My Father, the late Cailin ‘Con’ Conefrey was originally a Leitrim man. He came to Dublin and in 1955, he opened Conefrey’s Pharmacy on 136 Pearse Street.
I really admire those with an entrepreneurial spirit – those who see opportunity where others don’t and have the vision and the foresight for the business in question. My father was one of these people. He had a dream and he made it a reality.
About ten years ago we were getting work done on the shop front. When the signs were stripped back to the brickwork, it was amazing to see the layers of signs and indeed history attached to the building. If those signs could talk, they would have decades of stories to tell.
On the 26th of November last here in Conefrey’s Pharmacy, we celebrated the momentous occasion of being in business for 60 years. On the day, to mark the occasion we decided to run a ‘Customer Appreciation Day.’ A great idea in practice and when the idea initially came to us, we were excited. In reality, the practicalities of running the event while conducting normal business in a busy premises all day was more attractive and ran smoother on the paper they were planned on.
In the end we needn’t have worried. It was a success and we managed to keep the shop ticking over as well!
Our day was full of highlights and unexpected surprises. Many of the members of the extended Conefrey’s family rang the shop with good wishes. A couple of weeks after the event, The Leitrim Observer published a picture of my Mum, my Father, my brother and myself. The Observer was the weekly read of choice for my Father when he was growing up.
My cousin, Sean Kelly, made a surprise visit from Mullingar. Sean went to college in Dublin and was in digs with my Father in Sandymount back in the day. Sean stood with my Father on the day in the 1955 when he opened the shop. It was a poignant moment having him there and it made my day.
As we move through our 60th year in business, the changes the Pharmacy profession have seen over the decades is enormous. With so much happening, the easier path would be to keep the head down and keep the status quo – we are doing something right, after all. The profession is evolving and so is Conefrey’s. This is a challenge we have risen to and will continue to do so. When I started my career here in the shop, challenges were something I tended to shy away from. Now, I intend to embrace it and look forward to both the challenge and the journey.