Widowed with seven small children, Molly Gallivan had to call on all her resourcefulness to keep body and soul together.
She supplemented her meagre income from her small mountain farm by opening a “síbín” (illegal pub). Here she sold her own home made “Poitín” (whiskey) locally known as “Molly’s Mountain Dew”.
In the early 1840s a new mountain pass was built between Glengarriff and Kenmare. The road, now known as the Caha Pass, gradually became a prominent tourist route, linking West Cork and South Kerry.
Horse drawn coach tours were organised for rich English tourists to enjoying the spectacular scenery over the mountains passes from Glengarriff to Killarney.
Molly Gallivan’s soon became a welcome stop for weary travellers, to enjoy some of Molly’s home baking and teas.
Molly eventually set up her own cottage industry selling hand spun woollens, Aran sweaters and local crafts. Local farmers supplied wool for her industry and neighbouring women helped with the spinning and knitting.
This generated much needed employment in the community at a time of great poverty and want. During the First World War and War of Independence, tourism declined in Ireland. Molly Gallivan’s was converted to a grocery store, supplying the community with flour, groceries and other household goods.
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