A photo from the Donegal Democrat, when former telephonists at the Letterkenny exchange held their last reunion in 1997. Photo Brian McDaid
Former telephonists who worked in the exchange in Letterkenny hope to hold a reunion of former colleagues this June.
They want to get the word out to the telephonists who worked in the exchange in the Letterkenny Post Office in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
The reunion is being planned for Sunday, June 11th, at Castle Grove Country House Hotel in Letterkenny. The women are gauging interest now and would like to hear from anyone who would like to attend.
They held a reunion about 20 years ago that drew about 50 former colleagues to what is now the Mount Errigal Hotel in Letterkenny.
“We had quite a good day. It was nice to see everybody again,” Majella, one of the former Letterkenny telephonists behind the upcoming reunion, said. She said she ran into a friend recently who suggested, “Maybe it’s time we had another one”.
Majella said the busy Letterkenny office was the main exchange in the county, handling phone calls that came in from across Donegal to different parts of the county and country.
“Letterkenny was the head office for all the other suboffices in the county and it was a very busy office,” she said. “We had a lot of people from the west of Ireland there, from Roscommon – they were transferred from all over Ireland, really.”
Telephonists would connect the calls manually – the only automation at that time was found in Dublin and the larger cities. A caller would tell the telephonist where they were ringing, “and you had a little folder here and all the little codes you had to put in to get through,” Majella said. “It was extremely busy, extremely busy.”
The 24 hour service was staffed by women during the day though there were men telephonists who more often worked the overnight shift, she recalled.
Any former telephonists from the Letterkenny exchange who are interested in attending the reunion should contact 086 260 3144 or 086 067 8920.
“We thought we’d see how this goes and if we don’t get a response a few of us will go ourselves,” Majella said. “But we are hoping that people will see it.”