By Carmel Conroy
Mrs Kelly’s sweet shop stood on the corner of Browne Street and Charlotte Street, Carlow, where I lived for my childhood years. For as long as I can remember it was painted red and had a bow window displaying sweets and treats on offer.
In the summer months the window would be draped on the inside with yellow cellophane to stop the sun from fading the contents, and always reminded me of a Lucozade bottle.
It was more than just a corner shop – it was a place to hear all the local news and stories and where troubles and woes would be discussed and more often than not solved.
A bell over the door would tinkle on opening, to announce the arrival of a customer. Mrs Kelly, or ‘Ma Kelly’ as she was affectionately known, would shuffle from her kitchen in her slippers to take her place behind the counter.
She was a quiet lady with a head of grey curls and always wore a half – apron. As a child I thought she must be 100 years old but know now that wasn’t the case.
The shelf on the back wall behind the counter groaned with the weight of the glass jars displaying sweets of all colours and flavours – bulls eyes, clove drops, bonbons, apple drops – to name but a few.
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