Thursday Doors – Danny Hughes, Blackrock

I’ve been a bit hit and miss with my posts lately and with getting out of the house to capture some new Thursday Doors but I still have a few beauties from my last trip to Blackrock that I’d like to share with you.


Danny Hughes & Son on Main Street in Blackrock is where my daughter bought her electric guitar. The shop is home to Beat It Music and sells vintage, second-hand and new musical instruments and equipment. It even has a music school on the first floor. In the past, it was a seaside shop, selling buckets and spades, tourist souvenirs, religious items and ice cream. My grandparents had a similar shop a few doors up, so it would have been sacrilege to buy an ice cream from him but I do remember buying a black plaited wig that I even wore to bed for a while, I loved it that much.

Danny Hughes was born in Armagh, Northern Ireland, in 1920, the eldest of seven children. His parents ran a fruit and veg shop but when his father died, Danny had to start work in his early teens to help support his younger siblings. When the family moved to another town, Danny followed in his father’s footsteps as a trader. He used to cross over the Cooley mountains to Dundalk with his horse and cart, selling his wares along the way. When the weather was too bad to return home, he slept alongside his horse in a stable in the town.

In time, the family moved close to Blackrock, where Danny opened his shop in 1949. He died in December 2014, at the ripe old age of 103, running the business with his son Conor up until a few years before he passed away. He was a man of many talents and was an accomplished musician, playing the accordion and fiddle. Along with being involved with showbands and céilí bands over the years he wrote a number of books and was well known as a story teller.

As you can see from the first image, the premises has two doors, one for the music store and the other leading to a treasure trove for lovers of anything vintage. The shop is as interesting on the outside as it is on the inside, with a fun piece of sculpture to attract your attention as you pass by. It’s always well worth crossing the street to see what’s on display in the window and I wasn’t disappointed this time, either.

Danny’s son Conor is very much like his father. His band, The Willin’ Fools, are fun loving and, judging by the video on their website, very entertaining. Conor’s charity, Crosscause, has done amazing work, from sending trucks of humanitarian aid to refugees in Calais in France to supporting orphanages in Eastern Europe. Not too far up the street from his father’s store, Conor has opened a shop to support Crosscause and I love spending time in there whenever I’m in Blackrock. Note the elephant’s head sculpture above the doorway.

At present, Crosscause is focusing on five projects in Ghana, including the setting up of an eye surgery clinic. Conor and his group of volunteers are always coming up with interesting ways to raise money for the charity and December 26th 2017 was no exception. He sat on top of a tower of pianos on the beach in Blackrock for his annual Stephen’s Day fundraiser.


Source 1: Visit Blackrock Village

Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog. If you would like to explore a worldwide selection of Thursday Doors, head on over to Norm’s blog and click the blue ‘frog’ at the bottom of his post.

Source 1: Visit Blackrock Village




About Jean Reinhardt

Author of 'A Pocket Full of Shells' an Amazon International best seller, Jean writes young adult and historical fiction. She has been known to shed a tear over Little House on the Prairie.
This entry was posted in entertainment, Ireland, Music, social issues, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Thursday Doors – Danny Hughes, Blackrock

  1. Jack Eason says:

    It sounds like Conor is a chip of the old block Jean. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan Antion says:

    Great doors and a fascinating story, Jean. I’m not a musician, but I could spend a serious amount of time behind the other door.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dimlamp says:

    I enjoyed this post, interesting story, well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Norm 2.0 says:

    Interesting story Jean. The family certainly seems to be well-entrenched into philanthropy both in and beyond their community.
    As for these shops, well vintage anything is enough to get me to stop and go take a look. I could probably spend a good part of an afternoon exploring both.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jesh stg says:

    Love to read about people like Danny Hughes who had a lot of talents and lived his life to the fullest! The last photo is phenomenal! Your story about Hughes and his son also make it so clear that aptitudes, talents, and certain personality characteristics run in the family. With that I can’t wait to see what kind of persons my grands will be when they have become adults!
    Totally off the subjects – how’s your life going? Have you returned to your new home?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the lovely comment, Jesh. I’m struggling to get myself back on track after my father passed away. I think it’s more the fact that I was with him and felt so helpless, even though he was in a hospital, I’m still going over the scene in my head and wondering if I could have done anything to help him. I guess it’s just part of the process of grieving. We’re well settled in our little house now and doing a bit every day. How is your art coming along? Has the winter been fruitful for you or do you slow down with your painting at that time of year?


      • jesh stg says:

        The grieving process was one of the areas I like to work with people.
        Give yourself at least 2-4 years, before you can think about him without the pain of the loss. Sorry, but you couldn’t have done anything – it was his time to go. The first half year is the hardest. Forgot if he and you have a faith in God?
        It helps some to go to the grave regularly and talk to him. Or, write him a letter(s), or compile stories about him that you love. Keep some momentos like a hat, keys, or other tangible things in view, till you don’t need it anymore close to you.
        Anything you want to ask me, please do. the more you process his death, the better!
        Am about to finish my third large painting, but I still need to think about it how to present it to people, because it’s a controversial subject. I wasn’t planning to paint anything in the studio before May, but events here in the States led me to paint it last month.


        • Thank you for such sound advice, Jesh. I have his photo as a screensaver on my phone and my sister shared a video of him with us that she took a few days before he died and I watch that from time to time. I also have one of his sweaters, that makes me feel close to him. I was wondering if it was a beneficial thing to do, giving in to sorrow but what you say about processing it makes sense. It’s like the loss and sadness is seeping out of me, slowly but surely, and I’m beginning to sleep better, now that I’m allowing myself to have a good cry when I feel the need to. Your latest work sounds fascinating. Can’t wait to see it.


  6. JT Twissel says:

    Holy Cow! What a guy. That pile of pianos – oh my!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. sjhigbee says:

    This is yet another wonderful quirky post, Jean – thank you so much for sharing:)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jack Eason says:

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    News from Jean’s part of the world…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. davidprosser says:

    What an interesting place to visit, sounds like the family have most of the shops on that street.
    Well done Conor with his charity work.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow! What an excellent post, Jean. There is so much!

    First this: “Danny Hughes & Son on Main Street in Blackrock is where my daughter bought her electric guitar.” For some reason I feel so much joy in this sentence. And then the wig follows, and the tree, the bathtub, the most excellent music, the elephant’s head, and – to top it off – raising money by sitting on a pile of pianos in the sea.

    And as I was writing this, listening to this song:, bestia raised his head from the sofa and did one solitary, accompanying hooouuuuuuwl, which he never does. 😀 I think he approves!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wonderful doors with a very serious and impressive side. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. prior.. says:

    cool doors and the vintage originals were artsy and fun – esp the tree folks…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. sydspix says:

    Loved hearing about the store owners, but I have to admit the last photo of the guy on the pianos was quite different! Interesting blog!

    Liked by 1 person

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