“My life as a shopkeeper began in 1977 when I took out a bank loan and bought the premises in which I continued to trade until August 2021. A stint of 44 years.

My mother had a shop, so it was familiar to me. From when I was eight or nine, I was helping in the shop. I remember being nine or ten, there was no cash register and stuff had to be added up with a pencil. I’d have it totted up as we were going along. I remember in 1970, when decimilistation came in, it was a major problem for people. I didn’t mind it. I was finishing secondary school in St. Munchin’s, Limerick at the time.

Reading and Writing

After school, I studied English and Philosophy at UCC and loved it. I love reading. I went on to do the H. Dip. I had been teaching for a short while, but I wanted to do something on my own and this shop seemed to be fairly reasonable enough. I was only 24 at the time. I took it up anyway. It was very small at the time but I expanded it. The shop underwent three major revamps in that time. Needless to say, lesser renovations were on going, every year!

Tom Moloney pictured in Broadford Arboretum. \ Odhran Ducie

In 1980, I married Bernadette, from Miltown-Malbay, Co Clare. We have two grown-up sons, Tom and Edmond and one grandson; Leo who is seven months old.

Managing the shop ensured that free time was at a premium. Nevertheless, I have always had the writing bug and have had a novel and two poetry collections published. Last year, with my new found leisure time, I decided to publish a new collection of short stories. I dedicated my new collection of stories to Leo. The Newcastle West based committee of Éigse gave me the green light to launch the collection there, which caused some measured panic to re-enter my life! All went well, thankfully.

Reliable weather forecasts

The Farmer’s Journal was on my news and magazines shelves over the years. I got into the habit of flicking through the Journal when a farmer said to me in passing that it offered the most reliable weather forecast, broken down in to regions. I discovered my farmer friend wasn’t fibbing!

Trading has changed over the years. The customer coming in – in recent years – had a different mindset to the customer I had in the 70s and the 80s.

Tom Moloney with his wife Bernadette and their grandson Leo pictured in Broadford Arboretum. \ Odhran Ducie

Kantoher Creameries would have been only four miles away and they had a sub-branch here in Broadford. ?Kerry bought it in the early 80s and there was terrible controversy. There was a falling out and for years afterwards some people wouldn’t buy Golden Vale and some people would not buy Dawn milk. It all depended on who the farmer was doing business with. That’s the way it was.

It did and it didn’t affect me in the shop. I had two fridges in the shop, a Dawn and a Golden Vale fridge, so they could take their choice. I didn’t mind. People were very serious about that. And if you stocked the milk that wasn’t either brand that could be an issue aswell.

One or the other

I was aware there are agents who carry milk from elsewhere but around here, our customers are very, very loyal to whoever they were dealing with. It wasn’t just the farming community; it was the people working there too. A lot of people locally were working in those dairies and that had an effect too. My point is that we are very local; everything was closely knit.

Tom Moloney reading from his own book Paulie, the Ball and Lomu in Broadford Arboretum. \ Odhran Ducie

I was also passionate about the greyhounds. My father and myself, although he was more of a fanatic than me. I have no greyhounds now, but I used to. We had good greyhounds and went to Tralee, Cork, Clonmel and Shelbourne Park and Harold’s Cross in Dublin racing.

I was very much at home in Broadford because you could travel all over the country with greyhounds and Broadford was top of the list of a place that was known for greyhounds. Every second house in Broadford had a greyhound, there was a real greyhound culture here.

People would call in to me for the paper on the way home from the creamery and there’d be a big chat about the dogs. That’s the way life was.

I used to go to the races religiously one time and what happened was my two sons grew up and I had no help with the dogs. It was becoming a bit of work because I had the shop to look after and I couldn’t be burning the candle at both ends. The new stadium was built then but it didn’t suit me, because if you had a dog in the last race, you would not be home to Broadford until half past twelve at night and I had to be up again for the papers in the morning. Before, I often used to go to the dogs and you’d be home at twenty-five past, half past nine in the evening.”

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