Life is always much easier and much more fun when you find a job you love. Loving your job and its daily routine certainly allows for a long and happy life. And that has been proved today with a very young Mr Patsy Hirrell, as he turns 80. 

Well known shoemaker in Carndonagh, Patsy has been heeling and mending shoes since 1956. Starting off in Chapel Street with Pat Callaghan, he then moved to his own premises in Bridge Street before finally settling in the Diamond, where Hirrells ‘The Heel Bar’ is today. 

Although supposed to be retired, you can still find Patsy in ‘The Heel Bar‘ helping his son Kevin on a regular basis. Turning 80 isn’t going to change that. And he’s now also introducing his grandchildren to the trade. Young Erin loves nothing more than to be in helping Dad and Grandad fix shoes in the workshop. A real little shoe elf she is proving to be!

Erin the little elf

One of my own personal favourite stories from my childhood is The Elves and The Shoemaker. When I saw the photo of young Erin at work, I immediately thought on this and smiled. 

Patsy’s grandson Darragh can also be found mending shoes on his college holidays too. So, it really is a family affair at The Heel Bar. But, will they still be doing it at 80? Time will tell…..

Patsy’s son Kevin began in the shop alongside himself back in 1996, not long after finishing school. And that’s where you’ll find him today. Father and Son, granddaughter and grandson are continuing a family trade and one which is as needed today as it was back in 1956.

Patsy and Mary

So here’s hoping that Patsy might take today off and maybe celebrate this huge milestone and raise a ‘shoe’ to good health and a long and happy life. Happy 80th birthday Patsy. Enjoy your day.