FAMILY PRIDE: Val Dolan was joined by his five brothers and two sisters at a retirement get-together last week. Val is pictured with Mary (Quinn) and Della Dolan, and (from left) Jimmy, Pádraig, Paul, Tommy and Gabriel Dolan. PHOTO: MARY RYAN


By Jim Carney

IN THE SUMMER of 1971, a young Val Dolan from Abbert, Abbeyknockmoy, started his working life. He had confidently set his heart on joining the noble profession of barbering.

Now, 53 years later, Val has put aside his best scissors, clippers, combs, brushes and razors, as he goes into well-earned retirement, affording him more time to spend with his family, including three beloved grandchildren aged nine, seven and five.

The familiar sign — just one word, Valentine’s — on his barbershop at Dublin Road, Tuam, is also 53 years there. Valentine is an appropriate choice, as Val Dolan’s birthday is on February 14.

The word barber goes back as far as the 14th century; it came from the Anglo-French word barbour, which was rooted in the Latin word barba (beard).

Apart from cutting a man’s or boy’s hair (it is usually but not exclusively a service for male customers), the value of barbers in a community was put into a new, sharp perspective during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For more, pick up this week’s Tuam Herald or log onto our digital edition HERE