Delgany garage closes after 50 years


ON AN appropriately damp and gloomy Halloween, a small light went out in the north Wicklow village of Delgany.

Patterson’s petrol station, which achieved a certain national recognition after it was used as the setting for a recent 11850 advertising campaign, turned off the pumps for the final time after more than 50 years in business.

As a steady stream of customers dropped in, almost all expressed sadness. Comments like “it’s a sad day” and “so sorry it has come to this” were met with a slightly crest-fallen “there was little choice, really”.

“There weren’t any other options unfortunately,” said Avril Pierce, daughter of owners John and Joyce Patterson. “It’s amazing how many people are upset.”

The garage business was started by John Patterson’s father Jack, from Trudder in Newtownmountkennedy.

He sold petrol and serviced cars. When John took over in 1961, he and Joyce built the business that ceased yesterday.

The small concrete office from where they, and their late dog Pippi, greeted and served customers used to be a great source of local information. The window was plastered with tradesmen’s business cards and announcements of local events. A memorial photo of Pippi looked down on the ever-present Guide Dogs for the Blind collection box, a life-sized copy of a dog.

“What really upsets people,” Ms Pierce said, “is the loss of the social aspect of the place – meeting someone you knew and who gave a personal touch.”

But times have changed. Patterson’s could not compete with the big players and their seductive one-stop but soulless convenience shops selling everything from wine to groceries to newspapers.

The strain of running a business on tiny margins also told on John and Joyce, both now in their late 70s. A couple of robberies in recent years didn’t help either. The car repair workshop run separately will continue, however.

But for now, a small hub of activity that helped give life to a community has ceased.