Industry in Glenealy C.1880

Extracted from Ashford and District Historical Journal No.2 July, 1992

Richard Jack

Back in the mid 1880's the village was quite a busy spot, with bakeries, shoemakers, a carpenter, blacksmiths, and back in the previous century there was even a brewery in Chapel Lane.

Bakeries

There were two of these, Mullans located on the corner of Chapel Lane opposite Armstrong's house (the site is now Armstrong's garden), and Cowley's which was to be found in the rear of Kane's Pub.

The fuel used to heat the brick or stone ovens was green furze, tied in bundles, called "fagoots". It was claimed that the bread made in Glenealy had a fine flavour!

Blacksmiths

James Madden had a forge, located on what is now the new cemetery. The bank sloping down to the stream is still called "Madden's Bank". Another was located in "the Lagger", the ruined wee building as you leave the village heading for Rathnew.

I have heard several versions of what "The Lagger" was used for. Could it have been used as a place where the backward children at the national school went — "the ones that lagged behind"? It was used also, for a while, as the community hall where local meetings and card plays were held.

Carpenter

Only one carpenter's shop, and it was located beside where the post office is now.

Shoemakers

Three of these existed, James Dempsey, James O'Connor and Terence Confrey, the latter one was in a house at McCalls yard gate, while O'Connor's was located in what is now Armstrong's house, opposite the entrance into Chapel Lane.

John Dean's Sawmills

John Dean's sawmill was first located at Cloragh on the Tottenham estate in Ashford, being powered by water from the lake. In the 1914-1918 war he moved premises to Glenealy and continued in operation until 1960.

Dean gave a lot of work to the area and at a maximum had one hundred employees. As well as men in the mill there were others out in the woods felling the timber and drawing it to the yard. Much of it was oak drawn from as far away as Glendalough. In the early days wood was in great demand for cart wheels, etc., and he cut the hardwoods for these, elm for the stock, ash for the fellows and oak for the spokes. A lot of firewood was sent to Dublin by train from the station.

There were Coach Stables at McCalls, then called Briertons Public House. Opposite McCalls was a public pound, the field known as McCall's Pound Field. The Brewery was located in the Chapel Lane on the latter side of the Old Glenealy Church.

There may have been a mill on the Glenealy river below the old part of the burial ground. A gate opening into Meredith's field, nearly opposite the main gate of the chapel was called the Mill Gate.

The gate lodge of Glencarrig was used at one time as a Protestant school, before the school at the entrance to the church was built.

This page was added by David Kinsella on 01/11/2017.

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