I wonder can anyone can identify what High-Wire event is
recorded in this picture. I took the picture in the early 1970s
at Potato Market in Carlow. The picture was taken adjacent to
Cockpit Lane. In the background we can see Carlow Cathedral,
Moore's Garage, the Garda Barracks with some of the onlookers
sitting on the building which housed the Public Toilets ?.
Source: Michael Purcell c.2013
Potato Market from
- Potato Market map
Potato Market has always had
an air of activity about it. For many years up to the 30s, it
was the place where farmers brought potatoes to be weighed in
the Ouncil House and later sold. The Ouncil House stood in the
centre of the Market. At this time butter was sold in the
Buttermarket, (now the Town Hall car park), hay in Haymarket and
coal in Coalmarket. In later years an open air livestock market
was held regularly in Potato Market, Upper Tullow Street and
Election rallies were held in
Potato Market and large crowds gathered to listen to speakers,
who used the steps at Wyles' house as their platform. De Valera
was just one of the famous men to address the people of Carlow
Many readers will remember the
various businesses which have come and gone over the years
including Sam Moore's Garage, The Blade Factory and Wyles',
Taylor's, whose house was later occupied by Fitzpatrick's,
During the 1940s Potato Market
had eleven houses on one side, which included a forge at the
back of No. 7 and on the other side one house, occupied by the
Finnegan family. The open space of Potato Market was a great
attraction for all the children from the area and they gathered
here to play football and many other games. Pitch 'n' toss being
popular among the older age group.
Already well documented in the
massacre which took place in Carlow in 1798, it was at Askea
Bridge, Staplestown Road on May 24 that the rebel forces led by
Mick Hayden first sighted Major Browne's troops. The troops
retreated to their Barracks, but later sprang the trap which
caused the deaths of 640 Irishmen in Tullow Street and Potato
Market, when more than 150 houses were burnt.
No. 1: Dan Byrne married Lily
Cork from Potato Market and they had three children. Maura
married Martin Farrell, a well known Graigue footballer, and
went to England, Sean married in England. Seamie married Nancy
O'Brien and lives in J.K.L.
No. 2: Mr. and Mrs. Michael
Doyle were next. Michael spent most of his working life with the Boot
Factory. He later worked in Corcoran's. Michael was a founder of
'Bob's Your Uncle' and received a special award from the Pope
for dedication to raising church funds.
No. 3: Ned Byrne was a
carpenter in the Mill, he was married to Lizzie Murphy, Blackbog
Road. They had two children, Helen 'Lanie', single, who lives in
Potato Market and works in the Ard Ri Cleaners, Tullow Street,
and her sister, Molly who married Paddy Leahy.
No. 4: Katie and Jimmy Young
were next. Jimmy was in the British Army. They had four
children, Alec, Francis, Robin and Jimmy, all of whom went to
England. Robin is now retired from the British Army.
No. 5: Mary and Tom Little,
Mary (Simpson) was originally from Dublin. Tom worked in the
Nationalist Office and was very involved with O'Hanrahans for
many years (being a former member). He was a great musician and
a founder member of the Workman's Club where he started a brass
band and drama class. Mary and Tom had twelve children: Tom
married Margaret 'Pearly' Hayes from Manchester; Tom was a
fitter in the Sugar Factory — they lived at Montgomery Street;
Mary was a school teacher in Shillelagh — she married Euston
Gale and they live in Dublin; Jean, single, was a dressmaker and
lived here; Rose was a book-keeper in McDonnell's pub and
grocery (Dublin Street) — she married Tom Butler and lived in
Bagenalstown. Peg had a dressmaking business here with Jean.
Josie became a nun and went to Africa. Christina and Nora died
young. Paddy worked as a printer in Kilkenny and married Josie
Kavanagh. Esther was a bookkeeper, she married Jack O'Mahony and
they are living in Thurles. Frances married Ed. McGarry and they
live in Tullamore. Frances had previously worked for Slater's.
Lazarian married Emily English from Barrack St. Laz worked in
the Sugar Factory and they now live on the Athy Road.
No. 6: The Lynch family were
next. Mrs. Lynch was from Dublin and she ran a second-hand
furniture shop here. Her assistant was Sonny Devine who lived in
the Mill. The son John, lives in Dublin.
No. 7: Jim Murphy married Jane
Hennessy from Graiguecullen. Jim, originally from Wexford, had a
forge at the back of his house. They had nine children. Bill,
single, went to England, John went to America aged 17. May,
single, worked in Kilkenny, Paddy married Carmel Brooks from 112
Staplestown Road — he worked in the Sugar Factory as did Barney,
single. Tom married Josie Doyle from Bray where they now live
and have an Amusement Arcade. Lily (Mrs. Southwark) lives in
England. Fanny married Frank O'Brien from Carrick-on-Suir.
Martin married Magaret Keating from Castle Hill. Margaret and
Martin, who is now retired from the Sugar Factory, now live in
No. 8: Paddy Curran. Paddy,
single, worked as a fitter in Thompson's, and later went to
No. 9: Sisters Polly and Mary
Francis lived here.
No. 10: Pat 'Deegan' Haughney
and his wife Mary (nee Moore) were next. Pat was in the Military
Police. They had six children. Edward (also known as Deegan)
worked in the Blade Factory before going to England. Tommy died
aged 18. Josie married Paddy Farrell from Graigue, and now lives
in Granby Row. Paddy married Josephine (Joey) Mason from
Staplestown Road. They went to England and now live in
Australia. Mick worked in the lime works in Raheen. He was
married to Lily McDonald, Raheen. Alice (Mick's twin) was better
known as Queenie. She was married to Michael Nolan from Graigue-cullen,
and they lived on Staplestown Road. Michael worked in
No. 11: Ned Haughney from
Graiguecullen married Maisie Murray from Bridewell Lane. Ned
played football for Graiguecullen and both Ned and Maisie worked
in the Boot Factory. Their son Martin Oliver married Kathleen
Mooney. Martin worked in Thompson's at one time and is now in
the coal yard at Pollerton Road with his father. Martin came
first in the All-Ireland Youth Pole Vaulting.
On the opposite side was
Finnegan's. Patrick Finnegan married Annie Ward and they ran a
bar and grocery here. Their children are Frances, Desmond, a
Christian Brother in Buenos Aires, Garten married June
Harrington (Co. Kilkenny) and is Assistant Manager of C.I.E.,
Dublin. Noel is married and living in England. He works for
British Telecom. The business is now carried on by Frances and
her husband Sean O'Shea.
Source: Friends and
Neighbours 1986 & Michael Purcell c2008
Potato Market c 1968.
- I believe the car is an Austin.
- (Photo W. Muldowney)
POTATO MARKET In days gone by all types of
entertainment was provided in this part of the town.
Caravans lit up with oil lamps would display Punch & Judy
shows, Waxworks, Menageries, Sylvester Bros and Purcells
Edwin Boake recalled a story of a travelling
'American Dentist' named Sequoi, who set up business in a
beautifully decorated caravan. he would have music playing
so the customers would not hear the cries of his patients.
He extracted teeth free of charge but each customer had to
buy a packet of Prairie flower and oil mixture which was
good for 'the pains'.
Pat Kerrigan, a dentist living in
Montgomery Street did not like this kind of opposition and
ran Sequoi out of town with a pea-gun.
Potato Market was
also the scene of many Political meetings. We are very
fortunate to have a well preserved movie film of John
Dillon, M.P. addressing a Home Rule rally in 1913.
who spoke have down through the years included W.T.
Cosgrave, Big Jim Larkin, Sean Lemass and 'Dev', (Eamon de
Valera). It is recalled that for Dev's meeting the crowd
filled Potato Market and extended up as far as Lennons
Corner. Potato Market was also where Thomas Little lived -
Bandmaster, founder, organiser, chairman, secretary and
member of various clubs and organisations too numerous to