OUR TOWN c. 1850 - 2000


Like many of the houses in the Market Square, this one was built c.1880. It replaced an earlier building which, in the 1850's, was leased by Patrick Delany Jnr., Shopkeeper and Publican, from.... yes, you've guessed it, the austere Lord himself. The Delany family continued in business here until late in the century when they were succeeded - briefly - by a Catherine Burke. I have been unable to ascertain whether she is the same person who, in 1901, was a Licensed Grocer across the Square in Number 12. Local historian, the late Eddie Boylan, mentions1 that the family of a Wiliam White - who we'll meet later - was also in business here, but so far, I have found no other record of this.

But no such doubt exists about the next occupier here. Picture this: You park your ass-and-cart in the yard, and along a narrow gauge railway trundles your wagonload of bran, pollard, or whatever (presumably hauled by a pony or pushed by a workman) from a storehouse down the back of the premises (near where Jessop Street is today).... Such is the image conjured up by what one man told me about John P. Moy's transport system, similar, I presume, to that used in mines.

He was a Licensed Grocer and Hardware, Furniture and Feeding Stuffs Merchant, who made no bones about the fact that, as advertised in 1905, there was no foreign bacon sold. At Christmastime 1910, he also proclaimed that: We cater for the Cottage as well as the Mansion. The egalitarian Mr Moy was in business here for many years and, in 1915, was Chairman of the Town Commission. During his tenure, he tried unsuccessfuly to revive the Old Maryborough Horse Fair. He died in 1941 and is interred with his wife and their three children in the Cemetery on the Stradbally Road.

Later, there was a succession of public houses here with a veritable cocktail of landlords: Delaney, Finnan, O'Rourke, Cushion, Powders, and Lar Lynch (1953: We Don't Keep the Best - We Sell It) who, like John Moy, was also Chairman of the Town Commission (1964). Christy Higgins ran the business in the 1970's, followed by Brian Mathews in the '80's. At one stage, the pub was also called the Ozark Inn. In 2011, Barmondays became Uisce Beatha, then Barmondays again, then Market Bar for six months and, in November 2013, Barmondays again! The transient Barmondays eventually closed for the third time and, in May 2015, the name E. J. Morrissey - a 'branch' of the famous pub in Abbeyleix - appeared above the door.


1 In one of his unpublished notebooks in Laois County Library Headquarters, Portlaoise.