by rsheridan on December 16, 2009

Leinster Leader 06/03/1982
Historic Naas shown in Pub Mural
One of the most unusual murals in the county has been executed in the Paddock Bar in Naas. It is a reproduction of an 1833 map of Naas, in which local prominent buildings have been vividly depicted by the artist, Ms. Fidelma Massey of Digby Bridge, near Prosperous.
Mary English, the owner of the bar, told me that she had been contemplating a suitable mural for the wall with something of local interest dominating. “I went to the Town Clerk, Larry Long, and he produced an old map, dated 1833, which had been discovered there, and we used it as a basis to the mural.”
Fidelma Massey said that she had done pen and ink drawings of the buildings. Some had been done from photographs, like the old water tower. She had been given various books which had given details about the largely historic buildings depicted. She had also checked records in the Town Hall.
Fidelma basically works in pottery, sign writing, and painting. But she also does some sculpture. She found no particular difficulty in executing the Paddock mural, which was done in conventional house paint because of the nature of the walls. Her biggest worry came when innocently she went to sketch the campile over the Army Apprentice School (Devoy Barracks). She did not realise that this is strictly forbidden in a military installation. “I had to move away, but I still got my drawing”.
The resulting mural should be of great interest to the people of the town. It has illustrations of the Courthouse, Town Hall, “RIC” barracks, Presbyterian “meeting hall”, St. David’s church, Church of Our Lady and St. David (formerly St.Corban’s): the almhouses on Dublin road; the Abbey Bridge and graveyard; the old water tower on Fairgreen.
Also included is the Union Workhouse (now Co. Hospital); the old jail (or gaol); the canal basin, and the Moat. It shows where the former railway station stood (the Great Southern and Western Line, closed down in the ‘fifties); and also the site of the former Augustinian Abbey (there in 1484 but demolished in 1835 with the stone being used on Abbey Bridge).
Btxhe? (Text unreadable) map was drawn by Richard Leler. Inscriptions on Ms. Massey’s map state that the Catholic Church was built in 1827; the almshouses were founded in 1590, and reopened in 1802. The water tower has since almost gone with the ground floor being used for the fire station. The inscription regarding the workhouse states that there were once 500 paupers within its walls and the average cost of maintaining each was 3 pence.
“Sleator’s Gazette” in 1759 according to the map, described the following incident in Naas Gaol: “One Cunningham who was lately whipp’d at Kilcock for cutting off a man’s ear; with the rest of the prisoners of the gaol, broke a hole thro’ the wall to escape, but were discovered by the gaoler at about 1 o’clock on Friday morning”.
The Moat shows the site of the former “guardhouse”. Canal boats are shown at Abbey Bridge and at the Basin. “The speed of the boats was between 3 and 4 miles per hour, and only first class passengers were allowed on the upper deck”, the legend states.
Finally, it says that the Town Hall was destroyed by fire in 1900 and was reconstructed in the original style.
The mural is sure to attract curious visitors to Mary English’s comfortable hostelry in Naas. She deserves full marks for her choice of subject to grace that tavern walls.

The Leinster Leader of March 6th 1982 reports on the reproducton of an 1833 map of Naas on the walls of a famous Naas pub.

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