Wrist watches a young engaged couple bought each other during a summer holiday to Inishowen are ticking over nicely… more than half a century on!
The “Oriosa” (Swiss) and “Gloriosa” (German) watches were purchased in July 1960 from Buncrana legend, Frank Callaghan, of Callaghan Jewellers, who had opened his iconic jewellers shop just one month earlier in Lower Main Street, Buncrana.
Welcoming Dorothy Davidson (née Quinn), one of Buncrana’s “Mighty Quinns,” home, Frank’s son and granddaughter, Brendan and Kate, heard the whole wrist watch story.
The reunion took place in the “new” Callaghan Jewellers shop on Buncrana’s Upper Main Street.
As Brendan joked, “Dad’s original shop, where Dorothy and her then fiancé bought their wrist watches, is now an undertakers!”
Speaking to the Inish Times, Dorothy explained she had met her late husband, Brian Davidson, when she was nursing in England.
Both worked in Warlingham Park Hospital in Surrey - she as a nurse and he as a chef.
Dorothy said: “Brian and I were home in Buncrana on our holidays. We went into Frank’s new shop to have a wee look and decided to buy each other a wrist watch.
“The watch Brian bought me cost three pounds and the one I bought him cost six pounds. And to this day, with no work being carried out on the watches, they work exactly as they did on the day we got them.”
Brendan Callaghan, himself a Swiss-trained horologist, said he was not in the least bit amazed by the fact both wrist watches were still keeping good time.
He said: “The watches were quality timepieces, as are all the watches we supply today. These two watches were manufactured in Switzerland and Germany respectively. Normally, such watches are lost, before they stop working.”
Dorothy still wears the wrist watch, which Brian bought her all those years ago, every day.
Dorothy, who comes home to Buncrana every year for her summer holidays, said a recent visit to Buncrana Nursing Unit jogged her memory.
She added: “My niece, Doreen Friel, composed a poem about the Nursing Unit. A framed print of her poem was recently unveiled there and hanging beside the poem, I noticed a portrait of Frank Callaghan, which reminded me about the watches.
“I told Doreen the story and she decided to get in touch with Brendan and Kate. “
Doreen added: “Much like the hands of Dorothy and Brian’s wrist watches, the story has come full circle.
“Everyone in Buncrana would know Frank Callaghan was instrumental in setting up the Nursing Unit in the town. Back in the day, he sat on the North Western Health Board and it was he who persuaded Donal O’Shay, the then CEO of the Health Board, to build, what was in those days a very innovative nursing unit for the elderly in Buncrana. Frank was helped in this project by all the towns people with the notable assistance of Cllr Sean “The Egg” McLaughlin
“Opened in 1984, the Nursing Unit was built by Buncrana building contractors ‘Hegarty Builders, father, Johnny and son, Michael.
“I would be interested now to hear if any other Inish Times readers have any reminiscences they would like to share,” smiled Doreen.
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