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An ode to Ireland’s dying coastal communities

The following piece was written by Ciara Boyle due to the news that the Fish Shop in Killybegs is to close down - but this is more than a story about one shop in one town - the heartfelt tone of this echos the feelings in every coastal town and every rural area in Ireland as we slowly see traditional way life as we know it coming to an end


The Shop on the Corner

Atop the street there sits a shop

It’s been for too few years

Just at the turn a place to stop

For fish fresh from the pier.

The shop it has a beating heart

It’s run the whole week long

By a gentle man who each morn starts

With a cheery smile and playful song.

For those who do not know him

Yous are surely missing out

For the man brings life back to the shop

He’s healed it, there’s no doubt.

For before the man there was another

Who sold not fish but meat

That had the corner shop for years

And livened up the street.

A street that lost the spirit

That it had some time ago

When Killybegs was a booming town

Before work had gotten slow.

Where boats they landed all year round

With fish and fish go leor

So ordinary men and women could work

In a town they can no more.

I’ve heard the stories of such a place

That thrived and brewed such fun

Where young could stay and work the space

And join the old when jobs were done.

Of course it’s not for everyone,

Sure plenty went away

But loneliness was not as strong

When young could choose to stay.

But now our men can catch no fish

And so the town downturns

But the folk in Dublin don’t seem to care

If rural Ireland burns.

And now the shop is set to close

For fish is scarce and dear

And all year long you’d hardly see

A soul upon the pier.

And young ones now must go away

And live at home no more

And we’ll watch the Fish Shop we longed to have

Too soon will close it’s door.

Thank you to those two men who waved

And smiled while we did pass

Let’s hope some day the town we’ll save

And the Fish Stop will be back

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