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24 May 2022

Trip Through Time: Dundalk history-Who was Clog McCann?

Looking back at Dundalk's past, with former Democrat editor Peter Kavanagh

Memories of local stockyards - Peter Kavanagh's Trip Through Time

Answers to last week's questions:

What were 'tigeens'?

These were small cabins that were provided by the Dundalk Urban Council at a site near St. Helena Park in the late 1960s for homeless persons under the Government Intinerant Resettlement Plan. The Dundalk Council were one of the first local authorities in Ireland to respond to the plan when they provided 22 cabins. The first families were housed in them just before Christmas 1970. The cabins were made of metal and wood and sparsely furnished but provided a welcome refuge for over 100 persons until they were able to get proper housing. These cabins, I was told, were built in the C.R.V. Works at Ardee Road. The name comes from the Irish for 'Little House' and were in use for nearly 30 years before the site was given over to one family who built their own home on it.

Who was 'Clog McCann'?

He was a Dundalk bootmaker, named James McCann, who had a business at 22, Clanbrassil Street in the early 20th century. It is said that he got his nickname from his ability to repair old boots with wooden soles to make them last longer. His son Jack opened a cycle shop a few doors away at No 24 and became famous as a racing cyclist. He was also one of the first providers of hire-purchase television sets in Dundalk. The narrow alley between the two premises, where some families lived, was known as 'Clog Row'.

Where was the Dundalk Chemical Company's premises?

These were located in buildings that were once part of Malcolm Brown Distillery complex off Distillery Lane where flat complex stands today. The chemical company manufactured a lot of products but, perhaps, there best known locally was an ink used in schools called 'Spectrum'. They also manufactured disinfectants called 'Maypine' and 'Lysol' and I think they made dyes but, perhaps, one of their most unusual products was a rat poison called 'Die in the Night' which was withdrawn because Government inspectors considered it too cruel as it trapped the rodents on a sticky surface and, as a result, they died from starvation!

Where in Dundalk was the Gaskin Foundry?

This was located on a three acre site between Park Street and the Rampart, behind the site of the former Park Street Cinema. It was founded by the Gaskin Brothers about the beginning of the last century at a premises near the old Bank of Ireland premises in Park Street before they moved to the larger site on the other side of the street. The Gaskins had worked for Edward Manisty at his Iron Foundry at the Square and started their enterprise with his financial assistance. Their name can be seen on the iron pillars in the canopy at the front of the James Clarke Railway Station.


QUESTIONS for next week

Which part of Dundalk was once known as 'The Isle of Wight'?

Where was J.J. Haslett's Wholesale Grocery stores in Dundalk?

Which Dundalk church had a spire replaced by a tower?

Which Dundalk church was moved sideways?

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