Peggy’s Cottage: A Long Way From Tipperary To Westport

Just about the only thing better than an Irish brogue is hearin’ it spoken — and seein’ the smiles on the faces — of the owners of Peggy’s Cottage.

That’s the all-Irish, all-the-time shop that opened a wee bit ago across from Stop & Shop.

Irish candy, chips, drinks, flour, clothes, books, scented candles, gifts — they’re all there, in a Westfair Shopping Center store that looks like a cottage from the old country. Irish music plays in the background.

Brian Ellard and Meg Kirby, in Peggy’s Cottage. Which, of course, looks like an Irish cottage.

Brian Ellard and Meg Kirby are the owners. The Irish are known for their storytelling, and the couple’s tale is a grand one.

They’re both from Tipperary. He worked in a bakery, she at the local factory. In 1994 they decided to “chase the American dream.”

Meg’s uncle — Jim Fahey — had done the same thing, from the same county, in the 1960s. He had nothing when he arrived, but found work in construction. He helped build the first World Trade Center. After relocating to Westport he started a moving company, and built it into a big, successful business.

Brian worked for him for a while, then founded his own firm: Arra Carpentry. After 15 years, he and Meg embarked on a new adventure.

Peggy’s Cottage is exactly what Irish expats — and those from the rest of the UK too — have been looking for.

Some of the treats at Peggy’s Cottage.

There are lots of them, too. Fairfield’s Gaelic-American Club is thriving. The area is filled with folks from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. Throw in those who trace their ancestry there, those who have visited and love it, and those who are just curious, and the customer base is huge.

But the appeal is extra special for lads and lasses with brogues.

It wasn’t two minutes that I was talking with Brian and Meg when a young, red-headed guy walked in. He headed strait for the Alpen muesli.

Real Irish muesli is hard to find. In the States, anyway.

“I’ve been looking for this for years!” he said. He’d found something similar in a couple of stores, but it didn’t taste the way he remembered it.

“Sugar is different in Ireland,” Brian explains. “It comes from sugar beets. That’s why the flavors are different — cereal, candy, all of it.”

Cows are fed differently too. The food he and Meg sell is the real Irish deal. They carry what they like.

And when customers ask for something — like Scottish potato bread — they add it to the shelves.

Gifts galore at Peggy’s Cottage.

Customers tend to linger — and talk.

“Irish people like to socialize,” Brian says. “You know ‘the craic’ —  that’s news, gossip, fun, entertainment, enjoyable conversation.” There’s plenty of the craic at Peggy’s Cottage.

And you know “the luck of the Irish”?

Westport is lucky too — to have Peggy’s Cottage right here in town.

Brian and Meg invite customers to put a pin in this map, to show where they’re from. The owners are happy to order anything direct from any county.

5 responses to “Peggy’s Cottage: A Long Way From Tipperary To Westport

  1. Barbara Sherburne, '67

    Sounds wonderful! Is there a website? Can you order things online?

  2. Robert Mitchell

    I believe you mean “crisps”, Dan.

  3. Alan Hodge

    My mother is from Kilsheelan, which is in a small town in County Tipperary (near Clonmel, which you see on the map), which makes me an Irish citizen too, I am happy to say. I spent time in my maternal grandmother’s cottage when I was a kid. The family names are O’Mahoney and Hennessy.

    It makes me very happy to see a little piece of Tipperary in Westport.

    The title of the book in the middle of the top shelf made me smile too. There is something special about Irish humor (spelt “humour”, over there by the way).

    And yes Robert, “crisps” is correct.

  4. woah, painful to see you refer to Ireland as part of the United Kingdom, maybe Northern Ireland is, but Ireland is definitely not.