Harney’s Garage , Chapel Street, Louisburgh was established in 1923, on the site of the old Chapel by my late Father-in-Law, Tom Harney.
He sold and repaired cars, cycles and tractors, and stocked parts for them all. He also sold petrol, diesel and parafin oil. Before the ESB came to Louisburgh he had a wind charger and supplied electrictity to the people of Chapel Street. He charged batteries for radios – which were one of the few links to the ‘outside world’. He also ran a taxi service.
“The Garage” was a local meeting place for all when they came into town. There were always people gathered having a chat at the door, catching up on all the local news. It was a very busy place on a Fair Day, with farmers discussing sheep prices and Islanders stocking up on barrels of petrol or diesel and bicycle parts. We were often asked to repair various items – putting a patch on a wellington, repairing a leaky kettle or saucepan! It was the first port of call for people when something needed to be mended.
Many local lads came to work in “The Garage” as apprentices – even when they left to move on to other work, coming back to “The Garage” to visit was like coming home.
Tom Harney passed the business on to Oliver and I in 1968. We operated the business together until Oliver passed away in 1996. I kept “The Garage” open until 1999 – I then sold it to Mayo County Council.
I was disappointed Mayo County Council did not see fit to preserve any part of the building, but I was lucky that I had the Holy Water Font removed by John Burke and then sandblasted by John Coffey.
With thanks to Fr Mattie Long, Fr Leo Morahan, Fr Ger Harney and John Kitterick, the font has now found a new home at St Patricks Church Louisburgh.
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Hi Joyce, Thank you for your comments and kind words. I have managed to upload a photo of the plaque on the page entitled “Then and Now; Harneys Garage Louisburgh”. Keep sharing your memories! Kind regards Mary (Volunteer Editor)
While wandering the town of Louisburgh in mid-July, I happened to spot the plaque identifying the building as the site of the old church and later Harney’s Garage, including a mention that the Harney family had preserved the font until the new church was built, and that it is now installed outside St. Patrick’s Church. Knowing this made my visit to the church so meaningful. Would it be possible for somebody to take a photo of the plaque and post it here? Thanks!
Harney’s garage and the funeral of Oliver Harney was featured on the BBC Radio 4 news programme “From Our Own Correspondent” in January 1997 (and the script was later included as a chapter in the book called “From Our Own Correspondent” published by the BBC in 2005).
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