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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Bridge Street c.1940

Source: Friends and Neighbours 1986 & Michael Purcell c2008

Bridge Street

Bridge Street map c.1900

Bridge Street runs from Staplestown Road to Pollerton Road and the eleven houses which comprised it were all on one side i.e. Railway Line side. Like Accommodation Road, they too are long gone. The houses were owned by Mrs. Belton, Montgomery Street.

A dancing board was the centre of entertainment in the mid twenties on the "Square" opposite the houses, the music being supplied mostly by Belgian and Czech workers engaged in building the Sugar Factory and later by Dick Cummins and Hannah Redmond, Pollerton Road, who played melodians and by Molly Kenny who lived at Pollerton Bridge and who played this instrument left handed, i.e. upside down.

In later years, the Square was a great "Tossing School" particularly on Sunday mornings, attracting good crowds of on-lookers as well as participants, with quite large sums of money on the ground at times.

The story is told that Jim (Acres) Kavanagh who lived opposite (now at New Oak Estate) would get a stentorian call "Your dinner is ready" invariably when Jim was ahead and while suspicions were aroused that he somehow managed to give a signal at the appropriate time to be called; the most careful scrutiny failed to confirm the suspicion.

At the time of going to press a commitment has been given to infill Bridge Street with limited accommodation dwellings to be built in the future by Carlow U.D.C.

No. 1 or 11, etc.: was occupied by Mick (Cookie) and Margie Muldowney, who had a small corner shop and sold large blocks of salt. After being vacant for some time, by Denis Dempsey, Mrs. Dempsey's employee, who lived at J.K.L. Mrs. Dempsey now lives at Burrin View.

No. 2: Brennanís. Kate was mother of Slan, who lived at Pollerton Bridge. His sister, Mary Ann, was a dressmaker, while Nell, who worked for many years in France and England died only recently at The Sacred Heart Home. Her mother Kate was gran-aunt of Rev. Fr. Paul Fitzpatrick, McGamhna Road.

No. 3: The Chapman Family. Mary, the last of the family, married Johnny Keeffe, who served in the British Army in India. Four of six children worked in the Boot Factory. They moved to Upper Pollerton Road and eventually went to England where Sonny and Mary died.

No. 4: Ml. Hanlon lived here and then the Cunningham family. The girls Bridie and Peggy worked in the Boot Factory, son Michael went to England at a young age, the family eventually following.

No. 5: Margaret Bohanna, who was married twice, was mother of Nancy, who lives in New Oak and also mother of Greta Kavanagh, grandmother of Jim (Acres) Kavanagh (now at New Oak). Following the deaths of Stephen and Margaret Bohanna, the house was taken over by Mary and Kate Kavanagh. The latter married Tom Ellis, moving to O'Hanrahan Ave., and later to England. Mary, still at Bridge Street was well known for her work in the fields and was better known for her gambling pluck against any man on the Square on a Sunday morning.

No. 6: The Butler Brothers were an extremely quiet family. They had one sister Maggie, who died in England. Ger married Gret Kavanagh and lived in Staplestown Road. Tom and Mick returned home from England to live with brother (Slim), who worked all his life for farmers and died in a field pulling beet.

Ellen Curran, the last person to leave Bridge StreetNo. 7: The Curran Family lived here. Son, Dick played for The Shamrocks. Daughter Lizzie lives in Castledermot. This was the last house to be inhabited and daughter Ellen then moved to Pollerton Road where her house was sadly destroyed by fire last year and Ellen now lives at Askea Lawns.





No. 8: Occupied by Phil Storey, Sacristan for many years at our Cathedral and regarded by most as a saint and the real Parish Priest. See plaque to his memory in The Cathedral. Then (1944) by Mick "Frainey" Reddy who was married to Angela Kelly, Bridewell Lane, whose grand-uncle was Jack Robinson, a postman who owned Emily Cottage and reputedly gave rise to the saying "as quick as Jack Robinson". Mick Reddy, reared where Hegarty's Supermarket stands, then moved the short distance up the road to "Old Grange House" (Townsland). The family owning considerable land along both sides of the Tullow Road. Frainey and his brothers, Lar, Jimmy (Trough) and Paddy were All-Ireland class cyclists, Paddy receiving The Hall of Fame 1982 and produced with Pollerton Road's photographer Leo O'Brien the wonderful booklet on Co. Carlow, while Ger worked on the land. Sister Kathleen married Jim Horan. Mick died, R.I.P., suddenly in 1985 aged 72 years and we all lost a piece of old Carlow. His daughters, Jean at home still (Tullow Road), Marie (Mrs. Rock), Springfield Drive; Annette (Mrs Moran), Talbot Tee.; Cecilia (Mrs. Sean Casey), of Erins and Carlow Hurling fame, Muinebeag; Deirdre (Mrs. Hutchinson), Oakley Park; sons, Michael lives at "Harveys", Pollerton Road; Paudge, the eldest, a prominent trade union official, Pinewood Ave., and Matt is married to Francis O'Brien, sister of the late Jim O'Brien. Matt is a former Eire Og player and currently Vice-Chairman of the O'Hanrahans Club and has sons Glenn, Gavin and daughters Sorcha, Emma and Dawn.

No. 9: Christy Bryan married to Josephine, a Dublin woman and father of Paddy (Mut) and of Mrs. Nan Trodden (Pairc Mhuire).

No. 10: Occupied by an elderly Patsy McDarby, who was regarded as harmless and who used "Give out a lot" to the goundsill growing out of his chimney! Also the Bergin Family, Dan being valet to the Bishop. Nollaigh was a famous son, Jackie lived in America for many years. Mick is married and living on the Blackbog Road.

While Mary, who married Jack Carroll, St. Killian's Crescent, a fitter/sugar cook at the factory, emigrated to England and U.S.A. Jack qualified as an engineer and was in complete charge of a sugar refinery in South Africa.

No. 11: Next came the Clarke family, Mick was a male nurse at St. Dympna's Hospital. Sons, Tommy (P & T) is very involved in researching Carlow's past and John who still lives at the family home, St. Killians Cres. Daughter, Peg the eldest, married M. Corcoran and lives at Mt. Leinster Park. No. 11 carried the highest rateable valuation in the street 1951-'52.

Starting School
By Nan Shaw
And now that I've reached the age of 4
I'm starting school today
I've to tell my little pals I can't go out to play
I don't know what I'm going to be
My mind is all a mixture
Oh I'm always breaking daddy's things
So maybe Til be a fixer
Or maybe Til be a postman or drive a great big van
But anyway Til do the best I can and learn to be a man
And then maybe God will give me the best job of all
And I'll be ready to answer his call
And go out to his mission fields and look after the black babies with the wobbly knees
Oh I better go now or I'll be late
Gary and Angela are waiting at the gate
'Cause there's other fellas you see starting off today like me
I better hurry now and grab a stool
O mammy I wish I was finished school.

Source: Friends and Neighbours by James O'Brien 1986 & Michael Purcell c2008

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