The village of Castleconnell is a very famous place

‘Twas known as “little Paris” that’s surely no disgrace

They came from over Europe to fish and taste the Spa

And the general proceedings left many a one in awe.

The Hoggs made the Enright fishing rod world famous was the case

John Enright set world records-‘twill not be seen again

Hartigans Hall and the Shannon Hotel at wonder they did stare

And many’s the one that fainted at the antics of Lord Clare.

Enough of that now we’ll proceed to speak of recent times

I’m speaking of when I was young around eight years or nine.

The place was more or less the same as my small but lively feet

Would carry me quite quickly to Ryans at the top of the street.

‘Twas the greatest shop in Ireland-just three ladies on the staff

Kitty, Madge and Annie, always good for a bit of a laugh

Small boys like me were greeted just the same as great big men

And all the ladies of the place, they loved to ramble in.

‘Twas really very small you know, if you doubt me just ask Madge

In the front there was the main shop, at the side there was the fridge

The fridge was our attraction, inside there was ice cream

For two old pence, we’d get the best, ‘twas every young lads dream.

The greatest thing about the shop were the things they had in stock

Syrup of Figs and candles, jam and sticks of rock

The best of ham and rashers, butter, bread, milk, cakes and tea

Big jars of sweets and bull’s eyes, fresh eggs, tomatoes, cream.

From a needle to an anchor Ryans had it in the shop

They’d pluck it from a shelf so high and never let it drop

Rows and rows of jars and tins piled high upon the shelf

When the order was completed-“Here’s one for yourself.”

But the best of all was Christmas I can see it all so plain

We’d rush to see the fairy lights with the nose stuck to the pane

Inside were decorations festooned like Tara’s Hall

And the heater in the corner gave a welcome warmth to all

We’d gaze upon the goodies- Roy Rodgers guns and hat

The latest thing in cap guns-“Santa is bringing me that”

Ludo, Snakes and Ladders to pass away the hols

And for little girls a great big choice of Teasets and sleeping dolls.

They tell me that we have progressed since I was eight or nine,

Today we have the great big shop under many a different sign

‘Tis super this and super that, each is an enemy camp

They think they are doing a favour with double green shield stamps.

They have no time to listen to the different tales of woe,

Or to share the happy news there is of Paddy, Mick or Joe.

They have no time to talk to kids who bustle at their feet,

Like they did at Ryans that was known to all as Ryans at the top of the street.

But Ryans they have retired you see, and I think quite wisely too,

For years and years they served us all without any great to-do

We miss Ryan’s shop and I often think-“wasn’t it a lovely treat,

To be sent to get the messages at Ryans at the top of the street”.

Sean Hartigan