What else would you be doing on a Bank Holiday Monday only going for a ramble. Seeing as we can’t leave our 5kms zone, we decided instead to indulge in some time travel. What was the town like in previous centuries?
I wonder can you identify where we were? If I have wrongly identified old names forgive me! Most of the detail here was from some articles my father had put together while researching the location of the old walls of Carlow Town..
I’ll pop in some visual clues as we make our way to help identify where we went.
We confined ourselves to the Town Centre, starting in Tullow Street with our first place of interest, a licensed premises and hotel since 1768, still bearing the same name! Formerly known as ‘The Farmers Inn’.
Across the road is the premises, ‘The Plough’, only in existence since 1829! There was a hotel in Tullow Street called the Plough Hotel, presumably on the same site.
I’ve often been in Lowrys Lane without realising it as I called to the family run hardware opposite the ‘Beehive Hut’ ….any takers?
Passed quickly by the Old RIC Barracks and then tried to book a room in the Commercial Hotel but couldn’t find the entrance! Anyone got an idea where this hotel was once to be found? Served as a famous ballroom for many years in a later life..
We took a small u turn to bring us around to Cockpit Lane….
In 1986 Éire Óg produced a great local history ‘Friends and Neighbours’ that researched over 500 families that lived along a number of streets in Carlow Town. At the heart of it all was Bridewell Lane and Brewery Lane. Bridewell Lane, so called because it led to the Gaol, was largely demolished and sadly there is no trace of Brewery Lane. But folk memory is great and thanks to interviews with many of the families a great picture of the area can be ascertained from the descriptions and family photographs.
All the houses were whitewashed and had half doors with lots of music and singing.
We are now in the heart of old Carlow; Bridewell Lane was formerly known as Somers Lane.
Leaving Bridewell Lane we pass by the Sessions House – used to be the Crown and Record Courts and we slipped onto the Strand!
From the Strand we strolled down Coal Market , where once coal was sold …. and much more besides; Swans Electrical started out down here..
The Moneen was an area between the old Town and the Castle, prone to flooding at the time of the building of the Castle. In more recent time and, for many years, locals visited John Flynn for a cure for warts on this laneway which brought us towards Skinners Lane and Wellington Quay..
Leaving the east bank of the Barrow we crossed over Wellington Bridge
and continued onto Batchelors Walk…
It was a short hop onto Barrow Street and Morrins Lane
When Cromwell came to Ireland he ordered the Irish to ‘hell or to Connaught’… I wonder did he mean Connaught Lane?
Back on the east side of the Barrow we made our way up North Cotts Lane towards Dublin Street…
We retraced our steps back to South Cotts Lane and Fairy Lane / Templecroney Lane…Templecroney commemorates Naomh Croneybeg..
Surely the most unusual name of any street in Carlow must have been ‘Labour-In-Vain Lane’, which took its name from a sign on a tavern representing a person trying to wash a blackman white….I kid you not! From there we made our way back onto Dublin Street where we sought to find The Bear Inn which was located at no 64 Dublin Street. The Red Cow Inn which was located across the road at no 2 Dublin Street…
Further up the street we sought out the Blackamoor Inn, 58 Dublin Street and the Crown and Sceptre, 59 Dublin Street – taverns from the 1700s….
It was time to start making our way back home and we took a peek at the house where The Globe Inn was located in the 1600s and where, wait for it, King James stayed briefly after the Battle of the Boyne.. a wall plaque displayed the initials of WJR (though it looks like WIR to me) 1699 which reference the then owners Jonathan and Ruth Watson..
We then went via Cuckoo Lane, or should I say Hunt Street, and tried to get a meal in the Imperial Hotel but there was no one serving..
A right turn on to Mass House Lane and back into Tullow Street to finish a lovely afternoon walk with a difference..
I referenced the ‘Friends and Neighbours’ Booklet earlier. Sadly it is out of print but it is a brilliant example of local history which was complied by a FÁS teamwork scheme back in 1986. The Committee overseeing the publication was Dermot & Kathleen O Brien, James Brady and Nancy O Brien. Researchers were Adel Delaney, Karen Doran, Nuala Foley, Joan Gaffney, Robert Hayden, Sandra James, Jo Kirwan, Esther Moore, Karen O Hagan and Eithne Ware. I wonder could it be reprinted? I’m sure lots of people would like to have a copy.