OUR TOWN c. 1850 - 2000


Owen Dunne, the occupier of the previous house, was, simultaneously, the lessor of this one. But it was vacant at the time; which makes me wonder why he was listed as the occupier of a barracks and his own house lying empty? Am I missing something here? Explanations, historical or humorous, are welcome. After 1851 there was a succession of occupants- Owen Dunne himself, followed by John Dunne and William Gamble, a butcher whose thatched slaughterhouse, in June 1866, was burned to the ground1.

Like others throughout the town, the entrance on the right was originally a carriage arch. I was surprised to learn that, at the turn of the twentieth century, only half of the documented houses in the Market Square had stables. This house actually had four, and it was also one of only four houses in the Square that had its own coach house.

The premises were acquired by Edward Burke2 in the 1870's and in 1901, his widow Catherine had a Licensed Grocery here. On the Census Form, her son James and her sister Grace Hyland are both classified as 'Assistant'. Ten years later, James and his wife Bridget are running the pub and also in the house on the night of April 2nd were his Aunt Grace; a shop assistant, Minnie Kenny, a general labourer and a domestic servant. James died in January 1921 and his aunt three months later. After Bridget's death (in 1960, aged 85) the business was run by Norah Malone, but the Burke name remained over the door until it was auctioned in 1990 and subsequently became Murphy's. When Billy Dee's changed hands, it became known as Peig's.


1 In February 1880, another "alarming fire" broke out "at the extreme back of Mr Burke's extensive premises". Ricks of hay and straw were destroyed and, after two hours, the fire was prevented from spreading.

2 According to Eddie Boylan, Mr Burke was once a coachman at the Coote Estate (subsequently a Patrician Brothers Secondary School and, since 2010, Ballyfin, one of the most exclusive five-star hotels in the country).