In drawing up this vista of the social fabric of Carrigallen village between the years 1900-1920, I am conscious that this must be of necessity a very brief sojourn in each house and home we visit. In compiling this insight into Carrigallen and its character, I do not claim to have covered every eventuality or to have the facts in all instances correct but at the same time it should be a fair blueprint for future serious historians.
Our journey starts in Main Street with Magee's drapery shop. This business was started by Patrick Briody, a native of Mullahoran. Local folklore has it that he came here to sell geese and finished up building a little empire. Patrick started a drapery business in this house and married Miss Reilly who was a school mistress in Drumbreanlis. He spent a lifetime with the county council and at one stage contested a Dáil seat for Cumann na nGaedheal. Patrick's marriage produced one child-a son, John, who joined the Irish Volunteers during the War of Independence.
There were always two or three assistants in this shop and one of them, Barney Magee from Aughavore, who was in service there from the age of 13, later bought the establishment from John Briody in the 1940's. The next house was owned by John McLoughlin. A native of Beaghmore, he established one of the biggest concerns in the West of Ireland. This house included a pub, grocery, bakery, hardware, timber department, funeral directors and had a staff of four or five assistants and as many yardmen. It later became the property of Peter Donohoe & family and is now owned by Patrick & Yvonne Mitchell.
When John McLoughlin died childless in 1912 he left this thriving concern to his favourite nephew Jack Smyth. Pat Smyth owned the third house-a drapery business and shoe shop It employed two or three assistants and members of the family. It is now the residence of Thomas Doonan's family and John O'Malley's butcher shop. Patrick Smyth (a half brother to John McLoughlin) had two sons, Jack and Alfie, and four girls Eilie, Bridie, Patricia and Kathleen. The next house is now used as a store by Paddy McCann. In the 1950's it was Parr's grocery shop. Before that it was the property of Matt Rourke from Mullinadara and after him John Reynolds, whose grandson Sean Reynolds, Beaghbeg, now lives there. In the early 1920's, it was the property of Miss Matthews who sold sweets and fruit. She was originally from Kivvy.
The next business was James Smith's pub and he had a family of three boys-John Joe, Jimmy and Pee who all remained in Carrigallen and worked at various trades. There were four girls-Anna B, Gretta, Kathleen and a young girl called Mary Jo. After the death of their father, the boys gave up running the pub. Next door was Brian Connell's butcher shop. Brian had been a baker with John Mc Loughlin but he married a girl from a prominent butchering family from Killeshandra who introduced him to the trade.
The next house was Dr O'Reilly's. He came from Tullyvin to succeed Dr O'Donohoe (Killahurk). Dr O'Reilly had three sons doctors in Arva, Stradone and Tullyvin, where one of them, John Joe, became a TD for Cumann na nGaedheal in the Free State government. The last O'Reilly in this house was simply known as Cissie the Doctor and she died in the early 1970's. It is now the property of Kevin Mc Manus. Next and where Alfie Harte's car park is we had several businesses-all two-storey houses. First of all John Gilpin had a thriving business as a saddle maker and he lived down at the Arva/Killeshandra cross where Louis Johnston's home is now situated. There was also a Maggie Brennan who had a little sweet shop; she was a native of Augharan and her relations are still to the good in that area. The Nixon brothers lived there-Harry and Willie -and their dance band was widely known. Coach builder Packie White, a native of Toome, Dunreilly, and his staff of expert coach builders worked at the rear of these houses. His workmanship was the talk of the country.
After this came Whitney's (the sign still stands over the door) now the property of perhaps our oldest citizen, Anna B O'Keeffe. The Whitneys were well known throughout Counties Cavan, Longford and Leitrim for the quality of the delph that they sold. There were three brothers Jim, John and Willie. They conducted their delph trade from Carrigallen and once a week in Ballinamore, Longford, Granard, Drumshanbo and Mohill. They also supplied all the shops in the three counties with delph. With this house there also went a pub, a grocery, cars for hire and quite a bit of land. Meals and flour were also sold in this very thriving business concern. Later on, Jack O'Keeffe inherited this business from his uncle, Jim Whitney. Jack married a local girl, Anna B. Farrelly from Drumbreanlis. Today it's Charlie Farelly's Tradition Irish Bar owned by Anna B's nephew Cathal Farrelly.
The next house to Whitney's was also a pub. It was owned by Charlie O'Rourke, Aughavilla. Not only was it a pub but it also incorporated a grocery, meals and flour store as well as a posting establishment which meant that the public could get cars (and before that coaches) to undertake journeys anywhere. The house employed a pool of local drivers and you had to be a talented jarvey to get a job in this establishment. Charlie O' Rourke's son, James, was later to leave this thriving business to his niece Baby Packenham. During the 1950's it closed as a pub and is now the property of John and Ann O'Malley.
Next door during the 1910's was the RIC barracks, which gives its name to the well just behind it-the Barrack Well. In 1920, in keeping with British government policy, all isolated RIC barracks were closed down and withdrawn to larger stronger stations, so sealing the fate of the Carrigallen barracks. It then belonged to Hugh White and was lived in by his brother Packie until it was sold. The Whites were from Toome, Drumreilly. Hugh sold this place to Cissie O'Keeffe (her mother had been a sister of Jim Whitney whom we have mentioned). Cissie ran a sweetshop here for many years while her brother Jack operated Whitney's business. Cissie left this place to her nephew, a Longford man, Sean McGarry, and he in turn sold it to Mrs Eileen Ward, NT.
The house next door is the oldest business establishment in town. A pub, it belonged to John O'Reilly. John left this business to his son Eugene who also doubled as a taxi driver. Eugene, a non drinker, was a very capable jarvey, first with coaches, later with cars; and he had a very big trade in the taxi business. Eugene had three sons, Ray, a veterinary surgeon, Jack, a doctor, and Padraig who succeeded him as a publican, and two daughters, Nell a doctor in Fermanagh and May a teacher.
We now move to Vincent Hoban's grocery shop. Where the Ulster Bank now stands lived Johnny Kiernan, known to all as Johnny the Bard. Reputedly he was well over 100 years when he died. He would spend all day singing hymns and praying, whilst his front door remained open. Where Vincent now lives, Patrick Briody, the first businessman I mentioned, built a house, on a site purchased from a man named McManus. His intention was to build a bakery, and compete against John McLoughlin and Michael G Harte who had the bakeries. His idea was that the front of the house would be a display unit for the produce of the bakery and that he would poach Brian Connell, a baker, away from John McLoughlin and set him up in business. However we have already seen how Brian fell in love with the butchering business.
Vincent Hoban's father-in-law, Patrick G Tiernan, was a book-keeper with John McLoughlin, which was arguably one of the biggest trading concerns in Co Leitrim and he, as a single man, decided to rent this house from Patrick Briody and open a shop of his own. Patrick Tiernan did very well for himself and his very successful business included sales of timber, manures, cement, glass and all items for haysheds. He had one child Lena, who married Vincent Hoban, a Galway man who had come to work for Patrick. They bought the property from John Briody, a son of Patrick Briody. In the 1910's and 1920's Hoban's was the last house on that side of the Main Street, as the terrace of six houses built by Alecia McGuinness (neé Harte) had not been built in those days.
Further down the Killeshandra road there was the Manse, the residence of the Presbyterian minister. Going further down the road one comes upon two houses built by John McLoughlin. In the first lived Master Paddy Maguire, the school teacher, who raised many ripples among his students in his efforts to widen their horizons. In the adjoining house, the Cosgroves had a very thriving shoe-making and repair service. In Eileen Ward's article, you will find details of their involement in drama. The very last house down that Arva Road would have been the curate's house, now owned by Patrick Mitchell. Now, start again opposite the first house mentioned, John Briody's. Right across the street was the Market House property of John Mc Loughlin. Every Monday was Market Day and both the village and Market House were a hive of activity. The same could be said of the fairday on the firstst Monday of every second month.
On market days carts would be drawing farm produce to the Market House from morning till night. Ever conceivable type of farm produce was purchased by John McLoughlin for export to the cities or overseas. Merchandise purchased for McLoughlin's shop was also stored here temporarily for John. He had three or four men drawing full time from Killeshandra and sometimes Granard railway stations. Beside the Market House in the 1910's and 1920's was what was called the hut. It was built and used by the local company of the Irish Volunteers during the War of Independence as a meeting place. It was very much a temporary, collapsible structure. This site was later bought by Patrick Brennan, Arva, a chemist who built a house and opened a chemist shop in Carrigallen for the first time. It is now the property of Mr McCloskey, a retired chemist. The Brennans had four children of whom Kathleen is still in business in Arva.
Now we come to Joe O'Neill's forge which some will remember as Pee Smiths' bicycle shop (Pat & Martina McCann's Centra Supermarket). Joe O'Neill's forge was built well back off the street as Alecia McGuinness would not allow anything to impede the view from the side window of the post office. Joe O'Neill's forge was big business making loy irons for over a dozen counties. O'Neill had no equal when it came to iron work. They made ploughs, gates and loys and as the children made their way from school they would be regaled by the sound of the bellows and the interminable hammering of iron upon iron as the O'Neills mightily plied their trade. Joe had three brothers-Johnny, Charlie and James in Killahurk. The O'Neills go back several generations in Carrigallen and all were blacksmiths.
After the forge we come to Harte's post office. At that time the post office incorporated a drapery and was run by Alecia McGuinness. Alecia was one of the Harte family of Carrigallen. When Michael J Harte died, his brother Hugh sent Alecia home from the US to run the post office. She was only nine years of age at that time but never went back to school after her arrival in Carrigallen. Nevertheless she proved to be a natural genius and a remarkable businesswoman.
Alecia's second husband was a Patrick McGuinness from Manorhamilton and in his time the post office did a huge trade as a travel agency. Alecia provided would-be emigrants, and sadly their number was legion, with everything they needed for the journey from suitcases and clothes to passports. She was succeeded by Tom Lockhart, a native of Sligo, whose son Thomas is the postmaster here now.
In the era 19001920 the house next door was also owned by the Harte family under the management of Michael J. Harte who was an uncle of Alecia McGuinness. This establishment boasted an hotel, a posting establishment where teams of horses could be changed for the journey, a bakery, ironmongery, wines, spirits, drugs and all types of associated business. With the death of Michael J Harte this business quickly found itself in financial difficulties and in the 1910's it was bought by the Ulster Bank for its own business use.
With the widespread depression of the 1950's the Ulster Bank closed their premises in Carrigallen, a decision they have since reversed. In 1955 Ben Harte, a native of Carrigallen and of the same extended Harte family, bought back the business. It is again trading as Harte's Hotel with Alfie and Ciaran Harte in management of a fine building, which in a way is a fitting monument to the late Maura Garvey, Alfie's deceased wife.
Next to Harte's Hotel we have Tommy McGuckian's pub which in 1910 would have been the property of Michael Donohoe. Michael Donohoe, from Dromard, married the owner of this pub, Annie Rawle, who inherited it from the Molloys of Killahurk. Annie was born and reared in Killahurk. There were no children of this marriage. After the death of Annie, Michael Donohoe married Evelyn Sheridan from Drumury who was a nurse and also a sister of Mrs McIntyre, the district nurse. There were five children of this second marriage: Anna May who married John Joe Dolan, Church Street, Michael Joe, Kathleen who married Michael Murphy, Ballygad, Eamon who married Mary Maguire of Corlough, and Brendan who married a Clare girl.
Next door to Donohoe's was the homeplace of the O'Neills (blacksmith). Many generations of them were born andreared there. Jack O'Neill the present occupier can go back to his great grandfather, John O'Neill, also a blacksmith. Jack has, at the back of his house, carefully and lovingly restored the old O'Neill forge which stood further down the street and is now a Mecca for natives, visitors and historians alike. Beside their forge was a store, and here spare parts for all types of machinery and farm implements of every description were sold. In the early part of this century it was big business.
Beside O'Neill's store stood Magarahan's hotel which was very affectionately locally known as the Globe Hotel. Like most other residences along Main Street at that time it was thatched. It was owned by Johnnie Magarahan but he left the running of it to his brother Michael. The Magarahans were often 'at odds' with the Gilchreests who owned the forge next door-presumably on the basis that food preparation and horse dung didn't mix. Despite the basic accommodation offered by the Globe, many well off people stayed there so that they could be early for all the local fairs. On the night before the Ballymagovern cattle fair, Main Street would be lined with spring carts as buyers anxious to deal first thing in the morning stayed in Magarahan's Hotel. Beside the Globe Hotel was Gilchreest's forge where Phil, Paddy, Alice and Annie lived. Their father was a baker in Longford originally from Lavey in Co Cavan. He married Miss Rowen from Drumbreanlis, it being the Rowens who first set up in blacksmithing here. The Gilchreests were first class blacksmiths and carpenters. They were wheelwrights and cart builders of unique talent.
Where the fine new St Patrick's Community Hall and Corn Mill Theatre now stand there were buildings housing three families. First was Patrick Kiernan, who farmed in Cornaughy and who was renowned as a man good at healing animals in the absence of veterinary medicine, and he did not charge for this service. At one stage Tommy Kennedy's father of the Batter, Kilbracken, owned this land. Patrick had a little shop but all he put in the front window were sugar bags in order to let Inland Revenue believe he was on his last legs. In fact behind the little shop he had a store where you could buy almost anything and he was famous for selling fish. He was reputed to be a very wealthy man, and it is said he acquired his wealth dabbling in stock and shares. His father, Patrick Kiernan The Bard, lived on the opposite side as previously mentioned. They were both, Johnny and Patrick, decent men.
Next to Kiernans lived O'Connor, originally from Arva, who dealt in second hand clothes. His daughter Katie sold religious goods such as beads and holy pictures at missions in many counties. She later returned to Arva. The third man to live in these houses was John Drumm, a mill-wright. He travelled the countryside repairing corn mill wheels. Isn't it apt that the site now boasts the Corn Mill Theatre.
That really was the last of the houses on that side of the street during the period 19001920, but the following houses were built since then. A community hall is a bungalow which Joe O'Neill built for his sister Mary and is now the property of the Farrelly family of Gortermone. After the garage we come to Dr Cusack's house. Then came Tom O'Reilly's garage. Tom was from Killahurk, served his time in Brewsters Garage and then built a good garage of his own. Tom went to England and Ned Maguire, who owned the Erne Bus Service, took it over. It had first been built as a private residence by Johnny Smith of Killahurk, a retired RIC policeman, and later Dr Cusack bought it and enlarged it. Next house down was built in 1939 by Pat Doherty, Aughawillan, for Johnny Gallagher, who worked in Jack Smith's. After this came Packie Cosgrove's who was a shoemaker in Church Street. Next house was owned by Tom Shannon-a first class cooper who made tubs for butter, churns and barrels for sundry purposes. Tom left this house to Jack Smyth, who sold it to Michael Leonard. The Leonard family, now chiefly based in Northern Ireland, use it as a family home.
Leaving Main Street, to what is, according to the ordinance survey map, the only house in Carrigallen. Every other house is either in Bredagh or Clooncorick. Terry Lynch, a native of Ballymagovern, started a bar and grocery here and he married Elizabeth Donohoe. Pat came to work here for Mrs Terry, as she was known, in 1939 and he purchased lock, stock, and barrel from her in March/April 1957. Pat married Clara Greene, Drumcannon, who died in 1986. What is now known as the Mohill Road was previously referred to as the Scordan Road. The first house we meet is the present residence of Seán McManus, which was built by Elizabeth Grace of Limerick for her retirement although she never lived there.
Next was the house and small shop of Annie Masterson who sold on a small scale such items as tea, sugar and tobaco. Annie Masterson was a sister of Charles Sheridan, Calloughs. Her other brother Thomas Sheridan lived in the present John Joe Dolan's. Annie's first husband was Kiernan from Coracreeny and they had three children, Bridget, who was to marry into the business establishment of James Francis McManus, Church Street, Elizabeth who went to work in Limerick, and Mary who emigrated to the USA. The above mentioned Bridget was the mother of Seán McManus. Next door to Annie's was the McManus timber business. The McManus family were highly skilled tradespeople in the timber business and originated in Drumbreanlis. Jimmy first set up in business on the site where Seán McManus now lives and was later to move up the road to what it is now widely known as McManus and Gormley Joinery. Jimmy actually built the present building over and around a smaller one and he then dismantled the smaller one. These people did a big business in church furniture in both Ireland and England.
Next to the joinery there are three houses built in more recent times by Francie McGovern, Ballinamore. In the first house (now Maisie Brady's) Mrs Peter Harte of Calloughs had a small drapery and newspaper shop. In the middle house Jack McTiernan carried on an extensive drapery business. In the third house was Jimmy Joe Charles from Aughavas, a tailor who married Eileen Flynn. They lived there before moving to Milltown. It was then that Joe McHugh the postman came to live there. McHugh sold papers and a wide variety of goods. Just across the road from Jerome Maguire there were two houses built by Edward Lynch, a builder, who lived in one of them Tom McIntyre, a tradesman, lived in the other. The next house on that side of the road was the residence of Willie Francis, a clerk of the petty sessions, who had a fine period thatched house with an orchard. Across the street from Annie's lived a chap called Jimmy Noble, a saddler from Gortermone. His small abode is now the car park to a private bungalow beside Patsy McCann's garage/store.
Next to Noble's was a property owned by Terry Lynch, which is now a store owned by Pat Masterson. It was at that time the court house for the petty assizes and was full every fortnight with solicitors and RIC men. Next to this was a garden owned by Annie Masterson where McManus and Gormley now stack their timber. She also had a cow byre there as she owned land out the Scordan Road.
After this, we have recently established residences-Maura Cusack, Gerry Mulligan, Martin Kiernan, Jerome Maguire, followed by the extensive vocational school built in the 1950's. Having dealt with the Main Street and the Scordan Road, we take a brief look at the Chapel Road. A garden, now owned by Peter Donohue, originally had out-buildings owned by John McLoughlin. Two new bungalows are situated nearby, owned by Jackie and Seamus McManus, followed by the priest's house. On the opposite side, there is the old National School built in 1916. Beside it stands the Gaelic Hall which was built in 1926.
Nearby and in more recent times Francie Murray's house was built. Brewster's house stands on the site of the old fair green. We move down past the barracks, and past the abandoned workshop of Lily and Maggie Arnold, dressmakers, to Pat Magee's garage, once the coal house for John McLoughlin's thriving business. Turning into Church Street we first encounter the homestead of Felix Maguire, blacksmith.
The house is still there but is now a store for Pat Masterson's bar and grocery. Felix had the name of being a cow doctor or the nearest veterinary surgeon. Next door is Hackett's which in my time was the property of James Francis and Bridget McManus. Brigid was a daughter of Annie Sheridan and Michael Kiernan who lived on the Scordan Road (as previously mentioned) and after she married James Francis she started a little shop which grew into a big business. The Department of Agriculture graded eggs there for export. She had a travelling shop which for years was operated by her son-in-law Michael Hackett and John Joe Rudden.
Our next call is to McDermott's, once a Garda Siochana station and way back in the nineteenth century rented by a Catholic priest, Fr D Reilly. Dr Donohoe had a dispensary every day for many years and was succeeded by Cissie Reilly's father, Dr O'Reilly. Larry McDermott later bought this house from Mrs McGuinness after his marriage to Lucy Sheridan, Killahurk.
Next door there were three or four very small houses built, on the site of Brendan Hunt's house. The first was Pat Gilhooley who was a jarvey for Whitneys, Main Street, the next was Pat O'Rourke a shoe-maker, next Josie Smith, tailor, and uncle of the late Jimmy, John Joe and Pee Smith. Next was Tommy Adams a butcher who wouldn't be in business today: he killed a few cows in the kitchen for Christmas.
The adjoining house was Jack McIntyre. Jack drew provisions from Killeshandra railway station for Jack Smyth's business on the Main Street. Beside McIntyre lived Francis McManus, carpenter and grand uncle to Jack McManus, a decent man with a thriving business. He built all the haysheds in the countryside and many are still standing to this day. Together with his brother Willie, they formed a team of great tradesmen.
We move to the home of Henry McGee, native of Arva and ex-British Army 19141918. He was a sergeant in the Medical Corp and, when refused entry again for the 19391945 war, he was highly annoyed. He did the post from Carrigallen to Corrawallen but when the Free State came into being, he lost his position. He had a great ceilidh house and had great yarns of war, hunger and misery.
There was no hunger in the next house: it was Cunnion's bakery and it supplied the town with bread and buns. It was managed by Michael and Barney. Kilronans, the nailers, lived where Seán and Patricia Ledwith live today. Kilronans made nails for the country and the forge stood in the walled enclosure above Nurse McIntyre's residence, now the property of John Joe Dolan. Finally, we come to Michael Leonard who had a little shop and a travelling shop. He later went to work for Tiernans, Main St., operating their travelling shop. His daughter Annie lived out her years in Carrigallen.
The first house on the opposite side of Church St. is John Joe Dolan's. A long thatched public house, it was owned by a widow, Mrs Reilly. Tom Sheridan of Calloughs married the same Mrs Reilly. Sometime after the death of Mrs Reilly, Tom Sheridan married Eliza Quinn of Garadice PO. Tom Sheridan died and in due course Eliza Quinn was to marry Con Dolan who had come here from Kildallen to serve time in Pat Smyth's drapery establishment in Main St. Eliza Quinn died and after some years, Con married Miss Roseanne O'Reilly, a teacher in Carrigallen NS (both the old one in the Church grounds and the new one opened in 1916) and of this union a son was born, John Joe Dolan of Tully, Carrigallen, and Leitrim GAA fame.
Reluctantly we leave the only pub in Church St. Next door was Johnny Cosgrove shoemaker. This was a powerful ceilidh house and they had the reputation of being the best at their trade. Johnny Cosgrove had a powerful interest in things Carrigallen but in particular the drama and the choir. One of his sons, Packie, together with Peter Harte, Calloughs, were interned in Ballykinlar camp for the duration of the War of Independence.
Next door was the home of Joe Mullen, member of the RIC Carrigallen until they were evacuated to Ballinamore at the height of the troubles. Joe Mullen was later to die in Roscommon. Next door to Mullen's lived P Gallagher, Johnny Gallagher's father, who was a process server. Johnny enjoyed speculating in property and he eventuallyfinished up in Co Meath. Next was the home of Peter Dolan, brother of Con Dolan, who was the proprietor of the "classiest hotel in the town". This hotel catered for the teachers, bank clerks and commercial travellers. Peter had retired on pension from the English police and bought this property from the Kiernans who had been tailors. The next property to Dolan's is walled in and, as already mentioned, was the factory forge for Kilronans, the nailers.
Above this property was the home of John Tuite. John was a watch maker when he put his mind to it, which wasn't often, and was quite content to let his sisters hold the reins as it were. One of his sisters worked in Terry Lynch's and was later set up in employment by the Godleys in Buckingham Palace. He played the violin with the choir and Alecia McGuinness at Sunday Mass.
Next house was O'Neills-both mother and daughter were dressmakers. After some years the daughter, Kathleen, married Pat Sheridan, Cloughla, and they emigrated to the USA. Finally into Jimmy Hetherton's, a shoemaker and an extremely hardworking man. He took conacre and was up at the dawn. Jimmy, a Longford man, had a son who left for the USA and a daughter who married Johnny O'Rourke of Mullinadara.
This completes my tour of the residents and business establishments of Carrigallen in the period 19001920. It would not have been possible but for the invaluable memories of two of our most senior natives, Jim Kiernan, Killahurk, and Mrs Anna B Fitzpatrick, Killeshandra (formerly Sheridan Calloughs); and also of John Joe Dolan, Jack O'Neill, and Jack McManus. They gave of their time and memories in a proud and loving manner. My sincere thanks to all five.
Last Updated: March 27, 2012