Monday, September 1, 2008



The small Parish and community of Manister recently mourned the sad passing of Tony Laffan who ran Manister Post Office for many years and just retired only very recently from his role as Post Master. His shop and store was a community institution and retail outlet, which served the community and people of Manister for just on seventy years. The news of the death of the late Tony Laffan created a silence and sadness to everybody who came in contact with Tony at his premises in the village of Manister. He was son of the late Thomas and Ellen (Nell) Laffan who came from the West Cork area of Rossmore near Clonakilty. The couple purchased the shop at Manister in 1939 and established one of the most successful shops in the village. Tony was only eight years of age when his parents came to Manister. Tony received his first Holy Communion in the Church at Rossmore where he first went to National School and after arriving in Manister went to Ballymartin Manister National School. Tony’s father died in 1963. His mother and himself ran the shop until his mother Nell died in 1974.

The Laffan shop traded in all types of business both grocery and hardware. It was said by the residents of Manister that Tony had stock items from a needle to an anchor. He had all the grocery items that were required by the many homes in the Manister area and the local districts, whether a mouse trap to a pair of wellingtons, from a bicycle to a crowbar. From an overalls to a gallon of paraffin oil, from a bag of paratta to a gallon of petrol. The store at Manister had them all. The shop traded as an essential provider for goods and products during the war years of 1939-1945 when items were scarce. The shop being so close to the local Creamery at Manister each morning the seventy milk suppliers would make their way to the village shop on a continuous relay to collect their news paper, the message or the packet of “fags”.

Tony loved the game of hurling or football and each morning and each day the game of hurling was replayed at his shop from early morning until late at night. The locals shopped and chatted about the previous days sporting events. Tony had a great attachment to his native West Cork and one of his Icons would be Christy Ring and he would recall his visit to the home of Christy Ring when he was taken by his cousins the McSweeney family some years ago. Tony played with Croom minor hurling team in the County final of 1949 against Kildimo and played in the back line.

Tony Laffan had a great attachment to his cousins the McSweeney family and would love to make his annual Christmas visits to his cousins in West Cork. In the summer time Tony would love to visit the West Cork region. His favourite places he liked to visit were Gougane Barra, Bantry, Inchageela and his native Rossmore. His cousins were Fr. Jerry McSweeney residing in West Virginia, the late Sean McSweeney, R.I.P the late Donal McSweeney R.I.P. Siobhan O'Loughlin, nee McSweeney, Naas. Breda Dunne, nee McSweeney, Port Arlington.

The remains of Tony Laffan was removed from Daffy’s Funeral Home, Croom to Manister Church (his adopted Parish) and following Requiem Mass chief Celebrant was Tony’s cousin Fr. Jerry McSweeney assisted by Fr. Garry Bluett P.P. Manister. Fr. Jerry McSweeney spoke of Tony Laffan’s life, his role as shop keeper, Businessman, his commitment to his work and to his community at Manister. Following Requiem Mass the burial took place to the family plot at Reilig Mhuire Croom where his parents were interred. The entire parish mourns the passing of a friend, colleague, his passing sees the end of the village shop. The seven decades of the Laffan shop trading and serving the area now leaves a void and changes the landscape of a closely-knit community where they met and chatted and did their daily shopping. The humour was great, chat and conversation never ended, it was carried on in an unending conversation. The games and sporting occasions were somewhat repetitive but this was part and parcel of a meeting at the village shop at Manister. Long will the memories live on of Tony with his immaculate shop coat always busy serving his customer. The double door entrance was a symbol of seventy years of trading. Sympathy is extended to his relatives and friends. People were invited afterwards to the Community Centre at Manister for refreshments.

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