Monday, June 19, 2017

Kilcullen fires, another memory

The recent republishing of the Leinster Leader story on the Kilcullen fire of 1900 triggered a number of local memories, writes Brian Byrne.

We’ve already posted those of Jim Collins, which included the fire in Brennans ‘Dublin House’ drapery, and now Frances Moloney has added another memory. In this case it is about the house where Mick Lawlor (always referred to locally as ‘Purty’) lived just uphill from Berney Bros saddlery.

“As a child growing up, I heard that there was a fire escape on the back the Lawlors’ house, because Mrs Lawlor, the former Miss Gannon, had been caught in a fire in Brennan's hardware,” Frances told the Diary.

She says that May Gannon had purchased the house prior to her marriage to Mick Lawlor, and then he and his son Pat ('Purty Boy') moved in from Ballyknockan after the wedding. “In my head, a fire escape is what adorns building in NYC, but as an adult, I did go investigating and discovered a rickety external stairs. So despite the difference between how I visualised it, there actually was truth in the village rumour mill!”

Our picture (courtesy of Jim Collins) shows Mick Lawlor, his wife the former May Gannon, and Jim Collins Snr shortly after Mick and May were married.

(NOTE: The house is currently derelict, and Kilcullen Tidy Towns have been seeking sponsorship help to make it look a bit better on the outside, to the level as shown in this photo impression.)