Monday, October 25, 2010

End of an Era

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I went down to my local cobbler this morning with shoes for soling, but he wasn't there.

The place was locked up and the notice below was displayed on the door. Sad story.

Michael Yeates was a native of Clontarf and had been in the cobbling business for 70 years, 50 of them in these premises, in Churchgate Lane, at the bottom of Vernon Avenue. Michael was 87 last year.

I had many conversations with Michael over the last 30 years. My own great-grandfather was a cobbler in James's Street, but way before Michael's time.

Michael used to cycle from his present home in Drumcondra to his lock-up premises in Clontarf every working day. He was a cheerful, if resigned, man whose work was as much an opportunity for a chat as it was a source of income. He took great pride in his work.

He has now been driven out. A victim of "progress", a mews, no less.

You can hear him in Natalia McCarthy's radio documentary, from the middle of last year, when he was still fighting his threatened eviction. Clearly he lost.



Update 16/8/2016



I was down in Church Lane the other day and was surprised to see no sign of development and Michael's shoemaker's looking just like the day he left it.



Except his farewell note is unsurprisingly no longer there.

How cruel.

I wondered what had become of him.

It appears that Michael died on 22 January 2016 after a short illness.

In the death notice, the family specified the ISPCC for donations if people wanted.

I doubt there is a society for the prevention of cruelty to cobblers.

Imagine the turf war over the acronym.

Rest in Peace

2 comments:

Póló said...

Did they really have to drive an old man out in such a hurry?

A full eighteen months have passed and there is absolutely no sign of anything being done with the site.


Póló said...

Nearly two years now and nothing stirring.

Bloody disgrace.