Irish barber shops seem to have gone through a major transformation since my grandfather first put me sitting on a wooden plank ahead of a ‘short back and sides’.
Styles have certainly moved on and so too has the training behind the trade, as Martin Egan told me recently.
“I trained with my uncle in his barber shop in Northampton but there was never any doubt that I would make the move back to Roscommon,” he said.
Martin’s love for his local community is evident everywhere in his newly-refurbished premises. The Roadside Barbers walls have recently been given a fresh coat of paint: Primrose and Blue, to match the Roscommon flags in the windows.
Like all good barbers, Martin has his finger on the local pulse and is eager to give back to the community which has supported him for the last five years. He regularly sponsors local charity events, including Childaid Cycles and the Ronan McCormack Cycle. Roadside Barbers also played a big role in a fundraising day for Temple Street Children’s Hospital which netted that worthy cause €18,000.
The support for local causes doesn't stop there, however. Martin has also sponsored local sports clubs including Roscommon Raiders Basketball. The ‘Roadside’ logo currently adorns St. Ciaran’s GAA Club’s U-16 jerseys.
“I’ve always felt it’s important that I give back to the community. I’d always do my best to support local causes and clubs. I’m delighted to be able to sponsor St. Ciaran’s, and have the jersey up on the wall,” Martin said.
The St. Ciaran’s jersey certainly fits in with the colour scheme and is given pride of place next to a signed Roscommon jersey.
Five years in any business is an impressive achievement these days, especially in an industry where customer satisfaction is paramount. Martin says his apprenticeship didn't start and finish in his uncle’s shop in Northampton.
“I was working in Roscommon for a number of years and during this time I also completed Knights barber’s course in St. Stephen’s Green. I’m trained in hot towel shaving and grooming too,” he said.
Knights barbers have featured on national TV and radio and the establishment is renowned for its efforts in bringing back traditional barber shop services such as the hot towel shave. Appointments for hot towel shaves can be arranged with Martin over the phone.
Martin is always looking at new ways to innovate and has welcomed an All Star barber from American Crew, who provided in house training. American Crew is a company which specialises in the top class styling products Martin uses in his barber shop.
The highly trained owner isn’t alone in his shop; staff member Muhammad Awais, who is also well trained in the art of modern barbering, works next to him.
“Muhammad has been a valued member of staff since March. He has been working as a barber for the last four years after training in Dublin. He’s worked throughout the country and it’s great to have a talented barber working beside me,” said Martin.
It’s obvious that Roadside Barbers is in very capable hands then as it celebrates five years in business on Goff Street in Roscommon Town.