24 Sept 2022

Memories from a Callan time capsule - call out for your stories of Power's Drapery

Kilkenny Callan Kilkenny

Roisin Power Hackett inside Power's Draper in Callan

Walking into Power’s Drapery Shop on Bridge Street in Callan was like walking into a time capsule when Roisin Power Hackett returned there after 11 years.

Her grandmother, Della Power, had passed away and some of the family made the pilgrimage back to the place that had been their home and thriving business.
Della spent her last 11 years at Strathmore Lodge in Callan. The building that had been Power’s Drapery was left closed up.

Run by Della and her husband Seamus, Power’s Drapery had once been a very busy place. In a time before online shopping and when going to Kilkenny or other big towns for shopping was not easy, Power’s was relied upon for clothes and shoes by many in the Callan area.
Della passed away in 2016 and Seamus had died almost 20 years before.

Above: Inside Power's Drapery Shop on Bridge Street in Callan - how it looked after being closed up for 11 years. Picture: Roisin Power Hackett

Roisin’s first visit back to Power’s in 2016 inspired her to find out more about the place and the people who lived, worked and shopped there.
After her grandmother moved to Strathmore Lodge very few people went into the Bridge Street building. It was left almost as it had been the day Della left. Roisin found her grandmother’s toothbrush still on the sink and a vacuum cleaner sitting out as if it had just been used.

As a student at art college, Roisin had read about memories and space and ‘psycho-geography’ - how our memories are much more connected to space than time.
Walking into Power’s, Roisin was filled with memories and was inspired to take pictures and produce a booklet. ‘The Irish House: A Psychogeographical Map,’ was published in 2018 and was bound with rolls of unsold wallpaper from the shop.
There was huge interest in the booklet and it inspired the sharing of more stories and memories.
Exploring the building further, Roisin found hand-written account books from the 80s and other items going back to the 1960s.

Recently, Power’s old shop was sold to Kilkenny County Council. With the encouragement of the County Council Heritage Officer Dearbhala Ledwidge and council architect Evelyn Graham, and financial support from the Arts Council’s Arts and Disability Connect Scheme, Roisin has embarked on a project to collect stories and memories of Power’s Drapery.

Above: Roisin found her grandmother's toothbrush still sitting on the bathroom sink, 11 years after she left the building

She is calling on anyone with stories or memories of her grandparents, the shop, even funny stories about Bridge Street, to contact her. People have already told Roisin how they remember the smell of the wool that was sold there, or the sound of the knocking on the boards, and people explained how important the shop was. She wants to collect as many stories as she can. It’s a personal project but also capturing a time in Irish history.
Contact Roisin on email or call 0851273346. The deadline for submissions is March 31.
Once collected, there will be a special event in Fennelly’s on Bridge Street when some of the stories will be read out. This will be held on Wednesday, April 20.

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