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NEWBRIDGE JOTTINGS

NEWBRIDGE JOTTINGS
 
 
 
Leinster Leader 17 March 1928
 
 
 
 
So much interest has recently been taken in business in connection with the Newbridge township that some little particulars of the past may not be unacceptable to all who are at present or have been in touch with the town. The present Town Hall structure was built as a Sessions and Market House in 1856 by Mr. Eyre Powell, but the Town Commissioners were not formed until nine years later in 1865 when Mr Eyre Powell was selected to occupy the first chair of the representatives of the township. In our last issue we mentioned one of the Eyre Powell family in 1880 being Sheriff and having a County Kildare residence. This was afterwards the property of Mr. Crawly at Hillsborough, and in more recent years the site of the Old Connell Church. The hill beyond this is called Powell’s Hill, and the residence here was burned during the 1798 insurrection. At that time it was occupied when Eyre Powell was Sheriff of the County Kildare. At the same time a residence at Knockspencer, Oldtown, Rosetown, now included in the Reeves’ property, was also burned down by the United Irishmen.
There are to be found still traces of the ruins of Knockspencer some few fields across from Hillsboro. There is a tradition in the neighbourhood that both places were burned down four years before the insurrection broke out, but the time being fixed at 1794 when matters were also in a state of unrest in the County Kildare.
The Big Hollow, Rosetown, Athgarvan, is still known as Eyre’s Hollow to many of the people.
In ‘65 Eyre Powell was residing in Monkstown, County Dublin, but was pressed by people of the town to represent them as a Commissioner at Newbridge, and agreed to do so. The late Mr. R.J. Goff was also elected at the time. Mr. Irwin, the well-known contractor of the time, and Mr. Keogh were also in the first body.
Mr. Hamilton was the first Town Clerk, and much improvement would seem to have been carried through by the first body, while special attention was paid to the sanitary matters. A scheme round by Royston was completed in 1867.
The meetings of the Commissioners for the first 30 years have been held a night, but at first the hour was fixed for one o’clock p.m. After a time, however, it was found that there was a difficulty in getting a quorum during the day, and the hour was changed to the evening.
Markets were then held at Newbridge on Wednesdays and were very successful, being a source of profit generally to the town.
Several meetings of the National League were held in the Town Hall in the early eighties and afterwards during the Clongorey evictions, in the openings of the nineties. At the time we find Mr. John Conlan, ex-T.D. applying for and being granted the use of the Town Hall for the purpose of holding meetings of the National League.
The Newbridge Commissioners changed the names of a number of streets of the town some 25 years ago. Hawkins’s Lane, called after an ex-soldier of that name, was named Robert Street. Tea Lane was called Anne Street, while the Lumper Lane of that time is now John Street, James’ Street was named after the late Mr. James Hyland who owned considerable property in the neighbourhood. Power’s Court received its name from Mr Power who was the landlord of a large number of houses in the town. Mr. Power also owned the pawnbroking establishment at present in the possession of Mr. T. Kearns, P.C., at Eyre St. Mr. McElween was responsible for the building of houses on the station road, which take his name, McElween Terrace.
The want of regularity in the building of the Main street and again in Eyre street is due to the fact that the houses were built at different times, and as far as size and accommodation were concerned the length of the purse had a great deal to do with these arrangements at the time.
The Town Commissioners at one time exercised more power as far as the carrying out of work in connection with the township than at present, and the whole front street was at one time flagged by them, while Mr. Irvine was the contractor. Mr. Irvine’s offices were in the large premises now occupied by Messrs. Wallace as coal stores in Eyre Street.
 
 

A short history of Newbridge was presented in the Leinster Leader of March 1928. Our thanks to Carl Dodd.


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