Nationalist & Lenister Times office in
- Source: Dermot O'Brien
Vintage Festival Souvenir 1969
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
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.
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
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".
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 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.
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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