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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Carlow c.1934

'Looking Back'

By Alec Burns

This article appeared in the 1987/88 edition of the CARLOVIANA magazine.

A recent donation to the Museum included a copy of a 1934 Calendar and Year Book of the Cathedral Parish. Looking through the advertising columns I was struck by the number of businesses, which have changed hands in the intervening years.

For instance, Duggan’s of Dublin Street had a Stationer’s shop at number 58 which sold everything in this category. The same business is carried on by Miss Hayes, their successor. At number 59 they had a large grocery store with a Wine and Spirit business at the rear. This was a great meeting place for the proprietor’s friends. Peter and Betty Gorman are the present owners. 

Pat Donohue had a Paint and Wallpaper Shop in No. 38 and also was a Painting Contractor employing several tradesmen during the season. There does not seem to be any business being carried on there now. Frank McAnally was a Chemist in No. 44 and carried on a very successful business. He sold it to F. Corless who continues to serve all the pharmaceutical needs of his many customers. Murray’s of Dublin St. prided themselves as the Premier Sweet Stores & Ice Cream Cafe. They had large stocks of high-class confectionery and a variety of cigarettes and cigars. They are one of the few original stores still trading in the town.

Mineral waters and Guinness

Maggie Bolger, 11 Brown St. is another of the few businesses remaining from that time. She and her successors carry on a busy Wine & Spirit Lounge for their many friends.

Corcoran & Co. have their usual banner headlines for their Mineral Waters and also for their bottling of Guinness Stout, Irish Ales, Bass & Co. Pale Ales. They advertised as Whiskey Bonders & Wine Importers.

Annie McWey was a Family Grocer, Wine & Spirit Merchant premises now occupied by the Leix Pharmacy. Her brother Thomas was a Corn & Wool Merchant in Haymarket. A machinery firm now occupies that site.

Mr. M. Byrne had a Wine & Spirit Store on the Quay opposite the Boat Club. The late P. Losty carried on the same business for many years. M. Shanahan has renovated and extended the premises and he trades under the name of ‘Amadeus’ with a very successful Disco Bar.

Sweep ticket shares from 1/-

Foley’s Lending Library & Stationery, Newsagency and Confectionery, was a great business house on the Bridge between Carlow and Graiguecullen. Irish Sweepstakes Tickets and Shares could be had from 1/- (one shilling!) upwards. The McDonald family carry on the same business now. Harte of Castle Hill had a Fruit, Sweets and Cigarette business. This house is now occupied by the Curran family. Francis Kirk had a Family Grocery, Tea, Wine & Spirit business in No. 44 Castle St. The same business is being carried on by the present owner, Mr. Griffin.

John Brennan had a Pawn broking, Leather & Shoe Business at No’s 1 & 2, Castle Street. Both businesses have died in the intervening years. Pawn broking was a great help for poor people in hard times. In those days people of modest means repaired all of their family footwear and No. 1 was a great source of leather and grindery.

There was a Pet Shop in these premises until recent times and Attic Conversions Co. are the new owners. Thomas Reddy was a Family Grocer & Provisions Merchant at No. 15, Castle St. Now in the possession of Mr. Cullen, it is a snooker-hall under the name ‘Casablanca’.

Jack Walsh and his sister had a High Class Machine Bakery, Confectionery and a Flour Meal & Barn_ Store at No’s 5 & 6, by William Dunny & Family who continue in the Bakery, Confectionery & Grocery business. John O’Neill was a Wine & Spirit Merchant at 9, Coal Market. It is sad to recall that the last member of his family died only recently. Jones Business Systems in Burrin Street is located where Annie Nolan had a Grocery, Confectionery and Provisions Shop.  The Carlow Cinema was located in Burrin Street on the site now occupied by the General Post Office.

Part of Kennedy Avenue was occupied by the Cinema also. Their advertisement said, “You are always sure to see the best pictures and enjoy them in absolute comfort”. Seats could be booked at No. 26, Tullow Street where the proprietor, Frank Slater, lived. He had a Fish Shop and Poultry Store there and “one was sure to obtain the very best quality by ordering in advance”. It is now an Amusement Arcade although the Meighan family from Graiguecullen had continued with the Fish Shop for many years.

T. Crotty & Sons have their Bakery & Confectionery where Frank ran a similar business for many years. Mrs. Crotty is the proprietor of “Creations”, a Ladies’ and Children’s’ Boutique at 125, Tullow St. where Mrs. James Walsh had a Grocery & Confectionery business.

Formerly the Swan Hotel

Miss Phelan had a Millinery Shop at 74, Burrin St and this was continued by Mrs. McDermott. It was taken over by M/S Gillespie who sold the premises to the Nationwide Building Society. Katherine McDonnell ran a Family Grocery & Wine Merchants business in Haymarket until taken over some years ago by Ewings. In time they transferred across the Market to Collier’s premises which was formerly the Swan Hotel. The new proprietor at McDonnell’s renamed it “The Crows Nest”

Mrs. Robert Gough carried on a Drapery, Millinery, Boot & Fancy Warehouse at 139, Tullow St. Her daughters sold the premises to George Good for his hardware business. Later he sold it to M/S Saxone for a Boot & Shoe store but he retained Gough’s shop for the sale of Paints and Wallpaper supplies. Next door at No. 138, M. J. Graham had a small Drapery for Ladies and Children, also Millinery and Haberdashery. Eilis O’Neill is the current proprietor of a successful Confectionery, Stationery, Cards and Souvenir business. Was Hosiery factory.

Michael Molloy had probably the largest store along with Haddens in Tullow Street. They stocked everything in the Drapery & Footwear departments and had an extensive Hosiery factory. The 5-Star Supermarket and Woolworth’s traded at this location until it was purchased by M/S McLoughlin who reconstructed the premises into the present shopping arcade of Tullow Street House. Gerald Donnelly ran a High Class Grocery, Wholesale & Retail, Wine & Spirit business at No's 8, 9 & 10 Tullow St. This area is occupied by Shaw’s Drapery Store and they took over the adjacent General Drapery Store once run by Youngs and later Browns. Foley Bros. of 112, Tullow St. were Family Grocers and Wine & Spirits Merchants. It was called “The Old House”. Aidan Lennon, the present owner carries on the Lounge Bar business Mary Walsh had a most successful Bakery & Confectionery in the adjacent premises for many years. It is now occupied by Celtic Cleaners. Across the road at No. 40, James Hickey had a High Class Grocery, Tea, Wine & Spirits business. The Carlow Bakery Co. succeeded him for several years until it reverted back to the Wine & Spirit business.

Lawlers of “The Plough”, Tullow St., had a High Class Victualling business along with their Family Grocery and Spirit Bar. Changes have taken place since the arrival of the Supermarket era. They now confine themselves to High Class lounges for Wine & Spirit.  Miss M. T. Kelly carries on a Newspaper, Confectionery, General Stationers & Fancy Goods Warehouse business. This was started by her grandparents in No’s 57 & 58, Tullow St. another of the oldest premises under the one family name in the street.

Miss Maher had a Family Grocer & Confectionery shop at No. 92. A plaque to the memory of Padraig Mac Gamhna is on the outside front wall. Charlie Byrne now occupies the premises.

Gerald Kehoe was close by in No. 101, now demolished. He sold Gramophones and Radios.  Tom Seeley had a Ladies’ & Gents’ Hairdressing Saloon at No. 50 across the road. A. Gannon now has a Meat & Bacon Shop there as previous owner Eugene Dooley did for many years.

Willie O’Neill & Sons had a large garage at No’s 55 & 56. He was an agent for leading makes of Bicycles and Motor Cars. Several shops occupy the space now including a Dry Cleaners and the Trustee Savings Bank.  John Foley had a General Goods & Haberdashery Store and a Confectionery at No. 66, Tullow St. His son carries on with a Pharmaceutical business.  Michael Doyle, The Shamrock, Tullow St. was in business as a Family Grocer & Spirit Merchant. He sold Coal, Timber, Slates and Hardware requirements also. The latter business is continued by his grandson in an enlarged and most successful venture.

Saddler and Harness Maker

George Branagan was a Saddler & Harness Maker at No. 150. Sadly, that trade seems to have died out. Frank Tully runs a Sports Shop at this location.  Helena B. Nolan advertised as a “Merchant” at Court Place. She had a Grocery, Wine & Spirit Business. “The Irishman’s” was its title and this is retained by her grandnephew, John Hargaden who runs a very successful Lounge Bar.  Annie Nolan had a Green- grocery & Confectionery business at No. 77, Tullow St. Depot” also. Sadly there is no business there at present.

Tynan’s Hotel, Tullow St. advertised that it was unbeatable for its excellent cuisine and extensive Grillroom. It was renowned for its large Ballroom, Lounge and Supper Rooms, the largest in South Leinster. M. J. Dease, the proprietor’s nephew, was the manager.  It was replaced by the Ritz Cinema. This building was in poor condition but is now being renovated.

Patrick Molloy had a Bakery & Provisions Shop at 137, Tullow St. It is now occupied by M/S Tully Travel Agents. Close by, P. Colgan had a Stationery and Fancy Goods Warehouse in No's 135 & 136 and was a branch of the Torch Library also. Allied Irish Finance now occupies No. 135. ‘TOP GEAR’ is at No. 136, which had been the residence of Gerald Kehoe who had a Radio & Television business there for many years.

Garage and service station

J. J. Wall had a Motor Garage and Service Station on the Kilkenny Road. This site was sold to the Texaco Oil Co. Several houses nearby were cleared by the Council many years ago.  The advertisement for Murphy’s at 2, 3 & 4, Tullow St. said, “Don’t fail to visit our House, it is noted for Value in every class of Drapery, Millinery & Piece Goods”. M/S Melville carries on the same business in the premises.  Miss Hoey of 28 & 29, Tullow St. was a Stationer & Newsagent. Catholic Prayer Books and Irish-made Rosary Beads were a speciality. A. O’Brien has a Jewellery business there now.

James McDermott carried on a Family Grocery, Wine & Spirit Merchants and his descendants are still in the same business another of the few families remaining at the same location over the years.  Brigid Kearney had a Flour Meal & Corn Stores in Coal Market. It is now occupied by Greg Fitzmaurice as a Bacon & Meat Store.  Mrs. King was a Grocer and Spirit Merchant at No. 27, Tullow St. Her son Jimmy years until retirement. Jim Fogarty was his successor and carries on the Wine & Spirit business.

J. J. Dunphy was a Builder & Contractor at 52, Tullow St. Sanitary Work was a Speciality. He also had a Wine & Spirit business. M/S Archbold now continue the Wine & Spirit business with a Lounge & Ballroom titled ‘El Ruedo’, mainly Disco Dancing.  “The Cafe”, No. 6, Tullow St., Proprietress - B. Dillon, was a Private Hotel, Restaurant and Soda Fountain with a Ladies’ Hairdressing Saloon attached. T. McDonald runs a Men’s Drapery Store now under the title of “Mac's.  Richard Byrne had a Motor & Cycle Works and Garage. He was also a Haulage Contractor at No. 80, Tullow St., now occupied by part of the L & N Stores and he had a Confectionery Shop at No. 39. Michael White, Pharmaceutical Chemist, is now the occupant.

“The talk of Carlow”

Tuomey’s Bacon is “the talk of Carlow” according to their advt., also their Teas & Grocery. “Denny’s” quality only stocked. Lennons Bar & Lounge now occupy the premises. They also have an Auctioneering business under the title, “Real Estate House”.  William Purcell & Sons, 86, Tullow St., were Ironmongers, Coach Builders & Undertakers. Sadly the premises closed on the death of the owner and have remained closed ever since.  Harry Mayer had a Motor Hackney business in 66, Tullow St. He was the husband of Bridie Hayden who had a very successful General Supply Shop for many years. The shop is now closed up.

“The Bishop Byrnes”

Patrick Byrne was a Tea, Wine & Spirit Merchant at no. 72. It was commonly known as “The Bishop Byrnes”. He also sold Delicious Teas. M/s. Caulfield continues the licence trade there now.  John McEvoy was a Wine and Spirit Merchant at No. 66, he also sold Groceries and “Limerick Bacon & Hams” at lowest prices, M/s. “Cee Gees” have a successful Lounge Bar there at present.  M/s. E. J. Nolan had a renowned Chemist Shop at the corner of Tullow St. and Dublin St. They had a large clientele and were also fully qualified Opticians. It was known as the “Arcade Pharmacy”. His son has an extensive photographic business supplying all amateur photographers needs there now.

Finally my own advertisement reveals the fact that Unisex Saloons are not an innovation of recent years. It states that I catered for both Ladies and Gents and that I held a Proficiency Certificate from the Gents Academy in London for my work, also that we were established in 1905. I retired from business last year for health reasons.


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