This week I feature two photographs from the past. Pictured are two buildings, both located on Leinster Street and both photographed sometimes in the 1940’s. Dooley’s, Caterers and Confectioners, was located at the corner of Chapel Lane in the premises which subsequently housed Mrs. Hughes’ drapery business and on the site of the present Madden’s pharmacy. I have often come across references to Dooley’s Bakery, although it had ceased to function long before I began to remember what was around me. The photograph was taken when the premises was closed and I believe it may well have been used in connection with the sale of the shop and the business.
The Dooley family had and still have a long association with the town of Athy and Michael Dooley who lived and had a business in Duke Street during the War of Independence had a local housing estate named in his honour after his death. Dooley’s Terrace was officially named “Michael Dooley’s Terrace” to commemmorate the man who was one of the leaders of the Nationalist movement in Athy during the early years of the last century. His son, Paddy Dooley, represented the Kildare constitutency as a member of the Dail for several years from the late 1950’s.
The second photograph shows the Leinster Arms Hotel, again I suspect taken in the 1940’s when the hotel was sold. The corner of Miss Dallon’s shop can just be seen where the bicycle is leaning against the wall. The gas lamp over the main entrance to the hotel was by then converted to electricity but it was a reminder of the days long gone when the town was lit by gas supplied by Athy Gas Company whose premises were located at the end of Green Alley next to the Grand Canal. The exterior of the hotel building has changed little over the years, with the exception of the gate at the far end which was removed when the function room was extended.
Across the street from the main hotel entrance was the hotel yard where hotel guests parked their cars and where in an earlier age their horses were stabled and their carriages housed. The Baronessa shop was constructed on part of that yard. The absence of motorised traffic on Leinster Street is noteworthy, as is the sight of three parked bicycles which confirmed the popularity of pedal power at that time.
Happy New Year to you all.