Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Carlow in Pictures
Looking Back at Tullow Street

Previously published in Carloviana Vol. 1 No. 1 December 1952.

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Looking Back at Tullow Street

By the Late Edwin Boake

Photo by Dermot O'Brien

STARTING at the Market Cross and proceeding up Tullow Street on the right-hand side as far as Barrack Street National School, crossing to the Shamrock and down the other side of the street, I will try to give you a picture of it as it was then, and you will see for yourself that 70 years has brought many changes. Very few business houses have the same family name over the shop-fronts. We can single out McDonnells (No. 7), and Hughes' Monumental Works.

No. 1, Tullow Street, was a Hotel run by a Mr. Ogle.

Murphy's Drapery Shop, formerly owned by Cullen, was being remodeled with plate-glass windows, the first in the town. The father of the late Thomas Murphy, Urban District Councillor, acquired Crib's Harness Shop to add to his premises.

Same Family

A Butcher's Stall occupied by James Herson is now in the name of the late George Douglas, whose uncle converted it into the present Jeweller's Shop. The late Dan McDonnell's Provision Shop has remained in the same family name for over 100 years.

John Hammond, Chairman of the Old Town Commissioners, and M.P. (1899-1906) for the Co. Carlow, owned what is now Gerald Donnelly's.

William Jackson, uncle of the late W. J. Jackson, of the Yellow Lion, was in possession of what is now Shaw's, and up to very recently Browne's. Joseph O'Brien had a Grocery and Bar—which passed on to Mansfield—later to Hosey, brother of Mrs., Doyle of the Shamrock, and then to Bolgers —now Corr's, Chemist's Shop.

On the coming of, Haddens to Carlow they acquired four houses, viz., Forde's Drapery Shop (2 houses), Sander's Leather Store, and John Hearns' Butcher's Shop, and later on O'Neill's Provision Store. Sanders was very deaf, and all customers had to write their orders on a slate.

O'Briens, Furniture Dealers, was owned by Fenlon, Painter, and Miss Foley's Library was occupied by Deegan.

Molloy's Drapery establishment was owned by the late Michael Molloy, an M.P. for the Co. Carlow from 1910-1918, who succeeded John Hammond as Chairman of the Urban Council. The old Scotch House, owned formerly by Henderson, who had such a large staff that they were able to have a Band on the premises, on the balcony of which they played in the summer evenings, was acquired by Molloys, i.e., the three display windows, and formerly Hosiery factory. They also took over a Provision Store (Molloy's first window) owned by a Quaker lady, a Miss Pew, who used to have little bowls of coins in the window with 2/6.'s, 2/-'s, l/-'s and 6d.'s.

Three Changes

What is now Meighan's was occupied by Mr. Oliver, grandfather of Jim Oliver, one of our members, before they settled in Dublin Street. It was taken down and re-built by the late Frank Slater.

Mrs. Lawlor, mother of Jim Lawlor in Early's, Solicitors, carried on a Licensed Business in what is now King's. A Michael Mcaney had a Pro­vision Store in what was up to recently Miss Hoey's Stationery. He was also Storekeeper in the Asylum. A curious coincidence this: that Miss Hoey's was purchased lately by Mr. O'Brien, present Storekeeper in the Mental Hospital.

Mr. Smyth, who had his private residence at Belgriffen, Athy Road, had what is now Poynton's Boot Store. They also had a branch in Kilkenny. Over the shop-door was a Wooden Boot, which was lifted one day by a clown from a circus and taken to the top of the town!

We now come to Finegan's, then owned by John Jackson, father of the late Willie Jackson of the Yellow Lion. The Guards Barracks was then occupied by the R.I.C. who had moved from Burren Street.

What was, the property of the late Nicholas Roche (now Darcy's) was formerly occupied by Cullen, a draper, who had two shops there.

The present Munster and Leinster Bank was the property of John Bolger, and later of Patrick Lawler, who carried on a bacon-curing business and also a Wine and Spirit Store.

The Dacent Man

Terence Byrne, Horse Dealer, owned the next premises. He entertained the Duke of Clarence when over playing Polo in the County Grounds at Tiny Park. A Miss McDarby had a sweet and top shop above this, and "The Dacent Man" Nolan occupied the next house.

William Evans lived above this and had the only Gun Shop in the town or county and had a certificate under the Arms Act. He had two sons—William, a bird fancier, and Thomas, who served 21 years in the Dragoon Guards, and on retiring took over his father's business.

Next, we come to Tom Doyle's Ball Alley where some famous matches" were played. (Among the better known exponents were Tommy Cleary and Darter Nolan). Mr. Doyle boasted he stood on the cross of St. Anne's Church—true it was, but when it was on the ground! Next in order was McDonald's Pawn Office in what is now O'Neill's Garage, and then Maher's Provision Store (now Kelly's). Where the Coliseum Cinema stands was Ryan's Turf Yard. Between the Cinema and Reddy's Hotel we have Lowry's, now Foley's. Lowry was the popular Rate Collector (Rates 2/- in £) and also a Member of the Town Commissioners. He bathed all the year round with Stanley Johnson, and he taught many of the boys to swim. Next came Reddy's Hotel and Hughes' Monumental Works (still in the same name), then the Licensed Premises of Reilly's—now McEvoy's.

The Shamrock

The National School in Barrack Street was built by Mr. Browne-Clayton in 1867.

Crossing the road to the Shamrock, this was the Town House of Mr. Fishbourne. The shop was built in front by Joseph Kinsella, who was succeeded by Patrick Doyle, and later by the present Kieran Doyle's grandfather. This is one of the most extensive premises in Carlow. having a large Saw Mills and Turf and Coal Yard. Next we had "the Palace" occupied by Patrick Byrne, known as "Bishop Byrne." Then Miss Ellis, who lived on her money, and next Ned Feeley, Top Turner, supplying all the spinning tops to the small boys. Then Connors, Dyer and Cleaner. He did a good business as Beaver and Bowler Hats were common in those days, but after a shower of rain the dye ran off. From constant work at dyes, Mr. Connors got very dark skin, and a story is told that when he got ill and went to the County Infirmary and was given a bath, he wasn't able to bear the loss of his "dye" so he "died."

Speed The Plough

Then we come to the Plough owned by John Whelan, with the sign still over the door, "God Speed the Plough." Mr. Whelan was an extensive Corn Buyer and his name is still to be seen over his stores in. Bridewell Lane, used until recently by the Barrow Milling Co., and formerly Carlow Gaol. He kept Stables and some very fine race horses.

At No. 72 lived Mr. Thomas Byrne who had four sons— P. J., who was Solicitor to the Board of Guardians, Board of Health and Urban Council; William, also a Solicitor, who had his office in Dublin Street, now Desmond Early's (P. J. had offices over Poynton's, and took over Willie's practice in Dublin Street on the latter's death); Edward was an Auctioneer, and Thomas carried on his father's business. Next came Ryan's Salt Store, followed by Jimmy Farrell's Hardware, which is now James Dempsey's. Doyles, the Saddlers, occupied where James Griffin is now. What is now Hanlon's was owned by Hanrahans, Cork Cutters. His son, Michael, who was executed in 1916, was a very enthusiastic Irish speaker. He studied the language and Street, he was taught Irish classes in the town. When the Workman's Club was formed in Brown Street he was responsible for the Bilingual name over the door: "Cumann na bfear oibre"—as well as "The Workman's Club."

Burke, Painter and Cabinetmaker, was where the Misses Maher now occupy. J. C. Lawler's Drapery Premises were occupied by Mark Purser's father, who carried on a Hardware Business.

With the building of the Presentation Convent Schools in 1899, several houses were taken in, including Kavanagh's Hardware and Thos. Keegan's Victualler Shops.

Crossing College Street, we have Delaney's, formerly owned by McDonald, whose premises had the title of "The Old House," but some bright hoys changed the H to M and ever after he was called "The Old Mouse."

What is now Walsh's Bakery was Johnny Gorman's, Carlow's oldest Borough Rate Collector, and next in order was Miss McAssey's, now Miss Gretta Hearns'. Crotty's bakery was situated where the Milk Depot is now. They supplied Barm loaves to the Castlecomer miners, and held that home-made bread would not keep down the mines. Then Thomas Hearns' was owned by "Saxty Brennan" who got his name from boasting that he would not marry a woman under saxty pounds.

Thomas Tuomey's was formerly the residence of Arthur Fitzmaurice of Kelvin Grove. The shop was built in front by Mr. Vaux, and in 1860 was taken over by W. H. Boake, father of the late Edwin Boake, who erected the clock over the door. He it was who owned No. 128 (the Vaux Bakery, which is now Slater's Bakery).

Doran's Hardware was then owned by two Misses Treacy, who had a Boot Shop; then came John Murphy who was the first Labour member of the Carlow Urban Council. What is now Timmon's was occupied by Peter Allen (Fishmonger), then came the Vaux Bakery mentioned above.

What is now the Ritz Cinema was occupied by Henry Birkett until 1836, when it was taken over by Matthew Tynan, grandfather of Mr. Paddy Tynan. They had a Hotel and Grocery and Provision Store.

Upper Tullow Street with Presentation Convent on the right and the sign for Smyths.
Both these splendid photos of Tullow Street c.1907came from the Facebook page of Tony Heaney

Upper Tullow Street with Presentation Convent on the r
ight and a lovely advert for McDonald Tea, Wines and Spirit.

Crossing Charlotte Street, the next two houses were the property of the Society of Friends, who had their Meeting House at the rear—these are McKechnies, and Corr's Hairdressing Saloon. The door to the Y.M.C.A. rooms was the entrance to the Quakers' quarters.

Colgans had two shops— Stationery and Bakery (now Gerald Kehoe's). The late Miss Walsh's stationery was Pat Molloy's Bakery.

Graham's is now occupied by William Hosey, Draper, and next comes Gough's.

W. P. Good's Hardware was occupied by Albert Morris.

Mrs. Doyle occupied Michael Clarke's, now Tully's. Lipton's was owned by William Jackson. Wood's China and Delph Stores was the Atlantic Stores, now in the possession of Mr. Evan McDonnell.

Dan McDonnell's Bakery was dowry's Bakery, and the Bon Bon was occupied by Peter Belton, Hardware Merchant. Grahams owned Ml. McDonnell's, and Brannigan's was occupied by the late Geo. Douglas's uncle, who then bought the house across 'the street.

Nolan's, Chemists, was the property of Spong, Seed Merchant; who lived in Rose-ville, Kilkenny Road, and had Nurseries and Gardens at Pembroke. He was generally known as "Field Marshal Spong."

Looking up the street, I can see Mike Mulhall putting out the street lamps, and I can hear the voice of Tim Harrington, Carlow's last Watchman, calling out "Past Twelve O’clock. All's Well."

 The Wrong Day

"The Nationalist and Leinster Times," which was moved from Dublin Street to their present premises in 1894, was occupied by the Hopkins Brothers, who also owned Hayden's. They were Coach Builders and had a big connection with the gentry, repairing and painting their carriages, wagonettes and side-cars. These were two old bachelors who lived strictly to rule, and it was their custom - to attend Killeshin Church every Sunday morning for Service, call at the Club House for lunch as guests of Henry Wilson and retire to bed early. On one particular Sunday evening, Mr. Browne-Clayton and family were walking to Service at St. Mary's, Carlow, and noticed Nicholas Hopkins taking down the shutters and displaying his wares outside the door as was his custom on week days. When asked what was wrong, Nicholas rubbed his eyes and said: ''Why! I am late. I heard the Convent bell ring a quarter of an hour ago." We wonder was it the effect of the lunch in the Club House! This story was" told to the late Mr. Boake by Nicholas himself.

 Potato Market

IN those days Potato Market was a regular entertainment centre with shows of one kind or another. In the winter evenings the caravans would be all lighted up with oil lamps - Waxworks, Menageries, Side Shows, Peep Shows, Punch-and-Judy, a large tent for half-hour entertainments, Hobby Horses, Swing Boats, etc. A show was only allowed one week at a time to let the next Show in. Among them were Sylvester Bros, and Purcell's Theatre. With the last exhibit here, an American "dentist" called Sequoi arrived in his beautifully decorated caravan. He had a band playing so that the cries of the patients would not be heard during extraction. He extracted the teeth free, but sold to each client a packet or more of Prairie Flour and Oil, which was supposed to cure rheumatism. Seemingly, he was successful himself in rubbing this on the patient—but at home it was useless. Now Pat Kerrigan, a dentist living in Montgomery Street, did not like this opposition, and so every evening mounted the steps in the Market, and with a pea-gun plied Sequoi with peas, and he was a very good shot. Shortly after, Sequoi departed.

Paddy Ginnane, News Editor of "The Nationalist and Leinster Times," gives some aspects of life

In Town To-day

A WORD about the present may seem odd in an O.C.S. Journal, but perhaps it will merit inclusion to keep the record straight.

In entertainment taste has drifted to the neon lights of the cinema, but although the film habit has become almost as contagious as the tobacco habit, self effort still wins a place in public favour. Take the example of the Carlow Little Theatre, developed from a group meeting uncertainly in rented rooms to a Society which to-day owns its premises and which can ask Ria Mooney, Director of our National Abbey Theatre, to advise on full-length productions. The heights on which the Society has carved a stout foothold were once distances almost beyond its ken, but a plucky challenge to chance all on one throw, and balance the future against the purchase of a Browne Street tenement— since re-decorated and re­constructed by the brain and brawn of domestic labour—has put the Little Theatre on a footing enjoyed by no other Carlow Society.

All of which emphasises the town's greatest blemish. Various groups and organizations have enumerated reasons why Carlow should emulate Bagenalstown in providing a communal building such as the McGrath Memorial Hall, with a spacious and heated central theatre for plays and civic meetings, flanked by smaller rooms for Committee debates and other uses. So far, however, the arguments have spurred no concerted or practical effort to meet the problem. The Urban Council has talked of redesigning the Town Hall ballroom, centre of colourful gatherings in the more chivalrous days of Fire Brigade Balls and Masquerades, but of late degenerated into a drab parade room for our F.C.A., the civilian soldiers being apparently expected to bear zero temperatures uncomplainingly.

The appearance of the Arts Council has created new interest in the question of a home for Carlow Societies. The Arts Council, founded in April, 1952, is responsible to the Urban Council, which administers the audited fund of accumulated rent from property given to Carlow by G. B. Shaw. This gift, besides adding a new Act to the Statute Book, set a puzzle in that Shaw included a condition that the money was to aid no project which would relieve the rates. The difficulties solved, the Arts Council is to-day functioning realistically as the guardian of the Arts in Carlow.

It is worth recording that these several developments have been accompanied by an appreciation of post-primary education, and University courses in Political, Social and Economic Science are being conducted at the Technical School by experts in these departments.

In four years, too, Carlovians have noted with natural pride the revival of the Show Society with its annual Show at Browne's Hill. This Society stems directly from the Muintir na Tire Parish Council, formed in 1948 after Rural Week at Knockbeg College.

There are many other thriving Societies, movements and organizations, sports, swimming, hurling and football clubs, while the Carlow Rowing Club of past years' fame got a fresh start this season when some of the younger men began training for outrigger rowing.

The post-war period has been significant for a flurry of building activity which has changed the face of the town. At Pollerton 44 houses were handed over to new occupiers by the Urban Council in 1950. The completion of this scheme marked the beginning of another on the same site, where the first of 156 houses have already been finished. Nor is Graiguecullen being neglected. Preliminary arrangements are ready to build there a satellite village of more than one hundred good homes under a plan which opposes drab rows of houses and weary lines of cement roads, and allows considerable space to green openings, and a park. The whole will be set off against the background of an obelisk, and the Croppies' Grave will be decently improved.

Source: Michael Purcell c2008


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