Dublin postmaster retires after 40 ‘absolutely brilliant’ years
‘Every customer who walked through that door walked out as friend’
Seán and Stephanie Maher close up the shop which opened in 1979 on Berkeley Road, Phibsborough. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
Locals stopped by to say farewell to a northside Dublin postmaster who retired on Tuesday after 40 years of service in the same location.
Seventy three-year-old Séan Maher first opened for business on Berkeley Road, Phibsborough in July 1979, with his wife, Stephanie. They started with a mini-market which they turned into a post office three years later.
Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Maher said it had been “absolutely brilliant”.
“I think every single customer who has walked through that door came in as a customer but walked out as friend,” he said.
A continuous stream of locals came in and out of the shop to wish him well in his retirement – two girls in their 20s, a mother and her baby, and a male pensioner were all greeted with a kiss and hug.
There were about 300 invited customers in the post office on Saturday afternoon to celebrate Mr Maher’s retirement. Balloons were still hanging from the ceiling while workmen carried out final checks on alarm systems and cleared out stock.
Asked about working alongside her husband, Mrs Maher, who retired a year earlier, said it was “a way of life”.
“We’d be having a row and then a customer would come in and then we’d be full of smiles,” she said.
The business has also experienced some tough times with several robberies occurring over the years.
Mr Maher said the worst robbery happened about eight years ago.
“While I was serving at the counter, the wall behind me came down and there were men with guns hidden behind it. It was a harrowing experience,” he said.
He has seen many changes in the postal service, the main one being the introduction of computers.
“It made it easier to serve customers quickly and it put a stop to fraud. It also helped people calculate sums of cash more accurately,” he said.
He said he felt very sad finishing up.
“I’d love to carry on if my body would carry on. At my age I should have retired about 11 years ago.”
But he said he doesn’t have time to dwell on it. He and his wife are off to New York to visit their daughter and newest grandchild next week.
The Berkeley Road service will be temporarily re-located to the Phibsborough branch until An Post finds a suitable candidate to take over.