OUR TOWN c. 1850 - 2000


The Architectural Survey has no mention of this site at all, so I don't know whether it was the original house or its replacement that was eventually divided to accommodate two families.

The portion on your left was home to Henry Boulger - or Bolger - and family. He was manager of the Gasworks on the Well/New Road. [For more on the Gasworks see the first page of Part One of this project]. The story goes that Mr Bolger, described by Eddie Boylan as "Father Mathew Man"1, learned to ride a bicycle at the age of 70! He died in 1899 and, according to one of my informants, his widow Catherine subsequently had a millinery and dressmaking business above what was then Scully's barbers at 26 Main Street. It's probable that they were the parents of William Boulger who, in 1901, was living with his family on the Stradbally Road.

The portion on your right had been owned by the Boylan family since 1869. They acquired the premises vacated by the Bolgers and, in 1901, the widowed Mrs Catherine 'Kate' Boylan, her son Michael, nephew David Kelly, and brother-in-law Thomas Boylan, were all engaged in the bakery business here. Michael will eventually run the business (1925: Family grocer, Baker and Provision Merchant) and become the father of Eddie who we'll meet later on the far side of the street.

On the night of the 1911 census, Mrs Boylan - now described as 'Grocer and Provision Merchant - was present here, as were two grandchildren, schoolboys Edward and Robert Doris. The boys were the children of Kate's daughter Mary and her husband John P. Doris, previously mentioned in connection with No. 17 Market Square. There was also a teenage domestic servant. After Boylan's closed, the premises remained vacant for some time until it was eventually occupied by, among others, Shamane - Fashion for the Larger Ladies - in the 1990's, the above business run by Pat Hennessy from Shaen and, more recently, Kay's Hair Salon. In March 2019, Q&Rsublime (sic) hair salon opened here.


1 In the late 1830's, Father Theobald Mathew (1790-1856), known as The Apostle of Temperance, led a crusade against the evils of alcohol. The Temperance Movement spread like the proverbial wildfire and it is estimated that, by the mid-1840's, almost three million people - half of the adult population of Ireland - had taken the Pledge: I promise to abstain from all intoxicating drinks except used medicinally and by order of a medical man and to discountenance the cause and practice of intemperance.

After High Mass in SS Peter & Paul's on June 6, 1840, Fr Mathew preached in a nearby field. Such was the fervour he inspired that a near-riot ensued with invalids trampled, and the reverend reformer himself thrown from his platform. Nevertheless, tens of thousands from far and near took the Pledge over that week-end. On November 29th, he was back again, this time in more dignified surroundings, for the first annual dinner of the Maryborough Teetotal Society. More than a hundred Society members attended and, according to The Freeman's Journal, "it was highly gratifying to witness the good order and generous feeling that were observed on the occasion....' I'm sure it's not what the writer intended, but I can't help reading that line as an expression of surprise that the attendees were sober.

I'm not sure how long the town remained under the influence of the Temperance Movement, but Father Mathew's legacy was evident right up to the end of the century. There was, for instance, a Temperance Hotel in the town (more about that later) and, in June 1891, the Refreshment Rooms at the railway station advertised their commitment to the cause by offering "new milk one penny a glass".