Sunday Trading in Killeen
The small butcher shop beside Killeen Church otherwise known to locals as the “Meatshop” was built and opened by my granddad, John D Gibbons and my grandmother Molly Gibbons in the late 1940’s and their family helped as they grew up.
The main type of meat sold was mutton and on special occasions such as Christmas and Easter a beef was killed. The animals were slaughtered in the adjacent slaughterhouse.
The Meatshop was only open on Sunday mornings to facilitate the people going to Sunday masses. The sheep were slaughtered on the Friday or Saturday beforehand so that the meat would be fresh. There were three sheep killed on average each week. The sheep for killing were bought from neighbour’s and people around the parish, and some were bought in Louisburgh on fair days. There were a large number of sheep bough in the autumn and held on the land for killing in the winter. The pelts were kept and sold to McAleer’s Wool and Hide Merchants of Westport.
The meat could be ordered the week before or on the Sunday morning, some people had “standing orders”. The meat was first wrapped in greaseproof paper, then brown paper and was tied with string ready for the carriers of the people’s bikes. Cigarettes and pipe tobacco were also sold in the shop, and in later years a paper called the “Sunday Press” was also sold.
The Meatshop was also a meeting place for people after Mass (mainly men).
They would buy tobacco for their pipes, light them up and then they would discuss the week’s news such as sheep and cattle bought or sold the making of the hay or the saving of the turf.
The shop would be filled with tobacco smoke and the cheery voices of my grandfather and customers. My father remembers when Killeen church was being repaired in the early 1970’s and Mass was in Mickey Keane’s dance hall. The meat had to be brought to Keane’s to be sold to the people.
My grandmother died in 1972 (RIP) and my granddad continued to run the shop, with the help of my father until he died in 1985 (RIP). My father continued to run the business until it closed in 1987.