Northern Ireland’s oldest postman has retired after serving his community for nearly 45 years and has crossed this milestone to celebrate his 75th birthday.
iam O’Rourke, who lives in Convoy, Co Donegal, began offering the position in Omagh, Co Tyrone when he joined the Royal Mail at the age of 31.
Prior to applying to join the Postal Service, he worked for several firms.
A few years after going from house to house, he worked in the Omag sorting office, where he celebrated his last day at work on Wednesday.
“I think I was the oldest and I’m retired,” Liam told the Belfast Telegraph.
“I loved the work. It was a lot of experience. I put a lot into it and there was height and bottom, but mostly height.
Liam said he took the role of handling public mail seriously, explaining: “Generally, you have to have a certain amount of security about it and respect other people. You have to make sure. Things will keep moving forward.
“I’ve been in the office for about 35 years, sorting mail for delivery, doing wages and things like that.”
He has observed job changes over the years to streamline the process with the advent of machines.
The man from Donegal said it was his last day at work, as reported by Olster Herald, “there was only one day in the office”, but his colleagues helped make sure the memorial Stay
“I didn’t really do anything different. I didn’t want to make a fuss, but there were sandwiches, cakes and buns.
Providing the position is a family business for Liam, whose sons Paul and Richard Omag live in the office and whose grandson Kyle has been a postman for five years.
“Richard basically worked with me and Kyle picks up his mail from the Omag office in the morning and goes to Dermor to deliver it,” he said.
One of Liam’s character’s demands is more of a joy to say goodbye than tears.
He said, “The last time, especially since Cowade, I get up for work at 1am and go to work at 2am, driving from Donegal, then my shift ends at 5.30pm. Will go
“The way we worked was a three-day week, double shift.”
Now that he has extra time on his hands, Liam plans to join his local Gaelic football team.
“I train a little bit and I’m a little bit involved with the senior team,” he said.
“I’m also very interested in the county team. I have a lot to keep going.”
Looking back at the Omag office with memories of more than four decades, Liam has many good and bad memories.
Worst of all is Omag’s dark moment: the day the real IRA blew up the town center. The atrocity killed 29 people on August 15, 1998, including a pregnant woman with twins, nine children and three generations of a family.
It was the greatest tragedy of all, and it happened three months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
“I was working this weekend. It never leaves you. [In] After that … they used the roof of the post office because it was the highest point in the city for pictures.
He also recalled the official visit of then US President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Omaha to Omag, who mourned the victims a month later.
“It was a big deal when he arrived, all the security that surrounded him,” Liam told the Belfast Telegraph.
“A lot of things have happened over the years. All sorts of things have happened during the troubled times, but in the last 20 years, it’s settled and it’s been good.
“During those early years, it was rough, though.”