I don’t visit Roscommon Mart very often, I must admit, but when I do it’s usually because something a little bit unique is happening. This time it was to find out more about the return of a clock from the 1960s.
Padraig Nolan met me in the car park and led me inside. “There it is, but the other fella isn’t here yet,” he said. The ‘other fella’ was Freddie Shaw, the man who got the clock working again.
Padraig gives me the background to this story with a happy ending: “I remember this clock just above ring one there,” he points towards advertising for a forestry company. “I’ve asked some of the older staff, but they don’t remember it. I remember it. I used to look up at it while I was working and think ‘that thing will never go!’”
The clock itself has a blue cross on the face and is electric, which Padraig tells me was a rarity back then. It has been placed in a wooden case for protection, but the actual clock casing is enamel.
According to Roscommon Mart manager, Maura Quigley, it was found by chance.
“We were getting rid of some old stuff upstairs and we found it. Padraig said he remembered it from the 1960s.”
Padraig gives a more exact timeframe and tells me how it came to be restored.
“I remember it from about 1963. Freddie Shaw was born in Mount Talbot and drives home once a year from England in his mini. He’s a, what you call a man who fixes clocks?”
Maura interjects “A horologist, is it?”
Padraig continues: “Anyway, he took it and fixed it and arrived back with it recently. Declan Lavin from Frenchpark restored the casing. It’s just a pity Freddie isn’t here today, he’s a very interesting character!”
Freddie Shaw the horologist (man who fixes clocks) never showed on the day (due to a simple misunderstanding, we subsequently discovered) but from what I gathered from Padraig he certainly seems like an interesting character.
Born in Mount Talbot, he is over 80 years old and left Ireland to join the British Army. Following military service he was part of a jazz band and now he returns to Roscommon once a year in his mini.
Meanwhile, the return to working order of the clock certainly meant a lot to Padraig Nolan. The elusive horologist from Mount Talbot, Freddie Shaw, has accomplished what many would like to do – and turned back time at Roscommon Mart.