Search billions of records on

Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Royal Oak

Co Carlow

Royal Oak Village, Carlow

According to Samuel Lewis', A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837) ROYAL OAK, is a village, in the parish of KILLINANE, barony of IDRONE WEST, county of CARLOW, and province of LEINSTER, 1 mile (S. W.) from Bagnalstown, on the road from Dublin to Carlow; containing 82 houses and 428 inhabitants. This place is situated on the river Barrow, which is here crossed by a bridge, and derives its name from that of an old and well-known inn in its vicinity, which was established previously to the erection of the village.

Royal Oak is situated close to Bagenalstown and was originally an inn at the junction of two roads. The traveller going south could take the left fork to Goresbridge, Graiguenamanagh and to County Wexford or the right fork to Kilkenny and Munster.

The Royal Oak Tavern

Matty Byrne - Ted Mc Cormac - (and his 2 friends)

Another great feature of Bagenalstown  in The Royal Oak Tavern, a pub steeped in history. As far back as 1812 there are references to the pub in a book on an archaeologist study of limestone areas in Ireland. Now owned by Matty Byrne, of course the locals just call it Matty's

William Fitzpatrick was born in 1879 and died in 1935. We are not sure how he got to own the pub but what we do know is that he was a carpenter by trade and he used the hotel across the road as his workplace. He was evicted from his home in Heath, Currenree (a local area). As far as we know he was an alcoholic and when he died the pub was left to Mary Brennan in 1904. She cleaned the place up a little and did a good trade. Then she married, in 1912, a man called Thomas Byrne.

A couple of Maxol pumps in Royal Oak opposite the Royal Oak Tavern.

A couple of Maxol pumps in Royal Oak opposite the Royal Oak Tavern.

Royal Oak Tavern

He was born in what was then known as Kings Street in Kilkenny, and grew up was in an area called Frynes town, and owned a small piece of land in that area. This land was sold in 1927/8. There are also two petrol pumps across the road from the pub, which were put into operation in 1931, which sold petrol at 8 pence a gallon.

Me ma and gang in the late 1950's!
This was serviced by a petrol company called MEX. A man called Mc. Mullen founded this company in 1894.
He started off selling oil from door to door. Harry Ewing, a rep for MEX, looked after this our petrol station in the Royal Oak.

William Fitzpatrick was born in 1879 - 1935. He was a carpenter by trade and acquired the pub during his life. When he passed away it was left to Mary Brennan in 1904. She cleaned the place up a little and did a good trade. Then she married, in 1912, a man called Thomas Byrne. And it has been owned by Byrne's ever since!

There was also a hotel built in 1740 just across from the current pub, which was knocked in 1974. This was then owned by Thomas Byrne (Matty's Father),and used to serve as a coach stop (Run by a man called Bianconi, who was a stowaway on a ship bound for Ireland, and later made his fortune with his coach service. He Retired in Co.Clare) , to feed and rest horses. (see note below)

Also a man called William Makepiece Tackery, a writer slept at the hotel as did Daniel O'Connell (around 1800).

True story or not? The Royal Oak got its name when King James hid in a tree there. There was also a school and town hall here in the Royal Oak village.

The Hotel and the petrol pumps.


Clonmel was the starting point for Bianconi's coach business which began from Hearn's hotel in 1815 and soon became the most successful coach business in Ireland. Annual celebrations to commemorate Bianconi's achievements take place on Clonmel's streets every July 6th.

If you want to read more about the history of The Royal Oak and view some great images then you can visit Matty's web site at

Source: Matty Byrne

[ MORE IMAGES  [ Bagenalstown 1846 ] [ Presentation Convent ] KILLOUGHTERNANE SCHOOL ] [ St. Andrews Church ]

 [ St. Brigid's National School ] [ ROYAL OAK ] [ THOM'S  BAGENALSTOWN 1884 ]

Website Link: Parish of Bagenalstown

The information contained in these pages is provided solely for the purpose of sharing with others researching their ancestors in Ireland.
2001 Ireland Genealogy Projects, IGP TM By Pre-emptive Copyright - All rights reserved