There was no firework displays, no drums beating, no flags flying as the curtain came down on one of Roscrea's oldest, dearest and best loved businesses. In fact Hartnett's was a kind of institution in Roscrea. A place where young and old gathered to discuss the news of the day. Those who frequented Hartnett's on a regular basis will know this shop was far different from any other Clothes Shop in the country. Here amongst all the modern day football jerseys, boots and jackets, a piece of old Ireland flourished.
Hartnett's was always a lively place, a place of great craic, where a good joke or a good story was always been told. But it was also a place where many a good debate on various issues of the day both serious issues and jovial issues have taken place. It was a place where Many an All-Ireland has been relived, won and lost and won again, a place where old characters from the town are fondly recalled, a place where people basically like to go while out and about on their daily routine. For many people especially in the villages and parishes surrounding the town, a shopping visit to Roscrea was not complete without the compulsory stop-off at Hartnett's Drapery.
Pat and Brendan's father started the business way back in 1932. Their father Patrick was a Kerry Man born in Killorglin at the turn of the century in 1902. He served his apprenticeship at Powers Drapery & Footwear in the town, before taking up positions in Newcastle West and Listowel. In 1928 he was appointed manager of Healy's Footwear Store in Roscrea. It was while working here he met the love of his life Kathleen Molloy who worked at Owens Bar & Grocery Shop on Main Street. When he married Kathleen, they both lived happily in what is a doctor's surgery on the Monastery Road, Roscrea, today. Later they were to move to Rosemount then Rosemary Street where Hartnett's family business commenced in 1932.
Patrick senior had two sons Pat and Brendan as well as a daughter, Mary. After finishing at the Cistercian College, Roscrea, Pat and Brendan joined the business, and when their father died in 1986 they then formed Hartnetts Drapery and Footwear Ltd.
The closure of Hartnett's Drapery will bring a tear to many an eye in Roscrea over the festive period. Their long and illustrious past means they have embraced the hearts of many generations of Roscrea people and beyond, over the years. There are no words to sum up what Pat and Brendan have contributed to the community. Irish businesses spend millions of euros every year looking to places like America and Japan for ideas on developing customer satisfaction. A quick visit to Hartnett's drapery on any given day over the last number of years could have saved them thousands. For friendly, efficient, pleasant service, for meticulous eye for detail, for unrivalled customer assistance etc, Hartnetts Drapery will never be beaten. In short they were the Manchester United of Drapery Shops.
Over a year ago another stalwart of the business community in Roscrea retired. Tom Lupton served fifty-seven years dealing with the public. At the time of his retirement I asked two of his closet neighbours Pat and Brendan Hartnett to sum up Tom in just a few words. At the time, both men promptly replied in almost perfect harmony that Tom was a gentleman, a great neighbour, and a fantastic businessman who will be sorely missed on the street. Little did they know, that in summing up Tom they had also given a pretty apt description of themselves. No Roscrea history book of the future will be complete without a mention of Pat or Brendan Hartnett. These two pillars of society have asked us to thank their customers and friends for all the business, great kindness and friendship accorded to them and over the years. We salute them both and wish them well in their retirement. Roscrea is a fine town, but for many it will be a little bit glimmer this Christmas without the presence of the Hartnett brothers.