It truly was the end of an era when the popular Fethard newsagents ‘Newport’s’ closed its doors for the final time in 93 years, on Bank Holiday Monday.
After five generations, and a very changing world, current manager Edwina Newport has decided the time has come to move on to other things, and so brings to an end the close relationship between the shop, it’s customers and with The Nationalist - which has been sold in Newport’s for those 93 years!
Of course as The Nationalist’s Fethard correspondent for many years, Edwina’s father Tony is also a great friend of the paper.
On Monday long-term customers and friends called to wish the Newports all the best with their future plans.
The little newsagents shop was first opened by Edwina’s grandmother Catherine Kenrick on March 19, 1920. The premises was in fact in operation as a tailors and outfitters for at least another 80 years or more before that, that we know of. Edward Kenrick, Catherine Newport’s father and her grandfather Patrick Kenrick were both tailors. The records in existence go back to Patrick Kenrick’s era. The first entry in a day book of his period records: “to making a trousers for Philip Neville, Kilnockin, 3/6’ (three shillings and six pence).”
The shop has served as a social centre and meeting place down through the years. Patrick and John Kenrick were very much involved with the Fenian Movement. It was the first premises in Fethard to make and sell its own ice-cream and was also the first place where tomatoes were available, with many people, especially on fair days, enquiring “what are the little red things in the window?”
It was across the shop counter that Catherine met her husband, Englishman Aubrey ‘Bert’ Newport. Following their wedding in 1928, Bert took over the running of the shop until ill health forced his retirement in the early 70. That was when Tony and his wife Mary took charge, Tony moving up the street from his aunt Goldie’s grocery shop (which closed several years ago).
Edwina became the fifth generation of the family to run a business in the premises when she took the reigns in 1998.
Newport’s was a much loved centre of the town and will be missed. All associated with the shop are wished well in their future endeavours.