70 years an Echo boy: Tributes paid as long-serving seller passes away

Mr Cronin, who began selling papers at the age of 11 and who had a career spanning over 70 years, had been working up until March of 2020, when only a global pandemic could force him to retire.
70 years an Echo boy: Tributes paid as long-serving seller passes away

Jeremiah Cronin, who was known to generations of Cork people as an Echo Boy, has passed away at the age of 85. Pictured here with his son Donal.

Jeremiah Cronin, who was known to generations of Cork people as an Echo Boy, has passed away at the age of 85.

Mr Cronin, who began selling papers at the age of 11 and who had a career spanning over 70 years, had been working up until March of 2020, when only a global pandemic could force him to retire.

Speaking to The Echo, Mr Cronin’s son Donal said his father’s pitch had been St Augustine’s Church, Washington Street, North Main Street, and the Coal Quay, and on Sundays he would be at St Mary’s Church.

“Monday to Saturday, he was inside the door of St Augustine’s Church, and he always said he had the best office in the world,” Donal Cronin said.

Jerry had inherited his father’s job, following a special dispensation granted by the Cork Examiner’s then-proprietor Mr Crosbie, and from that early age he supported his mother and his 12 siblings.

Jerry Cronin, who began selling papers at the age of 11 and who had a career spanning over 70 years, had been working up until March of 2020, when only a global pandemic could force him to retire.
Jerry Cronin, who began selling papers at the age of 11 and who had a career spanning over 70 years, had been working up until March of 2020, when only a global pandemic could force him to retire.

“They were different times, you have to remember,” Donal said. “There was 13 children in a small house on Gurranabraher Avenue that would probably fit four people now.

“He never played soccer or hurling as a child, and he said to me ‘I used to go from school to work, and school to work’. He never had a holiday in his whole life, which is the saddest part of it, and the farthest he ever went was his honeymoon, up to the North for a bowling competition, with my mother, and back down,” he said.

When their marriage broke down, Jerry raised their six children on his own, and Donal Cronin recalled a kind and generous father who was of his generation, rarely showing emotion.

“He was a great supporter of Glen Rovers, and the players decided to surprise him for his 80th birthday, above in The Barn restaurant, presenting him with a cake with the club crest, and a signed county jersey,” Donal recalled.

“He said ‘Who’s that for?’ and I said ‘That’s for you, the players did that for you,’ and he started crying, and then the waitresses started crying, and we all started crying. It was probably the biggest thing anyone ever did for him, because all he was was a giver.

Jerry Cronin was a great supporter of Glen Rovers, and the players decided to surprise him for his 80th birthday.
Jerry Cronin was a great supporter of Glen Rovers, and the players decided to surprise him for his 80th birthday.

“I said to him, ‘You didn’t cry like that when my mother left you,’ and he replied ‘Ah, but I loved Glen Rovers longer’. And he didn’t mean that disrespecting my mother, or being smart, it was just something so honest to him, and he was so moved at the kindness shown to him,” Donal said.

“My father was a very religious man, and he sat in his ‘office’ inside the door of St Augustine’s for 72 years, and he saw the city change and grow, and he loved to be a part of it.

“Meet the people, he used to say. Meet the people.” 

Donal’s youngest brother Glenn still sells newspapers in his father’s pitch, continuing a family tradition now over 120 years old.

Maurice Gubbins, editor of The Echo, said: “We want to pay tribute to Jerry, who was a wonderful servant to our company and to the people of Cork for so many years.

“He played a leading role in a great tradition, and the Echo Boys are rightly regarded as a proud cultural asset, indeed they are known as ‘the song of the city’.

“We want to extend our sincere sympathies to Jerry’s family, and his friends and colleagues,” Mr Gubbins said.

Seán Murphy, circulation manager for The Echo and the Irish Examiner, also paid tribute to Mr Cronin, describing him as a fantastic man, a great ambassador for Cork and “one of the originals”.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130
EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more