THE final closing of the door to Matt Bonner’s Shop in Magheraclogher on Sunday marked the end of an era and a business that served the community for almost 100 years.
Spanning three generations of the Bonner family its founder the late Annie Bonner was famous for her home-made ice cream. That ice-cream experience evoked a lot of memories, expressed on Facebook this week, for locals and visitors alike.
The final locking of the door brought sadness to many people in the area and those further afield. Many shared their memories of Annie, her late son Matt and the kindness of his daughters in more recent years.
Local man Tommy Curran recalled the great affiliation the shop always had with the Irish language with all signs both interior and exterior in Gaeilge.
“The shop always supported small enterprises and always sold their products in the shop. They also stocked newly launched books covering Gaoth Dobhair and the surrounding areas. When Matt died his daughter Treasa with the help of her sisters successfully ran the business until Sunday evening,” Tommy said.
The family placed the following post on Facebook; “After nearly 100 years in business and having our doors opened 364 days a year, we as a family have come to the decision to close the doors of Siopa Matt this evening for the last time.
Throughout those years we have met some amazing people from all parts of the world and we are so happy to have you share part of our story with us.
“For the locals of An Bun beag and Gaoth Dobhair, some of you have watched us grow up and we have been blessed to be able to watch as your children and grandchildren have also ventured through our doors for our famous 99’s every summer. We would like to thank you all immensely for your support over the years, we couldn’t have done it with without you.
“The unforgettable memories and the relationships we have built with you will forever live on in these walls that were built by Annie and Matt Bonner. We have an exciting new generation coming through, so for now it’s just a see you later.”
It led to many tributes being posted by locals and those from further afield who knew the shop.
Anne Marie Gallagher wrote: “Such sad news. I have very fond memories as a child going into the shop for sweats and as a teenager going in for chips when we were allowed over the road for an hour. Also coming back from mass on a Sunday in Dawson’s mini bus, stopping off for the papers and a block of ice cream.”
Marie O’Brien wrote: “Sad to see ye go… have been going up to Bunbeg for over 40 years and Matt’s has been an institution and friendly siopa. Hope the next generation might reopen the siopa. Grá mor.”
Sheila Roarty wrote: “Everybody will have happy memories of Matt’s shop. The first time I came to Bunbeg with Michael RIP he took me there for a poke of chips to Matt’s shop and they were the tastiest chips wrapped in a newspaper triangle. Good luck to Treasa and the rest of the family.”
Charlie McGinley wrote: “So sad when doors that you visited for over seventy years are locked up forever. I remember Annie and Matt when l first went to school in 1946 and l always visit the shop when l go back for holidays and always had a good chat with the girls when calling for the papers.
“Back in the sixties and seventies l would sit with Matt in his kitchen for a cuppa and he would ask me to bring him new cash machines for the shop on my next visit which l did on a few occasions. He was such a lovely man.
“Got to know his girls very well and they carried on the friendship and the chats down the years. Treasa was so friendly and sometimes we would spend 20 minutes talking about the this and that. We will still be able to have our chats over a cuppa next door in the best wee cafe in Ireland. Hope the future brings you happiness and thanks for the memories. See you soon. Love and God bless.”