served soup with sandwiches to hungry people in from the countryside, in a room to the left of the picture. The kitchen and living quarters were at the right, and there was a back yard. Mrs. Dunleavey was musical and gave piano lessons to young people in the area. Mrs. Dunleavey’s daughter, Mary McLoughlin, remembers: “Our house was a hive of activity as the early birds [cattle drovers] would be in for a quick cup of tea with bread and jam. Cost 1/6P and later, when business was done, they would be back for the meat tea 2/6 which consisted of hot beef in gravy.” The Luna restaurant was built with a modern kitchen in a rear extension around 2014 and operated until the end of 2015. It reopened under new management early in 2017. Terry Leyden remembers that Ambrose Dunleavy was a tailor and had his workshop nearby in a section of what is now the Blue Devon.

Other Businesses

Many other premises were not listed in the 1932 Directory published by MacDonalds, such as a post office first run by the Hope family (later Robinson’s grocery, and later Crafts & Sweaters owned by Inga Lloyd, and most recently a hairdressing salon). Mr. Hope operated the first post office in the village. A member of the Robinson family married a Hope and the premises became a grocery. Until the late 1980s Robinsons was visited by customers from far and wide on account of the quality of the sliced bacon. On her retirement, Inga Lloyd donated some of the old world shop fittings to the Folk Museum at Riverstown.

  • Wards and McGoldricks at the railway station.
  • Hosies’ warehouse at the station,
  • Near the creamery at Killeen there was Oswald Parkes drapery and footwear store.
  • Lattens had a general store in the vicinity.
  • Clintons also had a shop at the creamery.
  • Travers drapery stood near the station.
  • John Byrne had a shop on the Tully road.
  • Two McGoldrick sisters had a small shop where McGoldricks Centra supermarket stands today. The railway station store eventually closed and grandparents of the current McGoldrick family took over and developed the village premises. Until the 1980s there was a post office beside McGoldricks, then it moved to the location of Downeys.





7 thoughts on “DROMAHAIR SHOPS IN THE 1930s

  1. The Breffni Co-Operative Creamery reopened under that name after a fire in 1904. The original co-treasurers of the committee to establish a co-op were prominent local businessmen, George Hewson of The Lodge and John Hosie of Castle Dargan. From 1928 and 1980 between 450 and 500 suppliers brought milk from a wide catchment area. The co-op was wound up in 1986. Mr. Josie Torsney worked at the creamery from 1945 and 1968. This information is taken from a personal memoir that was printed in 2015 for family use.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oates shop was owned and run by their daughter Nina who was married to the late Patsy Gilmarrtin….Nina’s was a local grocery shop with a lovely stove in the centre where customers gravitated to for warmth …it was a real busy country shop full of welcome, this was in the sixties.
    Also has Phil Brady’s shop been mentioned….next door to Josie Torsneys RIP….this shop was a great stop for children on the way to and from school…lots of variety of sweets etc If I recall correctly, the premises had a bad fire and may have closed as a business then.
    Another great memory was a lady May O’Connor who ran a sewing business from one of the small houses at the side of Centra, she lived up Tully but arrived each day on her bicycle loaded down with bags, Getting the garments of her trade in order was not a strength of hers but I often called for a chat when I was young, one could get no further than the door…again a lovely time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Two Leitrim pubs you should know about – Magnumlady Blog

  4. Pingback: DROMAHAIR SHOPS IN THE 1930s – Bríd Boland (Writer)

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