Family newsagent closes its doors after 111 years in Dublin city
Customer say goodbye to Patricia Duffy at her shop, Lucky Duffy’s Newsagents, in Parnell Street Dublin, which has closed. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
After 40 years before the counter, Patricia Duffy has shut up shop on what is reputed to be one of the oldest newsagents in Dublin city. Lucky Duffy’s of 146 Parnell Street has been in operation since 1902. However the early starts, long hours and few holidays mean the newsagent business is a tough game, says Patricia – better known as Patty – and she has decided to retire.
Despite the city location, footfall has declined steadily since the recession hit, she says. “It’s not the same street. I used to open at seven in the morning but I had to stop because you wouldn’t see anyone in the shop until nine o’ clock because there’s nobody going to work.”
Earlier this year, the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association warned that the recession had taken its toll on the sector and that 400 shops like Lucky Duffy’s had closed down in the past two years.
“I’m sad but I’m not sorry about what I’m doing because I’m going into sheltered accommodation,” says Patty, whose health has began to suffer due to difficulties walking or standing for long periods.
“ I spent eight weeks in hospital recently and thought I’d crack up but I actually liked being looked after. I came back to the shop and found I wasn’t able to do it any more; I was fighting against the grain. My health is more important.”
Brendan Doyle he has known Patty since 1959. “Don’t be standing out here, you’ll get your death with that cold. Ah, she’s a glutton for punishment. She never took a word of advice I gave her,” he says with a laugh. “I don’t take advice from anybody; I do what I want,” she replies.
Everyone who comes over to say their farewells asks about her health. “I’m grand if I could walk – which I will, please God, again,” she says.
Patty will miss “the chat and company” from her regular customers the most. “Every Sunday, a few of us have tea and a chat up the back of the shop. It’s a great little community we have around here. I’m really going to miss everyone.”