End of an era – Mags and Mike have retired from well-known rally house Moriarty’s Centra Farranfore

Today marks the end of an era of one very popular Farranfore business.

Moriarty’s Centra has changed hands and proprietors Mike and Margaret Moriarty are looking forward to retirement.

First opened in 1999, the landmark shop has grown to become a central part of the community.

The shop is well known in rally circles, and rally people from far and near are regulars there. 

Ahead of this weekend’s Rentokil Initial Killarney Historic Rally, many people making their way to the rally will be stopping off there – sure its tradition at this stage.

But this time it will be different….

There was always at least one member of the popular couple on hand to greet regulars and newcomers that walked into the shop.

And it was always a warm welcome, punctuated by a joke or some easy-going banter because both Mike and Margaret had an incredible knack for making everyone feel welcome.

Their tenure at the shop, at the crossroads of Kerry, started on December 4, 1999.

Just five short days before their 23rd anniversary, their time has come to an end.

On Monday night they completed the final preparations ahead of the arrival of the new owner on Tuesday morning.

“I don’t know what it feels like,” said an emotional Margaret. “I want to thank our loyal staff, many of who have been with us for years and years and all the wonderful customers we have met. 23 years is a long time, some customers first came to us in prams and now they are pushing their own prams through the door.”

Moriarty’s Centra grew to become a central icon in the village of Farranfore. They supported several community activities, and Margaret’s love of athletics ensured that Farranfore-Maine Valley AC was also looked after. Mike’s love of motorsport meant their shop sponsored the county rally championship and their dual love of the GAA meant Firies GAA could always rely on support.

Margaret was and is fiercely proud of the village and often volunteered to litter pick Farranfore’s streets and sideroads.

That kind of local loyalty paid dividends, and customers from all walks of life and sporting backgrounds rarely passed the door without calling in for a chat and to catch up on local news.

Sam Maguire, Liam McCarthy and the Rose of Tralee were regular visitors over the years.

The business has grown from humble beginnings back in December 1999.

Mike was so determined that his new shop would open in time for Christmas shopping that he was stocking shelves while the builders were still putting the finishing touches to the building.

A memorable story from this era comes from a local who, while passing the passing the construction site in late November asked if Moriarty’s would be open for Easter.

It was opened a few days later and the Moriarty family has not looked back since.

But the time is right for them to retire to allow them to spend more time with their daughters, their husbands and grandchildren.

They have witnessed multiple changes in the locality, the ever-expanding airport and the relatively new Farranfore Business Park are just two examples but the shop remained a constant throughout that period of time.

“The time is right,” said Mike. “I will miss it, I will miss the people, but I won’t be too far away as I will keep the car sales going across the road.”

On Monday night Margaret and Mike locked the door of the shop that bears their name for the final time.

On Tuesday morning, new owner Peter Keane of Keane’s SuperValu in Killorglin turned that same key to begin a new era in one of the most famous shops in the county.

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