QUESTION TIME

PART 1: How well do you know your Dundalk history?

David Lynch

Reporter:

David Lynch

PART 1: How well do you know your Dundalk history?

Which prominent Dundalk family once owned Rockview Farm?
This substantial land holding in South Marsh, between the Rock Road and the Sea Rampart, was farmed by the Cox family of Lisnawilly, seed merchants in Clanbrassil Street for over a century and racehorse owners and trainers. They also held the lease of the 170 acres that was formerly part of Lord Roden's Demesne west of the Dublin-Belfast railway which was sold to the Dundalk Urban District Council in 1950 for the development of housing in that part of Dundalk.
The Rockview Farm lands included the Army Rifle Range and stretched over to the Loakers. It was once one of the best kept agricultural holdings in the urban area and included a tree plantation that was cut down for fuel during the World War 11 Emergency. The substantial house and farm buildings were badly damaged by disastrous fire about 70 years ago and the farm declined afterwards.

Where is St. Margaret's House?
This is the large house at Cambrickville, off the Ardee Road, which once was the home of Edward Henry MacArdle who founded the Macardle, Moore Brewery, along with his cousin Alderman Andrew T. Moore, Dublin, in 1863. It was subsequently where senior members of the staff of the Brewery resided.

Where is Carlton House?
This is the large house on the right-hand side of the entrance to the Byrne & Maguire garage in Dublin Street which was used by the company as offices until it became an estate agent's office. The name can still bee seen in the fan-light of the front door.
In the late nineteenth century it was the home of Edward Manisty, an English railway engineer who came to Dundalk in the 1860s in connection with the building of the railway line between Newry and Greenore and became involved in a number of local business enterprises. In 1878 he purchased the Sheckleton Foundry at the Market Square which was to become famous under his management for manufacturing engineering machinery. He was also involved in the shipbuilding slipway at Soldiers Point and a brickworks at Castletown.

Where was Murphy's Court?
This was one of many cul-de-sacs off Dundalk's main streets in the nineteenth century where a large proportion of the town's population dwelt. The houses in them were mainly single storey, two roomed, houses, demolished by the Dundalk Urban Council in the first half of the twentieth century as part of 'slum clearance'.
Murphy's Court was one of the smallest of these streets, with only four or five houses along it. The narrow entrance to it was off Bridge Street, about opposite the top of the Castletown Road, until it was closed about 1908.

When was the first railway company formed in Dundalk?
The first railway company was formed at a meeting on May 17, 1836 'to discuss the propriety of establishing a railway from Dundalk to Cavan'. This company had a venture capital of £330,000 and aimed 'To connect the Western and North-Western Counties of Ireland with the Port of Dundalk'.
The first list of subscribers was published in March 1837, by order of the House of Commons, with shares valued at £50 each purchased. One of the biggest subscribers was civil engineer John MacNeill of Mountpleasent, who held 50 shares.

What was the name of this company?
Called the 'Dundalk Western Railway' it later became the Dundalk and Enniskillen Railway Company, with its head office at Jocelyn Street. They built a terminus off Barrack Street where the present H.S.E. Health Centre is located.

When did the first passenger train service from Drogheda reach Dundalk?
This first train carrying railway officials and local dignitaries from the Newfoundwell Station, on the north side of the River Boyne, arrived in Dundalk, amid scenes of great excitement, on the morning of February 15, 1849. Its arrival co-coincided with the first train service from the Barrack Street terminus to Castleblayney by the Dundalk-Enniskillen company.

Who built the line between Drogheda and Dundalk?
This was the work of the great railway engineer William Dargan, son of a farmer from Graighuecullen, County Laois. Dargan constructed over 1,000 miles of rail track throughout Ireland and became known as 'The Founder of Irish Railways'.
Dargan had co-operated with John MacNeill in the building of the line between Dublin and Drogheda, completed in May 1944. The line to Dundalk was commenced at Dunleer in April 1846 with two gangs working south to Drogheda and north to Dundalk. The line was completed just before the first train ran in February 1849. It was reputed to have cost over £0.75 million, an enormous amount for the time but it gave invaluable a employment to thousands and probably saved many from death by starvation during the Great Famine!

Where was the town's first railway station?
This was built off the Ardee Road while the line from Drogheda was being constructed, at a place that was to become known as Traffic Place.
At the same time the track bed through Marshes Lower was being constructed for the Dundalk-Enniskillen company to their station at Barrack Street. The Traffic Place Station was the property of the Dublin and Belfast Junction Railway but shared by both companies.

Where did the De la Salle Brothers reside when they first came to Dundalk?
Michael and Albert, the first De la Salle Brothers to arrive in Dundalk, stayed in a house in St. Mary's Road owned by the Marist Fathers.
They had come here from Rome and were known to the Marist Fathers, as both orders had originated in France. As their community increased, they moved to St. Leonard's at Chapel Lane and then, in 1902, moved to the monastery that had been built for them behind the Castletown Schools.

When did Dundalk Technical Schools move to Hoey's Lane?
This secondary school, the first such sex integrated institution in Dundalk, moved from Chapel Street to the site behind the Dundalk Regional College in 1971. It became O Fiaich College in 1990, named in honour of Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich, the Archbishop of Armagh who died in May of that year.

When did the Battle of Courtbane take place?
This engagement between the British Army and the I.R.A. was sparked off by the crossing of the Border between Armagh and Louth near Sheelagh Church by two British armoured scout cars around noon on Sunday August 29. 1971. Young men returning from last Mass in the Church attacked the vehicles and set them alight. The soldiers manning the cars got out and, when British Army re-enforcements turned up, they were fired on by, from a near-by hill, by a unit of the I.R.A. who had left Belfast earlier that month because of the Internment Without Trial order by the Northern Ireland administration.
Two British soldiers died as a result and the incident was only prevented from becoming a much larger engagement by the arrival of an Irish Army unit from the Dundalk Military Barracks. The incident became international news and led to a deterioration of relations between the U.K. and Irish Governments.

When was the Battle of Dungooley fought?
This was a much larger engagement than the incident at Courtbane just five months earlier. It began around 8 am on the morning of Thursday January 27, 1972 and lasted for about three hours.
In fact it was the largest engagement between the Provisional I.R.A. and the British Army during the course of the Troubles along the Border.
It was estimated that over 3,500 rounds of ammunition, from a variety of weapons, were exchanged between the two factions but, surprisingly, there were no reported casualties, except to livestock belonging to local farmers, hit by stray bullets.

Where was Moyle Castle?
This was a fortification built by Sir Richard Bellew of Castletown in the late 15th century in the Lower Seatown area. While it appears on a number of early maps of the town its exact location is unknown but it probably stood somewhere near the Mill Stream which is now the Rampart River. Paul Gosling, using a Robert Richardson map from about 1600, places it on the west bank of the Mill Stream near the present Windmill licensed premises but, as this stream changed its course several times, it could have been located anywhere between the old Windmill stump and the Military Barracks Gate at the end of Barrack Street. The Castle was destroyed during the rebellion of 1641 and the stones from the ruin were used by Lord Limerick for Harbour works in the mid-eighteenth century.

Where was the business premises known as the 'Hibernian House'?
This was a men's drapery shop at 9, Clanbrassil Street, opposite the General Post Office, owned by Frank McParland, from Newry, during the first half of the 20th Century. A great nationalist, he had his name inscribed in the old Gaelic scrip over the premises as 'Prionsios MacParthalon' and displayed his goods with notices in Irish. In the Nineteen Forties his opposition to the Border earned the premises the nickname 'The Anti-Partition House'.

Where was the Hesse shirt factory in Dundalk?
James Hesse from Armagh City, established his shirt factory at St. Helena Quay, at the end of the then Quay Road (now St. Mary's Road) in 1852. He had a considerable export business of hand-made shirts to England and employed a staff of both men and women. The business was taken over by his son Max and he also had a drapery shop in Crowe Street run by a daughter for the firm of P. & P. Campbell, dryers and cleaners of Perth Scotland.

Where was the Hesse Laundry?
This was a dry cleaning business that was set up by Max Hesse when the shirt making enterprise declined with advent mechanical sewing machines. This business, latterly known as the 'Dundalk Steam Laundry', lasted for over 100 years in a re-brick building in Castle Road, beside McDonald's builder's yard. Readers may remember the name 'Hesse Laundry' engraved in stone over the front of the building. These premises became a shoe factory, owned by a workers' co-operative, for a short while after the laundry closed in about 1960.

Where in Dundalk can you find a monument sculpted by the father of the 1916 Pearse Brothers?
This is a headstone which marks the grave of the Collins family in old Castletown Cemetery at the side of the Castleblayney Road. James Pearse (or Pearce) father of the 1916 Rising executed leaders Padraig and Willie, was born in London in 1839 and came to Dublin in 1860s where he married and established a monumental sculpture business in Great Brunswick Street, renamed in honour of his sons after the establishment of the Irish State.
The monument was commissioned by James Collins, a prominent victualler in Clanbrassil Street. The marble headstone is an elaborate crucifixion scene erected as a memorial to ''Maggie', his wife, who died in in November 1881, aged just 24 years. She was a daughter John and Mary Connick, who died in 1904 and 1905 and are also interred in the same plot.

Where in Dundalk was the 'French Church'?
This was the local name of a hall that was acquired by the Wesleyan Methodist congregation in about 1800. It got its name from the fact that Methodists loaned this place of worship to the Huguenot weavers and their families came to Dundalk in the late eighteenth century to escape religious persecution in France. They established a cambric factory at Parliament Square which was later to become the site of the Dundalk Military Barrack. The ruin of the old 'church' remained until the late 1950s.

Where was the Wesleyan 'Primitive' Chapel in Dundalk?
This was small chapel that was built by the Methodists congregation at Wellington Place in the late eighteenth century. It was acquired by the Marist Fathers in the 1960s and the building still stands at the St. Mary's Road entrance to the new College buildings. The hall was known as the 'Gospel Shop' to students of St. Mary's and those living in the area as the Methodists continued to hold Sunday School there after they moved their place of worship to Jocelyn Street in the 1830s.

How is Richard Fitzralph known locally?
The was a pre-Reformation Archbishop of Armagh who became famous as St. Richard of Dundalk. He was a Norman cleric who is reputed to have been born in Dundalk shortly before the Edward Bruce invasion of Ireland. He studied at Oxford and became Chancellor of the famous University where he was consecrated Archbishop of Armagh in 1346. He died at Avignon in France in 1460 while on a visit to Pope Innocent VI who resided there at the time. His body was brought back to Dundalk in 1370 and his tomb in St. Nicholas Cemetery was a place of pilgrimage up to the time of the Reformation. A chapel in the Green Church was dedicated to his memory in 1954.