Tuesday 18 June 2019

A blast from the past as Tommy Roche's makes an unlikely return!

Richie Finnan (Food Advisor) and store owners Frank Jordan and Kieran Walsh
Richie Finnan (Food Advisor) and store owners Frank Jordan and Kieran Walsh

Anna Hayes

There was a veritable blast from the past for Wexford locals of a certain age last week as the long since closed pub Tommy Roche's made an unlikely reappearance in the centre of the town.

In the middle of rebranding their Mace store to a Daybreak one, shop owners Kieran Walsh and Frank Jordan had enlisted the services of builder Aidan Harrington to take down some old signs from their North Main Street shop front. The building, which is just a stone's throw from the Bullring, has had many reincarnations over the years, many of which are illustrated in the unexpected palimpsest that is its shop front.

As Mr Harrington began to take down the Mace sign, he discovered another sign beneath it for Central Shop and Deli. Removing that revealed an old sign for the Centra shop that was there prior to that. The Cafe Vera was the next sign on display and this had to be cut down as it was a boxed structure.

In the timeline of the building, well known pub The Tack Room shoud have been the next sign but Mr Walsh believes that this one may have been painted over by the cafe owners. However, on removing Cafe Vera, they hit upon the striking old sign for the pub and refused to go any further.

Mr Walsh said: 'We were starting to wonder if we'd ever find the wall but when we uncovered this sign we were afraid to touch it because it's almost like a work of art.'

The unusual sight drew plenty of interest from passers-by, some stopping to take photographs, others venturing into the shop to ask about the discovery, and many who offered their own anecdotes about the popular pub.

Mr Walsh said: 'We had a lot of people coming in and talking about the old days. Both Frank and I are from Tipperary so we don't remember it but, from what we've been told, it was a great local pub and a right place for a game of poker!'

However, Tommy Roche's revival was brief. Mr Walsh and Mr Jordan enlisted the help of Johnny Barron, proprietor of The Sky and the Ground, who agreed to carefully remove the sign on Sunday morning, with a view to installing the charming piece of history in his own premises.

Wexford People

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