f anyone around here has earned the right to put their feet up for the rest of their days, it’s Joe Sweeney.
Born on Tuesday, August 9th 1932 in one of the long-gone North Beach cottages, the bould Joe [on the far left] has been the unofficial Greystones harbour master for pretty much all his adult life.
And for much of his 88 years, the Sweeney lad ran the takeaway cafe down there, taking over The Anchor – where he began his working life, aged 14 – back in 1976, turning it into arguably the town’s most popular eaterie ever.
Generations of Greystonians have grown up on Joe Sweeney’s fish and chips. And we have the elasticated pants to prove it.
So, seeing Joe’s chipper closed for the last six months has been a strange and strained sight. Clearly, something beyond the Covid-19 lockdown was at play here.
Back in July, we were in touch with Joe about the shutters being down on his cafe, and he told us that he was still “figuring it out”, and that he hadn’t been “too well”.
Certainly, the Sweeney clan have had to deal with far more than their fair share of illness in the past six months, as anyone close to them will know.
Nonetheless, when local people in the property business informed us that the cafe was on the market, it came as a bit of a shock. Just as Bridie Mooneyand her shop is embedded in the town’s history, Joe Sweeney and his chipper is burnt deep into our collective psyche.
So, should he hand in his badge and finally take that well-deserved retirement, we can only hope that Joe realises just how revered – and loved – he is in this town.
Talking earlier today, Joe told us he’d have some definite news by Friday. In the meantime, here’s that interview we did with the great man himself back in November 2019…
You can find out more about Joe Sweeney and the family history right about here.
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