WHEN Thomas Kelly opened a barber shop in Castlebar 84 years ago, little did he realise he was starting something that is now in its fourth generation, writes TOM GILLESPIE.
That was in November 1932 and today Kelly’s Barber Shop is celebrating the achievement with the late Thomas Kelly’s grandson, John, and granddaughter, Moira, maintaining a proud family tradition on Castle Street.
Now, John’s son, Conrad, and Moira’s daughter, Amy, and son, Cian, are continuing the proud Kelly dynasty.
The Kelly business consists of two barber/hairdressing shops over two floors, all of which are fully air-conditioned, and customers can relax watching television while being pampered by John, Moira and their talented staff.
John took over the barber shop when his father, Sean, retired from the business in 1999 after 51 years in the trade.
John Kelly completed his education at St. Gerald’s College, Castlebar, in 1985 and went to Sligo studying the trade the following year.
He told The Connaught Telegraph: “Before that I was here helping out where my dad would be training me. Moira was here before me and she was doing the ladies side. I wanted to try the ladies end of it as well.
“I went to Sligo training under Larry Hingerton from Westport, from where I was posted into a few places for training. When I came back I got placements in a few places in Dublin. I was doing ladies hair for a while.
Conrad (16) has been working in the barber shop for two years and is in TY in St. Gerald’s College.
He said: “I did a course in Kiltimagh and I would be in here most days. I did work experience in Sam’s Barbers in Dublin.
“I started off here with just one or two lads as customers. Now I have fifth and sixth years coming in to me. I only started on one lad and now it has built up.
“There are different hair styles evolving. Every few years you will see a different hair style. It is more modern hair cuts with the younger lads. But you still have to have the scissors work, which is the key element to it all.
“When I finish school I will probably go on courses to England where there are a good few barbering colleges and they do one- or two-year courses.