Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Corcoran’s and Governey’s  
Two firms long associated with Carlow town


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This item was published in the Carloviana Vol. 1. No 4. New Series. Dec. 1955. p.18.

Corcoran’s and Governey’s

 Two firms long associated with Carlow town

Corcoran’s Mineral Water Factory was founded in 1827 by Mr. Corcoran, who had nine children. Seven were swept off during an epidemic: of scarlatina. Of the survivors one became a. Vincentian priest, and his sister married the late Mr. Michael Governey.

The modern mineral water factory was then an unpretentious house {the present grocery shop) amongst another of others with their gardens cluttered by hen-houses and pigsties, huddled around the base of the Castle.


The place had rather an unsavoury reputation to, as the lane to the river “Skinners Lane” who used at least one notorious character, to wit, “The Black Huxter.

Carlow’s first Gas Works was also down in this area. In the garden of Mr. Corcoran’s house there was a large chestnut tree and two spring wells supplied, and still do, the water for the minerals. These were manufactured under the spreading branches of the chestnut tree.

As the houses in the adjoining area became vacant, they were purchased, and bit by bit the present fine factory emerged.


The original home of Mr. Corcoran was re-constructed and raised; old members of the firm say the stones came from Sletty. This three-story building is now the grocery and spirit store with private apartments above it.

The adjoining house, now used as Offices, was formerly the home of the Misses Kelly, whose people had long been engaged in the corn-buying business.

These ladies were highly cultured and much travelled; one of them wrote an entertaining novel with Carlow, Killeshin and Clogrennane as its principal background. They went to live in Tramore, and the last of them died there about fifteen years ago.


It would only be right to mention Mr. James Horohan, who surely holds a record for long service in the one employment. He has been sixty-nine years in the Mineral Water Factory and is still at work. Michael Farrell is another man who has had a long association with it. Pat Griffin (R.I.P.) of Staplestown Road was one of the earliest employees, and the late Mr. Michael Penter of Graiguecullen was there for very many years. There are numerous others, of course, who deserve honourable mentions.


In the first years of the century, Mr. Governey attended an Exhibition in Cork City. Anxious to create more industry in Carlow, he conceived the idea of a Boot Factory.

He came back full of enthusiasm for his project, and a site being available a few yards from his Mineral Water Factory, Governey’s Boot Factory was opened in 1903. Two English men, Messrs Dodge Brothers, were engaged to teach the craft to the workers, and before long the new factory was sending its wares all over the country and achieving a reputation for quality and durability. Production was at first confined to strong boots for farmworkers and country ware, but when Mr. Samuel Bassford, another Englishman. came as Manager, he extended the plant to produce lighter qualities.

Mr. Governey took a prominent part in local affairs. When the Poor Clares came to Carlow and took up their residences in what is now Miss. Foley’s on the Bridge, the first Mother Abbess has left it on record in her diary that Mrs. Governey (nee Corcoran) was their first visitor and she did not come empty handed.

Mr Governey later purchased and presented to them the site of their present Convent and the adjoining ground where St. Clare’s Church now stands.

In 1912 Mr. Governey reorganised the local Fire Brigade, putting Mr. John Sweeney, who was working in the Boot Factory, in charge. The Brigade was then jointly composed of Mr. Governey’s employees and those of Messer’s. Shackleton’s Mills.

 Source: Carloviana Vol. 1 =. No 4. Dec. 1955.

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