Monday, October 25, 2010

End of an Era

Click any image for a larger version

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 Avenue, 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, when he was still fighting his threatened eviction. Clearly he lost.

Update 16/8/2016

I was down in Churchgate Avenue 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.

Update 26/4/2019

I had an email from Michael's granddaughter Avryl today to say that Michael passed away yesterday.

My sympathy to Avryl and to Michael's family.

He was a lovely man.

Rest in Peace


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.

Av said...

Hi I was looking at your post as Michael is my Grandad and was looking for pictures of his shop. My lovely Grandad passed yesterday 26/04/2019 so it was a different person that passed in 2016. Thanks for the lovely post x

Póló said...

Thanks Avryl. And thank you for finding the alternative location for Natalia's documentary after its disappearance from the RTÉ radio site. I have redirected the link.

It was very moving to attend your Grandad's removal service this evening and to meet you. I was glad to hear he was himself, and joking, right up to the end.