John McCullagh March 8, 2007

It is with great regret that we announce the death today of Michael Gallagher (pictured) of North Street, former master tailor and well-known gentleman of Newry.

Michael retired finally from the clothing making/adjusting business more than a decade ago, when his business had been located in Kildare Street, above Gerry Devine’s barbers.

Michael was one of six sons of Tom and Anne Gallagher of 33 North Street. Tom before him was a tailor and his wife Anne ran a dress-making business also on the premises. Brother Lenny once had the newsagents shop across from the Cathedral, then known as the Leprechaun. Frank was – and remains a prominent community worker of Derrybeg Park. Others among you will have known Michael’s other brothers, Patsy and Eugene.

In retirement Michael was often to be seen in Michael Toner’s Bridge Bar where he made many friends.

As a young man Michael practised his skills in the window of their shop at 33 North Street. Friends of mine can recall pressing their faces to the shop’s plate glass window, studiously ignored by Michael who was constantly intent upon his sewing. Theirs was the last old business to survive on North Street right up until its demolition in the 1960s.

 

At its height their shop employed up to twelve people, among them Hughie McGeough, Tom Doyle, Michael John Manley, Michael McArdle, Julia O’Mahoney, Mary Kenny, Delia Fahy, Lala Fitzpatrick, Lily O’Hanlon, May Mallon, Annie Connolly, Mary White and Hughie Quinn.

A side-door from North Street opened onto a big yard with a cow-byre, hayloft, pig and hen-houses. This was a small farm in the centre of the town! The Gallaghers made their own butter once a week. At the back of the yard, a steep flight of steps led to a large garden which flanked Lindsay Hill and the rear of St Clare’s Avenue.


May God have mercy on the soul of Michael Gallagher, one of nature’s gentlemen.

 

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