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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Printing in Carlow

Vintage Festival Souvenir 1969


Carlow Nationalist

The Nationalist & Lenister Times office in Tullow Street
Source: Dermot O'Brien

Vintage Festival Souvenir 1969

Carlow Newspapers

It is not known exactly when the printing press was established in this town, but from a copy of "Kinnier's Carlow Journal or Leinster Chronicle" for Saturday, 27th March, 1784 which is numbered Vol. xiv, No. 13 (National Library) it can be reckoned, allowing for one number per week, that it was first published in 1770. It was published by William Kinnier from an office in Dublin St., and continued until his death in 1786. Around 1782 we find reference to the "Carlow Evening Post" of which there is no known copy in existence.

The next paper, of which a copy is known to exist (National Library), is the "Carlow Mercury or Leinster Advertiser". This copy, being Vol. 1, No. 7,- from-Saturday,-October 25 to Wednesday, October 29 (bi-weekly) is not dated, but frequent reference is made to the year 1788 in that issue. Reference has also been found to the "Carlow Mercury" printed by Eustace in 1789.

Towards the close of the 18th century the "Carlow Morning Post" was founded and has its first office in Castle Street. In 1818 it moved to Dublin St. ("within two doors of the new meat market"), i.e. 55 Dublin Street, at present occupied by Messrs Robinson, Jewellers.

This paper was published twice weekly on Tuesday and Thursday and its news items consisted mainly of extracts from London daily papers. It ceased publication about 1835. The proprietor was a Mr. Price.

The "Carlow Sentinel'' commenced publication about 1831 and continued until 1919. Its first proprietor was a Mr. Henry Malcomson, who published the paper at an office in Tullow St. It was then removed to Dublin St., and then to Court Place under the ownership of Mr. T. H. Carroll and he was succeeded by Mr. George Langran, who controlled the paper until it ceased publication. It was the conservative organ of the county.

Other papers of this period, to which references are to be found, or copies are known to exist include: "The Carlow Packet"  - William Moore, 1790s; "The Carlow Standard"  - 1832, at Burrin Street; "The Leinster Reformer"  -  October 12th, 1839 to July 17th, 1841 at 130 Tullow Street; "The Leinster Independent"  - 1839 (Vol. iv., no No.) printed at 54 Dublin Street.

In 1850 the "Carlow Post" was established and carried on until 1875 when its proprietor Mr. Richard Price died.

When the "Carlow Post" ceased publication, the "Carlow Independent" came on the market. It was published by Mr. P. Kelly; who had his office in Centaur Street, and the paper had a very brief existence.

On Saturday, September 22, 1883 the first issue of "The Carlow Nationalist and Leinster Times" was published from an office in Brown Street (now demolished) beside the Workman's Club. From there it moved to 58 Dublin Street (Hayes' Stationery Shop), and from there to its present premises.

At the time of the Parnellite 'split' (1890s) "The Nationalist" espoused the anti-Parnellite cause and the "Carlow Vindicator" was founded to champion Parnell's party. The "Vindicator" was published for about five years and had its office at Dublin Street, in the premises at the corner of Brown Street (Wynnes leather goods shop).

P. J. Conlan, Founder & First Editor "Carlow Nationalist

Mr. Patrick J. Conlan, founder and first editor of the "Carlow Nationalist and Leinster Times" was son of Mr. Stephen Conlan, Walshestown, Newbridge, Co. Kildare and was educated by the Carmelite Fathers at Kildare. He made journalism his career and having started in Dublin was attached to the staff of the "Leinster Leader" and the "Sligo Champion" before coming to Carlow and with the support and co-operation of the Nationalists of the area published the first copy of the "Carlow Nationalist'' in 1883, in opposition to the conservative "Carlow Sentinal".

"The Nationalist" served the Nationalist cause by its outspoken editorials and by its reports of local speeches and incidents. It was one such report of a meeting at Luggacurran and the resolution passed that led, in 1889, to the arrest of Mr. Conlan under the Coercion Act. He was brought up at a Special Court at Carlow and ordered by the presiding Magistrates to give bail for his "good behaviour". This Mr. Conlan refused to do; and as a consequence he accepted the alternative of two months imprisonment in Kilkenny Jail. His belief being that to give his bond would be an admission of guilt in the past and an undertaking to suppress news in the future if it happened to be embarrassing.

Up to the time of his early death in 1898, at the age of 46, he continued his outspoken editorials and reporting and won the admiration of friend and foe alike for the sincerity of his views.

The "Chapel"

The union structure in printing offices is referred to as a "Chapel." Each house has its own 'chapel' which is affiliated to a branch. The term 'chapel' is said to be derived from the fact that the first printing office in England was set up by Caxton in a side-chapel of Westminster Abbey. The chief officer of the union in each office is referred to as the "Father of Chapel." The "Father of Chapel" was the forerunner of the present day Shop Steward.

In earlier times when journeymen printers travelled the country in search of work, each chapel had a fund from which these men could receive a small donation if no work was available for them in the office or town. This donation supplemented an allowance to which each was entitled from the union, in the event of no work being available, provided they could show they had worked for 6  weeks during the previous year.

Up to the First World War printers were paid at the rate of a farthing per line of 10 pt. upwards and a half-penny per line for 6 pt. These figures were doubled for the setting of a foreign language and in this context Irish was classed as a foreign language. Linotype operators were paid at the rate of seven pence per 100 lines.

Job printing in Carlow

Job-printing houses in Carlow including: G. Cooke, Tullow Street (1791); Charles Lahee, Dublin Street (1834); and William Price (1836).

A directory of 1842 lists the following job printing houses: Thomas H. Carroll, 28 Dublin Street; Francis Xavier Kavanagh, 137 Tullow Street; John Lahee, 41 Dublin Street and Richard Price, Brown Street.

Re-print of Editorial from first issue "Carlow Nationalist”

Carlow Nationalist and Leinster Times

Saturday, September 22, 1883

Today we publish the first number of the Carlow Nationalist and Leinster Times. The want of a local journal to meet the requirements of the large and important district, of which Carlow is the centre, has been generally recognised. We have been encouraged to supply it by the kind co-operation and the cordial offers of support which have reached us from all sides. It shall be our aim to make the Nationalist a thoroughly representative organ of popular opinion, worthy of the times in which we live and of the grand old Faith that has survived the persecution of centuries.

With regard to the general conduct of this journal by fully and impartially reporting every event of local interest, we trust to secure for the Nationalist a circulation second to no paper in the province. We shall freely open our columns to communications containing practical suggestions for the development of local industries; for the better administration of local boards, and for all such matters as affect the welfare and advancement of the country-One word in conclusion. It is to bespeak the indulgence of our readers for any of those shortcomings, which are more or less inseparable from a first issue.

Our Thanks— We wish to thank the Management of "The Nationalist and Leinster Times" for facilities extended to us in mounting this Print Exhibition and also the members of the staff for their assistance. J.J.W. & B.E.N & L. T.

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