When Limavady hairdresser, Margaret McCloskey says family members are staying close to their roots she means it - literally.
Fifty years ago, a 16-year-old Margaret (née Donaghy) began her hairdressing career at number 19 Linenhall Street in the town under the tutelage of Elizabeth Gallagher.
Five decades on, and after countless hairstyle trends, those very same premises are back in business thanks to her daughter-in-law, Adele (née Mullan) who runs ‘Ti Amo Bridal’.
“It has come back to its roots,” says Margaret of the building. “It’s lovely to see it. I’m delighted because it’s very sentimental for me. I loved it here.”
Margaret’s hairdressing days on Linenhall Street were a far cry from the Limavady that people know today.
Traffic was two-way on Linenhall Street, Limavady was a bustling market town attracting farmers and their wives from all arts and parts, and the customers in the hairdressing salon were women only.
It has come back to its roots.Margaret McCloskey
“It was a lot different back then,” said Margaret, who worked at the Linenhall Street premises until 1970. “I remember the factory girls come in for pin curls, and we’d make the ribbons for their hair.”
After working from other premises in the town, Margaret set up her own salon, built by husband Seamus, at home on Roemill Road. In 1984, the family moved house and salon to Church Street, where ‘Margaret’s Hairdressing’ continues to thrive with loyal customers from as far away as Belfast booking appointments.
Over the years, Margaret said she employed at least 40 young trainee hairdressers from the area, and had customers from most parishes as “back then people would come to Limavady from Faughanvale and from Dungiven to get their hair done”.
“There weren’t as many hairdressers then as there are now,” says Margaret.
Stepping into the bridal showroom, Margaret says she is instantly taken back to her trainee days.
“I can still picture what it was like. It was a lot smaller, and I can still hear the hair dryers,” she says.
Today, the premises look a lot different than 50 years ago.
Adele has transformed the three-storey building into a bright and light filled space, with plush surroundings for soon-to-be brides making the big decision on the perfect dress for their big day. Couture bridal dresses by designers including Sassi Holford, Stephanie Allin and Jesus Peiro adorn copper-coloured rails with bunting dotted around the window frame. Private rooms upstairs are filled with evening gowns for bridesmaids, and another room especially for make-up applications. The classic grey-coloured shop front greeting customers is thanks to a scheme run by the former Limavady Borough Council.
“It really has come back to its roots,” says Adele. “I moved here five years ago, and it’s great. It’s lovely to see the building being brought back to life thanks to the shop front scheme. It has really brightened up a hole on Linenhall Street.”
Adele added: “A lot of people will come in and say they remember the shop as a hairdressers, and that’s lovely.”