Christmas in Gorey

Myles Doyle’s Select Grocer and Fine Wines

Myles Doyle’s Select Grocer and Fine Wines

As we all advance up the steps of our chronological ladders there is a greater memory bank to look back on and I just love to occasionally travel back on boithrin na smaointe.

In that memorable song “The Rare Ould Times” composed by Pete St John for the Dublin City Ramblers, we hear “The Pillar and The Met have gone, The Royal long since pulled down, As the grey unyielding concrete makes a city of my town, et cetera.

Likewise, Gorey is expanding rapidly and keeps on changing. It has lost its small-town intimate cosiness, but it retains a friendly charm of its own and still feels a lot like the same.

*I remember my stage days with Arklow Parish Drama Group in Gorey and the Tara Ballroom in Courtown for ten years of my life. Before we went on stage in Gorey, we had a few bevvies in John French’s pub now run by his son Jim . It was then and still is an institution in Gorey retaining its little unique seed and gardening section in addition to its primary function of selling gargle.

It was always special when you read the sign over the door ‘French’s The Premier House, All kinds of high-class drinks and groceries, Fancy bakery and best Milled stuffs and provisions”. It has a lovely, antiquated style bar with a unique character that only The Premier House premises has, with informal music sessions and philosophy of life chats being regular menu items in the bar.

*The haircut was another ritual going into Noel Halfords with Noel emerging from the kitchen after a brief respite for a cuppa to resume haircutting. He was the epitome of the true-blue barber with ready chat line and totally knowledgeable about all local affairs. This family business, though changed to keep up with hairdressing trends, still has the Halford  name over the door and is now within a hairs breadth of celebrating 100 years there since his father Leo started the business in 1923.In the intervening years after Noel died his son Sean and his wife Kay ran the business with Sean having  left the business from 1972 till  1986 when he worked in Avoca Mines. Now a fourth generation is in charge with his daughter Maeve now running this hair studios since 2019.

* Jack and Bridie Whitmore started in business in 1957 as Whitmore’s Jewellers on 37 Main Street, Gorey. This well-maintained premises stands out in its preeminent location in Gorey town with its well-stocked family run jeweller’s shop. The family business started by their parents is now run in the same inimitable friendly manner by their son Pascal and daughter Lynda Whitmore and loyal staff. It is a special place all the year round, but it has extra significance at Christmas present buying season. They stock a huge range of quality jewellery and gifts. They also have a very nice presence in Gorey Shopping Centre with their friendly, bright, quality stocked jeweller’s shop.

*As we progress down Main Street, Gorey we see another institution in the form of Funges long established drapery business since 1937. This is a huge modern family run department store which stocks a huge range of brands. They set a standard in the area for the quality of their stock and the inspirational window arrangements with regular changes and some very special seasonal displays. Their Christmas 2022 offering is visually stunning. They are very much part of traditional past and of future Gorey with their well-located store in its prime position on Gorey’s main Street. A browse around their shop is well worth a visit and you could quickly solve your Christmas present problems.

 *Michael Redmond Snr. ran a busy Electrical shop on Main Street since 1978 in the premises now occupied by Fifth Avenue. He ran a very successful store until his untimely death when the business was taken over by his son Michael and daughter Nicola who moved and expanded the business to the WFC business park off the Paul Funge Boulevard, now called Redmond Electric. Here they run a super electrical store and nursery products. They retain the same warm welcoming customer centred atmosphere that pervaded the Main Street smaller premises run by their father. They are another family run premises that makes people love to shop in friendly lovely Gorey with a dazzling array of Christmas presents for all the family.

 *Mylie Doyle’s set up in 1966 at 67 Main Street is another family run premises that continues to help make Gorey the great friendly welcoming business town that it is noted for. In a recent full article on Mylie’s Doyle’s shop, we referred to the present incumbents of the premises, his son John and his wife Breda who run a lovely well stocked artisan food store. A visit here is a must for your Christmas hamper shopping. 

Christmas in Gorey

Myles Doyle’s Select Grocer and Fine Wines


*A Byrne couple set up Byrnes confectionery and florist shop in 60 Upper Main Street, Gorey in the late 1800’s. They passed it on to their daughter Molly who ran the shop while also rearing her nephew, John Gibbons. He took over running the shop with his wife Peig. John died in 2006. They changed the name Byrne to Gibbons in 1970 for the simple reason that delivery people could never find the Gibbons shop. Peig and her son Paul now run the business. It is another great Gorey institution continuing the family trade with flowers for all occasions like Christmas and other seasonal events.

*Another long-time institution in town is Laurence Murphy’s which has been trading since the 1940s on Main Street. Older Gorey people can remember the grocery store and petrol pumps with the undertaking business at the rear up Cullen’s Lane. When Aidan and his late wife Eileen took over running the complex, they transformed the place into a very nice restaurant. It is a favourite spot with town and country folk alike for a friendly welcome and the enjoyment of wholesome food and relaxing chat, while watching the world go by.

 Murphy’s undertaking business is now located on The Avenue, Gorey.

*Gorey people are blessed that we still have these great family run institutions in town thus ensuring the continuation and linkage with the great Gorey tradition of homely shopping. They are synonymous with the town for many generations.

Gorey is also lucky that a new breed of entrepreneurs is starting up new businesses and are working hard at making them successful in this digital and social media time.

*I encountered one of these new entrepreneurs this week when I was walking along Esmonde Street. I stopped for a window browse at Lily Blooms and was immediately drawn in by the sheer excellence of the fare on display.

This Home and Interiors shop is full of high-quality gifts and very attractive household items. I was fascinated by the array of Christmas tree lighting, festive decorations, candles, and household adornments on display in this very attractive store, which also provides an interior design service. They had a lovely collection of gold, copper, and silver wire lighting for your little house plants for the festive season.

 They stock a big range of quality embellishments for all household departments while also catering for the great outdoors.

If it’s an alternative quality gift you need you must visit Lilly Blooms very comprehensive, well presented, ever-changing website for their expanding online business.
A trip to their well-stocked friendly shop is a must because mere words cannot do justice to the cornucopia of treasures that unfold before your eyes when you enter Lily Blooms in downtown Gorey. They provide a very personal service. A visit is an enriching experience.



Mick O Callaghan 12/11/2022 


Christmas in Gorey