William Street October 15 2023


More Sweets

Old boxes from Margaret’s treasure trove.

Urney Chocolates was a confectionery manufacturing business founded by the Gallagher family in County Tyrone, and once operating one of the largest chocolate factories in Europe. After sales as a going concern, ultimately to what would become Unilever, the last factory closed in 1980. The brand was later operated by L.C. Confectionery Ltd., and is now handled by Hazelbrook Confectionery, based in County Kildare, Ireland. (Wikipedia)

Clarnico chocolate and sweet manufacturers were based in London. The company founded overseas manufacturing interests in 1920s in Ireland (Clarnico-Murray Ltd, a joint venture) and Australia. In 1936, the firm was taken over by C. and E. Morton Limited. In 1945 Mortons was acquired by Beechams and together with other acquired companies in 1955 was renamed as Beecham Foods Limited. Beechams bought James Pascall Limited in 1959 which was merged with Murray. The Pascall Murray brand and business was later sold to Cadbury Fry in 1964. 

Its main lines of production were in fudge, caramel and mints (including what were known as ‘Murray Mints’) 


Great old Photo

This photo was given to us by Willie O’Donnell (second from left in second row).

This is Cór Cois Féile, a North Kerry choir. I have enlisted some help in naming people.

People named so far

Front Row; ? , Joan Mulvihill, Ger Frost, Mary O’Flaherty, ?

Row 2; Jackie McGillicuddy, Willie O’Donnell, Phyllis Dunne, Frankie Chute, Marie Coffey, Anne Hartnett, Kathleen Stack

Row 3; Cathal Fitzgerald, John O’Keeffe, Maurice Kennelly , Luaí ÓMurchú, Jack Murphy, Mrs. Cummins, Donie Finucane, Fr. Michael O’Doherty, Brendan Quille, Babe Joe Wilmot, Pat Flaherty,?, Eddie O’Flaherty,?, Joe Guerin, Mairead Pierse, Seán O’Sullivan and Colm O’Brien

Apologies to anyone who I have misidentified or omitted. All corrections will be welcomed.

I’m hoping someone will tell us the story of the choir and put a few last names to faces.


Timely Poem


by John Lennon

“… Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion, too

Imagine all the people

Livin’ life in peace


You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one…”


The Workhouse

(The following is from the Workhouses of Ireland website)

Listowel Poor Law Union was formally declared on the 27th March 1840 and covered an area of 326 square miles. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 27 in number, representing its 21 electoral divisions as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):

Co. Kerry: Abbeydorney, Ardfert, Ballyheigue, Ballylongford (2), Drumkeen (2), Duagh, Gunsborough, Kilconly, Kilfeighny, Kilflyn, Killahan, Killahinny, Kilmoily (2), Kilshinane, Kiltomy, Knockanure, Lissleton, Listowel (3), Newtownsands, Rattoo, Tarbert (2).

The Board also included 9 ex-officio Guardians, making a total of 36. The Guardians met each week at noon on Thursday.

The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 65,198 with divisions ranging in size from Kilflyn (population 1,072) to Listowel itself (6,802).

The new Listowel Union workhouse was erected on a six-acre site half a mile to the west of Listowel at the north side of Convent Lane (now Road). The building and operation of a workhouse had to be financed by the ratepayers of each union and in many places was seen as an intolerable imposition from England and its officials. It took until 7th February 1844 to raise the first poor rate in Listowel, with the workhouse being declared fit for the reception of paupers on 17th August 1844, and not receiving its first admissions until 13th February 1845.

Designed by the Poor Law Commissioners’ architect George Wilkinson, the building was based on one of his standard plans to accommodate 700 inmates. Its construction cost £5,980 plus £1,276 for fittings etc. The workhouse location and layout are shown on the 1921 map.

The buildings followed Wilkinson’s typical layout. An entrance and administrative block at the south contained a porter’s room and waiting room at the centre with the Guardians’ board room on the first floor above.

The main accommodation block had the Master’s quarters at the centre, with male and female wings to each side. At the rear, a range of single-storey utility rooms such as bakehouse and washhouse connected through to the infirmary and idiots’ wards via a central spine containing the chapel and dining-hall.

During the famine in the mid-1840s, sleeping galleries were erected to accommodate an additional 100 inmates. A fever hospital to accommodate 46 patients was erected at the north-east of the workhouse.

The workhouse closed in 1921. In February 1922, the Guardians received a deputation headed by Mr J. Crowley with a view to acquiring part of the building for use as a sweet factory. The Board agreed to their request.

The workhouse buildings no longer exist and a local hospital now occupies the site.

The chapel door in October 2023

It is worth noting that these poorhouses were called workhouses for a reason. Idleness was forbidden and every inmate was forced to work or face awful punishment.

Williamson was instructed to make the living quarters as uncomfortable as possible and this he did.

There were no ceilings, just bare rafters. The upper floor was accessed by a narrow stone stairs which was difficult to climb for elderly or frail people. The eating room was dark and airless. Inmates were given 2 meals a day, porridge and milk in the morning and potatoes and bread in the afternoon.

When the potato crop failed the workhouse became a death camp. The intake of paupers increased exponentially. Men and women were separated never to meet again. Work was still obligatory. Half starved men were put to work on useless work schemes which merely added to their misery and produced no useful end product.

Every day cartfuls of corpses were transported the short distance to Teampall Bán to be tipped into a mass grave.

Sunflowers and ground plants help to cheer this spot today.


A Fact

Ireland rugby player, Tadhg Beirne’s mother, Brenda Hyland Beirne was crowned Rose of Tralee in 1983.