Tales of derring-do, close shaves and great escapes are all wrapped into the riveting history of a former family butcher shop in Fermoy which has come to market as a sound commercial investment, but is equally significant as a monument to our past.
Whoever buys 45 Patrick St, Fermoy, will not only acquire a four-storey over-basement centre-terrace premises in the town’s main trading area, they will also take possession of a building that harboured Irish rebels during the War of Independence; that saw births, deaths, and marriages over the course of 140 years and, more recently, was overall winner of the Fermoy Tidy Towns’ Restoration category.
Billed as a premises with “enormous potential for residential or retail”, it’s been so much more than a business to the Young family who have owned it since the late 19th century.
Ms Mulcahy O’Sullivan also tells the tale of her newlywed grandfather Matt Young, who was caught out after curfew as he crawled on his belly through fields on his way home from a family farm outside Fermoy town, to Patrick St, and would probably have been shot had one of the officers not recognised him.
In fact Matt, chair of Fermoy Urban District Council and a county councillor for more than 50 years, was “purveyor” of meat to HRH the Duke of Connaught, as per a Bill of Trade dated 1923. It was a role he inherited from his father John Young. As Ms Mulcahy O’Sullivan points out, Fermoy was a British garrison town and its economy relied upon the patronage of the approximately 3,000-strong militia.
Matt Young’s brothers included a playwright, William -Raymond- Young who wrote A Cure for Nerves (1963) and a doctor, Jack Young.
Ms Mulcahy O’Sullivan says the sale of No 45 is “like saying goodbye to a much-loved family member”.
“It has survived through prosperous times in Ireland, politically, very troubled times, the bright new era of hope of the Saorstát, through the swinging 60s and right up to the new roaring 2020s,” she says.
Most recently the property was owned by Ms Mulcahy O’Sullivan’s aunt, Maura Young, until the time of her death late last year. It was she who was awarded overall winner in the Restoration category by Fermoy Tidy Towns in 2018.
“It was a home and business, where family members were born, lived, and died. It brought tremendous happiness to its occupants over the course of almost 140 years,” says Ms Mulcahy O’Sullivan.
“It is now time to pass it to a new generation who can enjoy it and avail of its great development potential.”
The shop frontage gets special mention in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.
Particularly lovely features include the Art Deco stall riser bearing the lettering ‘Best Home Fed Meat’; the mosaic tiled threshold and the red marble pilasters.
The name “Downey” — the owners of the premises prior to the Youngs — is in Art Deco styled lettering at the front entrance to the property.
From West Cork, the Downeys didn’t have any children or relatives in Fermoy, and subsequently returned West.
No 45 Patrick St, which is BER-exempt, comes with rear access and yard area. Its top two floors are currently residential — a room was set aside in the past for the butcher’s apprentice — while the ground floor operated as retail.
Overhead drone footage shows a good, central location in Fermoy Town.
DETAILS: www.barryauctioneers.ie, or 021-4279677.