New Businesses for Athenry 2002

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Athenry Opticians

Athenry Opticians opened in August at 3 McDonald’s Lane, Athenry.

Ailbhe Ni Raighne, a native of lnverin left Specsavers in Galway to set up her own business. She holds a Higher Diploma in optometry and is a member of the Association of Optometrists in Ireland. She is assisted by Colette Caulfield from Ballyglunin.

Ailbhe provides a full range of eye care services including complete eye examinations. contact lens consultations and advice on frame fitting and selection and lens options. Her on site laboratory enables some prescriptions to be filled on the same day.

For the more fashion conscious among us, she can provide coloured contact lens and a wide selection of designer frames and Ray Ban sunglasses. All of the options available from the larger high street opticians can be found at Athenry Opticians in the comfort of a bright, modern setting minus the stresses of having to travel Galway.

Ailbhe or Colette can be contacted at 091-850546  or visit Athenry Opticians

Shop Around the “Corner”

When Brigid Finnegan drove into Athenry in October. 2001 she knew she was home even though she had never seen the town before.

Now one year later she has put down roots and has opened her own bookshop specialising in children’s books in Burke’s Lane. American born Brigid has Irish connections through her grandparents so it was natural for her to choose Ireland when she decided to look for a better way to raise her two autistic daughters. The girls have settled well in the Presentation School and Brigid is very impressed with the care and welcome they have received. ‘l worked as a seamstress and dressmaker in the US’ she says ‘but I wanted to do something that my daughters could inherit. Books are the answer and when they are old enough, they can take over the business’.

She runs a novel scheme called ‘Storybook Hour’ three times daily at 11 am, 1.30 pm and 4 pm. Parents can leave their children for an hour and they will have stories read to them in a dedicated section of the shop that she is decorating with murals and lovely children’s books. Brigid’s shop is open Monday-Saturday 9.30 to 5.00 and will remain open later coming up to Christmas.

Healthy Choices


The challenge of running her own business was what motivated Mary Stephens to take over the fruit and vegetable business that she re-named ‘Healthy Choices’ earlier this year. Lt’s difficult to miss Mary’s eye-catching premises on the corner of Burke’s Lane where she sells a wide range of fruit and vegetables. Naturally outgoing she loves meeting the public and believes in getting to know her customers and providing a good service. ‘We stock as much local fresh produce as we can find’ she says ‘and also a range of organic produce that many customers are now looking for‘.

‘Running a business is hard work’ Mary says and she has found the  year so far a steep learning curve. ‘It is difficult to get a return on your investment the first year but l have learned a lot and trade is building up all the time’ she says.

Healthy Choices is open six days a week 9.00 to 6.30 with late opening until 7.00 on Fridays.

Vita Healthfoods

Pricilla and Samantha Fay opened Vita Healthfoods in Old Church St. in March last. They felt that an opening existed for a wholefood shop with the huge growth in population in the Athenry area. So far, their hunch has proved correct and they are very pleased with the level of business generated in the first six months of business. ‘We expected it to take longer to build up business’ says Samantha ‘but now we have a great mix of customers. They are very in tune with alternative therapies and herbal remedies’. The shop stocks a wide range of healthfoods and nutritional supplements. Gluten free, vegan, vegetarian and specialised diets are catered for. The Solgar range of supplements is stocked as are Bio-Force products. For the Christmas market Vita Healthfoods will be offering an exciting gift range and giftpacks can be made to order. The shop is open Monday — Saturday 9.30 — 6.00

Visit Vita Healthfoods, Athenry, 091 850590

Cathal Moran Auctioneers Ltd.


Cathal Moran returned to home turf to set up his auctioneering business in Northgate St. Athenry. A qualified chartered valuation surveyor and auctioneer, Cathal brings a wealth of expertise and experience to his new business. Having spent some years with leading Dublin property agents Douglas Newman Good he moved back to Galway where he worked as senior negotiator and property surveyor with Rooney Auctioneers for six and a half years.

A native of Tiaquin, Cathal comes from a well-known sporting family and is the holder of three all — Ireland club hurling medals with Athenry as well as playing at all levels for Galway.

His practice covers a large catchment area in Galway County and city and offers a solid, competent and knowledgeable service in residential, land and commercial property. Cathal aims to provide a personalised and efficient service that focuses on quality rather than quantity and he currently has a wide range of properties on his books.

Visit Cathal Moran & Co Auctioneers LTD, Property in Athenry, Co. Galway

The Yellow Mill

If you never got around to baking the traditional Christmas cake don’t worry. The Yellow Mill in Cross St. can sort all your Christmas baking needs with a French flourish.

Stephane Desrayaud opened his bakery in partnership with David Bouger last August and business has been building gradually. ‘lt takes some time for lrish people to get used to French confectionery’ says Stephane ‘but now people are travelling more and their tastes are becoming wider’. Originally from Lyons, Stephane trained as a pastry chef/confectioner in France. Despite the weather he enjoys living in Ireland and found a suitable premises in Athenry to set up in business.

The Yellow Mill carries a wide range of delicious homemade cakes, breads and savoury snacks. It operates a pizza takeaway on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 9 pm. Orders are now being taken for Christmas and New Year confectionery and the shop is open from 9-6pm. daily, Tuesday to Saturday.

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About this record

Written by Cáit Curran

Published here 13 Aug 2023 and originally published Winter 2002

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