Wherefore art thou Tobacconist?

One of the signs of a civilised society seems to have vanished almost entirely from the landscape.

I refer of course to the Tobacconist.

I’m not talking about the sweetshop come newsagent that sells fags as a sideline.  No.  I am talking about the shop that is dedicated to that bastion of the cultured world – the smoker.

There was a time when you could walk through a town in the sure knowledge that you would come across a tobacco emporium.  These shops sold cigarettes, of course, but they also had a wonderful selection of pipe tobacco, cigars and snuff, and the walls would be lined with glass cases containing pipes, lighters and other delightful items.

I remember once coming across a shop in Tralee, in Kerry that was a haven for the smoker.  It was a tiny dark shop, with an old woman behind the counter.  The aroma in the shop rivalled the smell of freshly cut hay.  That shop sold just about every known brand of cigarette or tobacco known to man and beast.  It was a wonderful place.  Sadly, as far as I know, the only remaining outposts of the smoking world that remain are in the city centre, and I ain’t goin’ there.

Smoking a pipe isn’t just about sticking it in your mouth and puffing it.  It has to be lit, and cleaned as well.  Walk into any modern shop and ask for pipe cleaners, and you’ll be met with a blank stare. The only lighters available are those horrid disposable yokes.

I am tired of those disposable pieces of crap.  I would like a decent refillable lighter, but where do I get one?  Decent lighters are surprisingly rare these days.

I suppose I will have to resort to the Interweb again.

I hate to buy things I haven’t seen with my own eyes first.

There are times when the modern world is a massive pain in the hole.


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Wherefore art thou Tobacconist? — 28 Comments

  1. I’m completely serious about this so take me up if you like — if you send me a list I’ll shop for you at the local tobacco shop. It’s called Butts ‘n’ Ashes, I’m not kidding and it has a drive-up service window. Interesting clientele too… *ahem*
    My husband shopped there last year and said his pipe tobacco cost less than half what it did in Cavan.

    Or hey, why don’t you open your own shop? It would keep you off the streets. Sometimes. 

  2. TT – Why should I come down out of the mountains?  It’s the only civilised place that’s left.

    Susan – The parcel containing my shopping list is in the post.

    K8 – I thought you preferred head shops to tobogonists?

  3. There’s one in Limerick city. Just off top of William street. Has every kind of lighter you could want. Smells every bit as good in that shop too. It’s been there a lot longer than me.

  4. There is a proper tobacconist in Darwen where I live. It has been there since well before I was a primary school.
    They sell everything tobacco related. You can get any kind of shag you want, ahem.
    It has been up for sale for about five years now but it hasn’t sold and the old chap still keeps it running.

  5. These shops are plentiful here in San Francisco. There are the newsagent type too, but the actual tobacco shops that are in place for smokers seem to be every few blocks. Once in a while, there is a cigar specialty store too, wherein is a – what’s it called? – a place to smoke inside. Cabana? Humidor? Never used one, so I don’t know.. but it’s a little lounge for cigar smokers to sit in the back of the store and sample the goods.
    We’ll show you when you and whatzername visit.

  6. Dick – Good point.  I suppose they would have to employ sales staff who are excellent at describing the products?  After all, we can’t have the customer seeing any of that filthy addictive child-killing rubbish, now can we?

    Unstranger – So there is something good about Limerick after all [ 😉 ]  It’s a bit far for me to travel though?  A round trip of about 250 miles?  That would take at least three hours in the car?

    Bucko – Nice town.  I might move there yet?  I have just spent a happy half hour driving around [and had a swift two or three in the White Lion].  Couldn’t find the baccy shop though.  What street is it in?

    RhodesTer – You lot have a fucking nerve!!  You start all this shite about banning smoking and then have the gall to brag about your tobacconists!!  You want to be careful, or our visit may become a permanent stay!

  7. You Mericans.  You stared it all.  Just as you are resposible for Starbucks, McDonalds and the world’s obesity epidemic.  Admit it.

  8. Ah, I see.. lumping me in with that bunch.
    Just so you know, I hate Starbucks and haven’t been in one for probably two or three years, hate McDonald’s too and don’t eat that crap – I’m not obese, actually in pretty good shape for 51. I smoke cigars, as previously stated, and that in public and to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it.
    Anymore finger-wagging you want to get out of the way?

  9. Who? Oh, him.. yeah. I try not to pay much attention to him. He hasn’t been rattling any cages lately anyway, what with his wife leaving him and all.

  10. Having not been to Ireland I’ll have to decline that apology. Again, not responsible. I have been to Scotland (that’s the closest I got) and when I attempted a Scottish brogue my friend – who’d been born and raised in Edinburgh – told me to knock it off.
    I’ll accept the forgiveness though. Thanks.

  11. It was 1994 and I didn’t know you then. Had I known of you I wouldn’t have gotten as close as Scotland. I would have stayed in London.

  12. Grandad. Unbeleiveable! You were in the White Lion? But the tennants did a runner two weeks ago? Something to do with bailiffs. I think you be pulling my leg.
    I don’t think you really want to move here. It’s chav town UK. Although the bingo is good on Monday night.

    • Hi Shirley.  I'm afraid I can't.  I had a quick glance around Google Earth to see if I could spot any familiar landmarks but Tralee has changed quite a bit.  I can't remember precisely when I was in the shop but it must have been around '71 or '72, and 45 years is a long time!  I vaguely remember it being on a curve in the street so my best guess would be Bridge Street?  The one thing I dod remember clearly is that it was a lovely shop!

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