1903 Christmas in Letterkenny

1903 Christmas in Letterkenny

From Derry People 19th December 1903:


Letterkenny, or as it was called in its old Irish form “Leiter Cannanan (the hill slope of the O’Cannanans) looks at its best during the week preceding Christmas, and the person must be very hard indeed to please who could not be supplied with a suitable Christmas gift from the many varieties of such, with which the shops of the town are decorated.

The great attraction in Letterkenny during the Xmas holidays will be of course the beautiful Crib which is now being erected at St Eunan’s Cathedral, and the figures for which were procured from Paris last year on the initiative of Mrs. A. H. M’Fadden, Letterkenny who, assisted by several other ladies of the town, spared no trouble to carry out the project of having a Crib in the Cathedral for Xmas. The very beautiful and artistic figures representing the occupants of the stable in Bethlehem, the Infant Saviour, the Holy Mother of the Redeemer, St Joseph, the three Kings who made their journey from the East guided by the star, the Shepherds and the ox and the ass, are here depicted in life like attitudes and the effect of the Crib when illuminated, as it will be at midnight Mass on Xmas Eve, will indeed be beautiful in the extreme.

Perhaps nowhere in the North of Ireland are the ceremonies of the Nativity celebrated in such a manner as in Letterkenny. The new Cathedral of St. Eunan with its magnificent organ, its delightful chime of bells, its splendid altars, etc. gives every facility for the proper celebration of all the ceremonies associated with the great feast. In the town business seems to be very brisk, and the following establishments are amongst those who are sharing in the business inseparable from this festive time:

Shops in Letterkenny:


Miss M’Carry has this year made very elaboiate preparations for the Christmas season. The premises, which she conducts with such conspicuous success are at present furnished with an assortment of beautiful articles of every class and variety suitable for presents, and which are being offered at popular prices. Irish stationery, Irish cards, bearing such mottos as “Nollaig Shona Duit,” “Go Duigaid Dia Nollaig Maith Duit,” etc., as well as Irish articles of every variety are here to be found. In fact it would require at least a column to convey anything like a proper idea of the variety and beauty of everything exhibited in this place, dressing cases, artistically bound books of Irish literature, photographs and pictures of all descriptions meet the eye at every turn round whilst the palate is catered for by investments of great variety of tobaccos cigars, etc. of the best brands.


The magnificent new premises opened recently by Mr. Bartley Ramsey form one of the most striking buildings in Letterkenny. The contractor was Mr. Colquhoun, and the architect, Mr. J. P. M’Grath, both of which deserve every credit for the manner in which the structure has been completed. The premises are filled with a most suitable stock of everything in the drapery way: Winter coats of all kinds, blankets, furs, etc, whilst the ladies department is replete with all kinds of beautiful articles, hats, scarfs, corsets, ties, valued at proper prices and most suitable for Christmas presents. The large plate glass windows are decorated with a most pleasing variety of everything calculated to induce the purchaser. Mr Ramsey has also a full stock of the substantial goods so necessary during the winter, ready mades of the best kinds, men’s woollens, etc. The lively appearance of the beautiful new shop arrests more than ordinary attention.


(Opposite Old Town Railway Station).

The premises, which have recently been taken over by Mr Samuel Kennedy, who has had a thorough training in everything connected with the general grocery trade in Messrs. Alex Findlater’s and Co., Dublin, and who is so well and favourably known in Letterkenny, are replete with a large variety of everything in the grocery and hardware business, timber, salt, coals, etc, at market prices; bacon and hams of the best brands, teas at prices to suit all tastes. Whilst all articles constituting the stock of a provision merchant are here to be found of the best quality. Mr. Kennedy’s shop is daily thronged with large numbers of purchasers, who seem to be well satisfied with the prices and quality of the goods.


The windows of this establishment were the first in Letterkenny to adorn a Christmas aspect, and they have been dressed with Mr Mahony’s usual good taste; his long experience having made him an adept in the art of window dressing. Those anxious to make purchases of useful and acceptable Christmas gifts cannot do better than pay this establishment a visit, where they will find Irish manufacture predominates in every class of goods, articles suitable for all tastes and all purses of a substantial and reliable character for which Mr Mahony’s establishment has become so well and favourably known, are to be had here.


This large and important emporium for the sale of all classes of goods suitable for the season looks exceedingly well just now. The windows are filled with a pleasing display of all kinds of articles suitable for Chistmas presents, whilst the intenor is well stocked with an extensive variety of goods useful for the winter season. The enumeration of the many articles would be impossible, but some of them are: ladies’ gloves of all descriptions, silk handkerchiefs, silk scarves, ladies’ and gents’ umbrellas, perfumes, photo frames, chatelaines, albums, dressing cases, ladies companions, wraps and shawls in great variety, etc.


Mr. M’Clure’s large and handsome premises are well stocked with everything to tempt the purchaser in the grocery and Italian warehouse business: Hams, bacon, teas, coffee, fruit of all descriptions, are here to be obtained at popular prices. Jacob’s iced cakes in great variety with mottoes suitable for the present festive season are for sale, and in fact everything that is necessary for the material comforts so associated with Christmas.”