It seems like so very long ago now, given just how much of a mark The Happy Pear has made on the planet, but back in the 1990s, it was Charlie’s Fruit & Veg that had everyone in Greystones living that little bit healthier.
Run by the rather handsome Charlie Byrne, and manned by quite a few of his 827 children and his all-seeing, all-knowing mother, this was a fruit & veg shop quite like no other.
Just as the world was turning to healthier options, and Ireland was beginning to realise that apples, bananas and oranges weren’t the only fruit, Charlie made it his business to hunt down the exotic and, in the case of some undeniably phallic offerings, the shamelessly erotic.
Rising at 5.15am five mornings a week, so he could get the finest that Smithfield market had to offer, Charlie would usually finish his last round of deliveries after closing just before 8pm. On a good night.
Behind the long hours and hard work though was a proud man, and when, after over a decade of building Charlie’s up to the point where even Ronnie Drew walked out of their beaming, it was with a heavy heart that the man behind it all decided to move on.
It was also with a state-of-the-art RV, Charlie and the missus, Dee, finally fulfilling their long-held hippy dream of driving across Europe and beyond for a whole year.
The jammy bastards.
It would appear that The Happy Pear have made a fairly good crack of the business since then, but, there are those Greystonians out there who still miss the simple joy of getting their hands on an African horned cucumber or kissing a juicy Jabuticaba for the very first time.
And back then, a good cup of coffee cost nothing more than a smile and a wink. Especially if you brought the biscuits.
You can check out our gallery of old Greystones shops right here.
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