« Co. Kildare Online Electronic History Journal Home »


Leinster Leader, September 19, 1959

Success Story of Monasterevan Industry

Monasterevan is one of the towns in County Kildare which languishes due to lack of full employment for its inhabitants. On a number of occasions moves were made to establish an industry in the town by a local development association, and other bodies, but eventually the efforts petered out, and emigration continued to take its toll.
During the past few years prospects have grown a bit brighter due principally to the initiative of local business man, Mr. A. Tynan, whose enterprises include a progressive knitwear industry employing almost forty girls, almost all of whom are from the locality.
Monasterevan, however, was not always lacking in industry and employment as the following description taken from the Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis (1837) indicates.
Monasterevan is a market and post town and a parish in the Barony of West Ophaley, County of Kildare. 11 miles (W.S.W) from Naas and 30 (S.W.) from Dublin on the mail coach road to Limerick containing 1386 people of which number 1,111 are in the town.

This place the history goes on to state derives its name from a monastery founded there and made a place of sanctuary by St. Abban in which were afterwards placed monks from South Leinster by St. Eavan or Evin in the seventh century. The monastery having afterwards become extinct was refounded towards the close of the twelfth century by Desmond O’Dempsey, King of Ophaley and though considered as just beyond the border of the English Pale was made a mitered abbey and its Abbot sat as a baron in the Irish Parliament.
At the dissolution the Abbey and the manor were granted to George Lord Audley, who assigned them to Adam Loftus Viscount Ely, and they are at present the property of the Marquess of Drogheda.
During the 1798 Insurrection a battle took place here between the insurgents and a party of English soldiery, which terminated in the defeat of the Irishmen and the consequent interruption of their advance into Queen’s County.
The town is pleasantly situated on the eastern bank of the River Barrow. Mr. Lewis continues amidst the improvements of Moore Abbey from which it extends for a quarter of a mile towards the Grand Canal, which passes its extremity. It consists of 214 well built houses on one side only of the principal street, which is parallel with the river, the other side being left open and laid out in gardens and lawns sloping down to the waters edge. The street is intersected by the Dublin road.
A bridge of six arches over the Barrow was erected in 1832 in a direct line with the road, by which the former sharp bend and dangerous turn is avoided.
A new street has been recently laid out in a direction parallel with the back of the principal street of the private expense of the Rev. Henry Moore. Great improvements have been made on the line of the Grand Canal by that company among which may be noticed the construction of an elegant cast iron drawbridge over the canal in 1829 and the carrying of the canal over the Barrow by an aqueduct of three arches of 40 feet span, handsomely built of hewn limestone and surmounted by an iron balustrade; a branch canal from this place has been extended to the thriving town of Portarlington.

The extensive brewery, distillery and melting concern of Mr. Cassidy whose dwelling house is highly ornamental to the town afford employment to many of the working-class, states Mr. Lewis.
A small tobacco and a tobacco-pipe manufactory are also carried on. The traffic arising from its situation as a great thoroughfare on one of the branches of the great southern road from the Metropolis adds to the support of the town.
Dealing with Monasterevan Parish, Eileen Ryan, the noted writer points out that the founding of Monasterevan Distillery in 1784 by Mr. John Cassidy, merchant and magistrate, began the town’s era of prosperity which (with the exception of the famine years) continued into the nineteen twenties.
Some years after the start of the distillery a serious fire destroyed most of the original premises, but by 1788 it was in regular production again.
Leases of plots from the Marques of Drogheda enabled the premises to be extended. In 1798 the plot on which stands the present disused malthouse, and the Pond Garden was leased to Mr. Cassidy.

Robert Cassidy succeeded his father as proprietor around 1820; his son, James, was in charge of the distillery in 1889, a year in which the firm appears to have been at the zenith of its prosperity with an annual output of 200,000 to 250,000 gallons. Standing orders from firms in London and Bristol led to an annual export of nearly 50,000 gallons. At this date there were 7,000 casks of whiskey in stock in the duty-free warehouses.
Turf was the fuel used in Cassidy’s and contracts were given to local turf cutters.
The building was lighted by turf gas in 1824, and later by coal gas for some years up to 1906, when an acetylene gas plant was installed.
Horses and carts were used to deliver Cassidy’s products to areas not served by railway or canal. Like many contemporary concerns Cassidy’s firm had its own coinage in the form of copper tokens, which were used for paying wages and other expenses and were accepted by local shopkeepers.
Its unequalled flavour and quality earned for Cassidy’s whiskey the reputation of being the best in the country.
The firm had also a brewery and malting concern in conjunction with the distillery. A beverage known as “St. Patrick’s Cross Pale Ale,” was brewed in addition to common porter. The brewery section of the business was established in 1860, by Mr. Wheble, so-in-law of Robert Cassidy. On Robert Cassidy’s death in 1918 his family carried the business until the firm went into voluntary liquidation. In 1934 the premises finally closed as a distillery and became the firm of Samuel E. Holmes, Ltd., which is the site of a modern engineering works.
The founder of Cassidy’s Distillery it is stated, first came to Monasterevan from Kinnity in Offaly, as an estate agent for Moore Abbey, later to become the home of Count John McCormack. It is now run by the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary as a home for epileptic girls.

Thomas Samuel Lewis and Miss Ryan, write of the past glories and history of Monasterevan, but its present prosperity and progress are of more vital concern. In this regard, Mr. William A. Tynan, who has been a leading figure in the town for the past thirty years, has been indefatigable in his efforts to revive some at least of the prosperity that was once enjoyed by Monasterevan residents. Mr. Tynan, who comes from a well-known Laois family succeeded his father, the late Mr. Thomas Tynan, Ballybrittas, equally well-known in business for many years. Mr. William Tynan took over his father’s progressive licensed grocery and drapery business about 1928.
He continued to expand the business, and having a large vacant premises available and after considerable research into the industry, engaged a highly skilled operator, purchased a set of the most up-to-date machinery that could be obtained and set to work in the manufacture of knitware.
Thus the knitting industry was first introduced to Monasterevan.
Now in the short period of six years of hard work and personal endeavour a thriving knitwear industry has been established which manufactures children’s garments in all sizes and colours and gives employment to almost 40 girls, all of whom are from the district; they have been trained and instructed in their various duties on the premises by Miss M. Mulhall, the Manageress.

The name “Tyna Knitwear” is now a household word and stands for the highest quality in children’s knitted outwear, and it is displayed in the principal shops in every town and village in Irealnd to-day.
Progress has been so rapid with Tyna Knitwear that during the past year a new factory containing all modern conveniences and up-to-date methods has been erected. The factory has been planned so as to allow for further extension and with steady demand and greatly increased output it is anticipated that a further extension will be necessary in the immediate future.
Not the least of the success of Tyna Knitwear is due to the great care and attention paid to the selection of yarns and other items that go into the manufacture of the various garments.
Strictest supervision ensures that only high quality garments are produced and every housewife in the country who has used Tyna will guarantee its washability and wearing qualities. The new factory contains modern steam raising methods and a thermostatically controlled heating system, which ensures that the correct temperature and humidity necessary in manufacture is maintained throughout the year.

During the past year a private limited company was formed the shareholders being Mr. and Mrs. Tynan and their family; the firm trades as Messers. Tyna Knitware Ltd.
Unlike many other industries in the country this factory has been started and financed privately and without any Government assistance financially or otherwise, which is a great tribute to the promoter.
Incidentally many other industries benefit as the result of the establishment of this go-ahead firm, such as the manufacture of yarns , threads, elastic, buttons, labels, boxes, printing, zip fasteners.
Mr. Tynan’s eldest son Mr. Thomas Tynan, is manager of the firm, whilst Mr. Tony Tynan, another son has a thriving knitwear business in Bray, trading under the named of Twinheart Knitwear, manufacturing ladies and gent’s knitted garments.
Mr. Tynan’s family has been associated with the National Movement since the beginning of the century and rendered great assistance to the cause both in the Council Chamber and in active service.
We congratulate Mr. Tynan and wish him and the company the greatest of success in the future.

Fitzpatrick’s meat depot is one of the most select and noted firms in County Kildare and even extends operations to the counties Laois and Offaly where the products of the firm are most favourably received. All modern equipment is installed and hygiene requirements are up-to-date.

The Kilcock Spray Painting Co. is one of the most go ahead firms in the country, and under the progressive management of Mr. John O’Connor is extending its operations on all sides. Recently many important contracts have been carried out, including the painting of the various stables on the Curragh and at the headquarters for the Irish Racing Board. Mr. O’Connor incidentally is a native of Killarney and played with the Kerry team winning Munster and many other championship titles. His brother, Mr. Denis O’Connor, won three All-Ireland’s with Kerry playing at right full-back and another brother the late Mr. Tom O’Connor was also a noted footballer.

The Monasterevan General Stores Ltd. centrally situated in the town provides everything from the proverbial needle to an anchor. Groceries and provisions, hardware seeds, manures, implements, drapery, footware, delph, building materials, Calor gas sales and service are only some of the items in this high-class establishment.

Another well-known licensed premises is that of Mr. John Boyle, Market Square, whose high quality drinks and groceries have for years achieved a reputation second to none.

Mr. E. Tynan, proprietor of the Leinster Arms Hotel, Kildare, is a well-known sportsman. The hotel has a big reputation for food and drinks served at shortest notice. Mr. Tynan has considerably extended and completely renovated the premises.

Mr. O’Brien’s Corner House popularly known as the “Nag’s Head” Monasterevan enjoys a wide clientele and first-class drinks are served.

Mr. Wm. O’Brien, Popular Stores, Sallins Road, Naas is the man of the moment for with a land thirsty for water he is supplying the famous Mono Automatic Pressure Water Set to all parts of the country. It has an ideal capacity range for the average household and is a completely automatic self-priming pump. Water problems for farmers and other householders can be solved by the installation of the “Mono”.
Mr. William O’Brien who has been gradually building up an extensive clientele has greatly enlarged his premises and developed new lines. His water and plumbing and heating installations have always been satisfactory and no job is too small or too big for him to undertake.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.2