See you at Ernie’s

Well howya now! Ernie Deacy has been on Sea Road and greeting us all for generations and yet it seems like the man himself has not aged a day.

The age of the grocer had come and gone in Irish life, the supermarkets came, and suddenly no one wanted to have the chats, we all wanted to eat strawberries in January and seasons for food seemed to be a thing of the past. Ernie’s stood strong and remained a place of stability for everyone in Galway throughout the 80’s and our most recent recession.

Always there and always with the best of produce. The best bananas in town are in Ernie’s; at times I don’t know is he growing them himself because you will never get the bananas like the ones you get at Ernie’s.

So, how do you describe Ernie’s?

This past year we have had it all: snow days that had the country turning into bread-hungry fiends and everything, even the big boys supermarkets, closed up. On a snowy Tuesday morning at 7:28am Ernie was out shoveling snow from his door.

“Yes, we are open,” he told me, and the landline ringing off the hook later that day with people looking for supplies. White grocer coat on of course, Ernie was ready to work and of course to act as a hub for people to come to. Yes, to get produce but more so to talk through the snow, the state of the things to come and to ask the question, “Jaysus, do you think it will stick?”

Apples

And sure then the heatwave came more weather warnings, this time for drought. It wasn’t the drought that struck me but the day Ernie’s’ ever-present apples, which are presented to the left and right of the entrance, were pulled inside to the cool room.

Too hot on Sea Road at 32 degrees. I knew then we were in the heatwave, when the apples were getting the star treatment and a good cooling off. Throughout it all — weather warnings, economical turbulence, Galway winning All Irelands, Connacht Rugby Pro 12 wins and of course talk of fishing — Ernie’s is open and central to life in Galway’s Westend.

Ernie Deacy is a Galway man that champions all things Galway, and in particular the Westend. To be stocked in Ernie’s is to have a Galway badge of honour. If you are a producer, this is the place you want to be. Ernie is the biggest supporter of people and if you do right by Ernie he will do right by you.

Ernies

The red hatchback parked in the bay outside the shop indicates the main man is there. If not there, well he’s fishing on a Tuesday. The day of our Lord, Sundays and Ernie’s is closed, of course — proper order that. One of the sunny days which happened to be a Sunday, and who was up a ladder at 10am winding out the awnings? Ernie of course. The weather was heating up and he wanted to keep the shop cool for the Monday.

“Howya Ernie, not used to seeing you on a Sunday!”

Always an exchange, always the chats that will leave you smiling and informed on something perhaps you never knew and will definitely use again.

Whether he is in the shop drinking tea and eating his daily currant loaf baked by his wife (Mrs. Ernie), or heading across to chat to Mike Farragher about the goings on, Ernie is a constant in the Westend and a man that binds the area together through his good humour, his passion and his work ethic. New to the area, drop into Ernie’s and sure then you will be sound.

See you at Ernie’s.

 

Words by Lisa Regan