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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Potato Market c.1940

Source: Friends and Neighbours 1986 & Michael Purcell c2008

One of the first truck bodies to leave Thompsons.
Photo includes the Haggard on the left and Potato Market in the background.
Liberty Tree at the junction of Potato Market and Kennedy Avenue. St. Marys Church spire in the background and Bridewell Lane. Potato Market is on the right looking up towards Tullow Street.
Source: Carlow Main Drainage Project Website

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

Potato Market from the air.
Source: Dermot O'Brien

Moore's Garage
Source: Carlow: Roll back in time with Carlow Libraries carlowcountylibrary
Potato Market map c.1900

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 Barrack Street.

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 from here.

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, Cobblers.

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 Green Lane.

No. 8: Paddy Curran. Paddy, single, worked as a fitter in Thompson's, and later went to England.

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 Thompson's.

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 Theatre etc.

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.

Others 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 mention.

 While every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the details in this booklet, the publishers cannot guarantee that they are correct in every respect. Any errors or omissions are inadvertent and we trust that readers will appreciate the efforts of all concerned in compiling and publishing this history.

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