In Eye No. 923 I started my examination of the 1911 Census Returns for Offaly Street. In that article I dealt with the families who lived in the west side of the street, starting with No. 1 Offaly Street and ending with No. 12 next to Janeville Lane. Today there are 13 houses on that same side of the street. The extra house I believe may have resulted from the division of a house fronting onto Janeville Lane to give an entrance from Offaly Street.
When I cross to the east side of the street to locate the houses included in the 1911 Census I run into some difficulties. Houses which extended up beyond what is now O’Connor’s Photo Shop towards the Church of Ireland Hall have long gone. How many were there, I can’t be sure.
Also there was a thatched cottage at the back of what is now Beech Grove, separated from the Rectory to its rear by a high wall. In my young days it was occupied by an elderly woman by the name of Hegarty. Was she I wonder the Elisabeth Hegarty who in 1911, aged 35 years, occupied with her husband and their children what was the fourth house in the Census Returns for the east side of Offaly Street? If so, by my calculation there were three other houses between the Church of Ireland Hall and O’Connor’s premises, all of which have long since been removed. Their demolition, I presume, occurred when the Cinema Company started to build, but never finished, a new cinema in Offaly Street. Shortage of materials and possibly finance during the 2nd World War left us Offaly Street youngsters with stumps of concrete walls, marked by door openings on which we played during the 1950s. They remained in place until Beech Grove was built.
In the first house next to the Church of Ireland Hall lived Henry Justin, a railway porter and a member of the local Church of Ireland. His wife Anne and 5 children ranging in age from 1 year to 8 years lived in the small house with him. Next door was 34 year old Robert Ivers and his older sister Alice. He was a slater, while Alice gave her occupation as a dress maker. Robert would later live in Janeville Lane with his younger sister Fanny. Bridget Dooley, a widow of 48 years, lived alone in the adjoining house. The earlier mentioned Hegarty family, headed up by Robert aged 42 years, a clerk and a member of the Church of Ireland, lived in what I believe was the thatched cottage next to the Rectory wall. His wife Elizabeth was from Tyrone and of their 3 children, two were born in Cairo Egypt and their eldest boy, aged 9 years, in Hampshire England. It is likely that Robert Hegarty had been a soldier. Julia Keating, aged 72 years, lived alone next to the Keogh family. Patrick Keogh, aged 34 years, was a carpenter from Co. Wicklow, married to 26 year old Mary and they had 4 children ranging in age from 4 years to 5 months.
Timothy O’Brien, a 65 year old widower and house painter, lived with his 3 daughters in what I think may now be O’Connor’s premises. I’m basing this on the fact that the next house in 1911 was occupied by the Keilthy family, headed by 40 year old Post Office cleaner Patrick. At the time of the Census his wife Mary, aged 32 years, lived there with their 5 children and a boarder, John Phillips, who was caretaker for the Young Men’s Society. This was the C.Y.M.S. located in Stanhope Street.
There was no return for the malt house which was obviously not occupied, but next door in what I remember as Mattie Brennan’s house lived the Murphy family. John Murphy, at 41 years, described himself as a Post Office Pensioner. With his 30 year old wife, Mary Brigid, they had 3 children from 4 years to 1 month. Their next door neighbours, in what was a much larger house, were Mr. and Mrs. Kealy and their 8 children. William Kealy was a commercial traveller, aged 56 years and his wife, 17 years younger, had borne him 5 sons and 3 daughters ranging in age from 13 years to 3 years.
In what is now the music shop lived William McDonald, a retired tradesman of 65 years and his wife Bridget. Another small house next to the public house and grocery and which has since been demolished housed 8 members of the Doyle family and a lodger. Thirty year old John Doyle was a yardman, married to 40 year old Mary. Their eldest child, John, was 8 years of age and he was followed by 5 others, the youngest being 5 months old. Bridget Hall, an old age pensioner, lodged with the family.
What I believe was the pub and grocery was occupied by Denis Kelly from Barrowhouse, aged 39 years, a grocer’s manager. Andrew Murphy, aged 34 years, a grocer’s assistant and Thomas Byrne, aged 16 years, a grocers apprentice. This was, I believe, a pub/grocery owned by Thomas Whelan.
What in my day was ‘Kitty’ Webster’s sweet shop was in 1911 occupied by Edward Dowling, a 63 year old baker and his wife Ellen. I can recall being shown a wall oven in the small yard of Webster’s shop which may well have been used by Edward Dowling. In the last two houses in Offaly Street lived Patrick Wall, a 51 year old blacksmith, his wife Catherine and their 14 year old son Patrick, while next door were the Murphy family and several lodgers. Walter Murphy was manager for a wine merchant and with his wife Catherine had 2 children, Cecil and Desmond.
Brigid Moran was their 24 year old domestic servant, while four boarders, James Bourke, Thomas O’Brien, Peter Timmons and Thomas Smith all described themselves as assistants in shop. The large number in the last house makes one wonder if the Census Returns had accurately listed the houses in the correct order. The Murphy family, given the father’s occupation and those listed as shop assistants might well have been living in the only public house in Offaly Street. But if so, in what premises were Denis Kelly and his grocers assistant and apprentice residing on the night of the Census?