Horgan and Toomeys

Horgan and Toomeys in Lower Glanmire Road

When I started some family research I had no idea that my relatives from Cork were all centred on Lower Glanmire Road. In some official documents it’s called Lower Road, as if everyone knows that further qualification is redundant. 19th century maps make this obvious though.

Looking at Google earth (for I have never been to Cork –yet) it is clear that the road is a major transport artery.
By the same token it’s hard to see how community and neighbourliness could thrive.

My great grandfather William C Toomey, aged 23, at number 38, married my great grandmother, Catherine Horgan, aged 19, at 84 Lower Glanmire Road on 15 October 1875, rather than at a church. Catherine had been baptised at St Finbarr’s .They were both living in the road; indeed her father (my great great grandfather) was a publican living at 101 (was there a pub there?) so you presume that they were local sweethearts. Sadly both fathers were dead by this time, 1875.

We know that Samuel Francis Horgan, the publican at 101, was married to Catherine Murphy and that they had at least four children. Samuel is recorded in Slater’s Directory as publican at 101 in 1870, but in 1871 Fulton’s Directory shows him at number 84. He was born in 1829 so when he died in 1873 he was a relatively young 44.

William C Toomey was born in Dublin, from where his father Denis Tuomey and mother Mary Bergin (and there are three variants to Twomey) came to Cork.

William and Katherine, aka Cate, had six children. (One of whom Samuel F was by tradition named after his grandfather).
Number 38 was rented from station master M.I. O’Callaghan and as the children were born at 35, 36 and 39 Lower Road I wonder if they shunted between rental properties owned by Mr O’Callaghan or the railways? Jane Crowley was an illiterate midwife for at least two births and presumably many Lower Road inhabitants came into the world with her care.

William worked on the railways. He was a clerk in 1879/80 but was an “Auditor” in 1881.Jane did not limit herself to motherhood. In 1875 she is recorded as Mrs C Horgan vintner and in 1881 and 1884 Directories as publican.  She died in 1905 aged 49 and obviously had a hard life. One wonders why a woman took over the business. Was it because of the absence of a suitable older brother as the custom of the time might have demanded? Katherine was probably the oldest child.

William and Catherine were living at 47 Lower Glanmire Road at the 1901 census (North East Ward) with six children. He is still a Railway Auditor in 1901. Son Denis, my grandfather, worked for the railways all his life and was a clerk, aged 20, in 1901.

By 1911 all six kids have flown the coop except Frances Toomey aged 20 who is living with her widowed father at number 47 ( now Cork no 3 Urban ward). Denis’ and his Mallow- raised wife Hannah Roche moved where the railways sent them from Cork to Waterford and Dublin and other places I cannot identify.

Denis was an “Auditor “ too by the time of his marriage in 1906 ,still based in Cork, and the couple were fortunate that both Dads were alive, even if Catherine Roche had died the year before.
In 1914 Denis Toomey was a railway agent. In 1935 he is listed in Guy’s Cork almanac as an agent for the London ,Midland  and Scottish  Railways, based at 118 St Patrick’s Street. This was not so far from Lower Glanmire Road but I don’t know if he still lived there.

One of Denis Toomey’s sons, Denis also worked on the railways and another, the eldest son, kept the names of his grandfather William C Toomey. The bare records provoke lots of questions. What was life like on this crowded and busy thoroughfare in an industrialised part of town?
Was it inevitable that William C started on the railways with Kent station nearby?
Was he working for the famous GS & WR with its local terminus?
Where were the Horgan/Toomeys buried if they were Catholics living at Lower Glanmire Road? William C died in 1922.

I cannot find Catherine on the on-line records for a likely place, St Joseph’s cemetery.
And finally, isn’t it about time I went to Cork?
James Alfred Denis McGrath

Saint Patrick’s Cross and Relic

Parishioners attending the Midday Mass were shocked this morning (Sunday, 17th. February) to learn that the Cross containing a Relic of Saint Patrick has gone missing, presumed stolen.

The brass cross, in a locked steel cabinet, and imbedded in a pillar to the right hand side of the main altar, held a bone fragment believed to be that of Saint Patrick.

stpatscrossThe cross had been donated to Saint Patrick’s Church by the late Leslie Bean De Barra, wife of General Tom Barry and has been in this position for at least 40 years.

The Priests and Parishioners are praying that this Cross be returned to Saint Patrick’s Church soon, and in this regard any information regarding the Cross can be passed on by simply phoning the Parish Office at 021 4518191 or the Duty Telephone at 087 8252284

*** Update *** The Gathering – Lower Road style

Great turnout today – A big thank you to all those who could attend – The plan to scan photos went out the window as we were inundated with information but maybe we can plan another meet up some time in the Summer!

Hi All, someone mentioned to me that it would be good to organise a night for folks of The Lower Road to meet up, collect some stories or pictures and have a general good night out!

We are asking that people attending bring some stories or old pictures with them. It’s a great opportunity to meet old neighbours and residents of The Lower Glanmire Road and to share some stories.

We are looking at a Saturday afternoon of 12th January 2013 from 3pm onwards at the Scout Hut on Summerhill.

Please spread the word and give us a ‘LIKE’ on Facebook and we’ll see who’s interested!

Check out this link for a song about The Lower Road by Hank Wedel

Any enquiries to info@thelowerroad.net

Directory of Cork 1867


Cork City Street Directory

(Henry & Coghlan’s)


1 McCarthy, John, spirit dealer
2 Moynihan, James, ship carpenter
3 Power, John
5 Dispensary, Dr. Armsstrong, Medical Officer
9/10 Horgan, John, grocer
10 Constabulary Barrack, Constable T. Maher, Officer in charge
18 McKenzie, Thomas, shipwright
19 Villenoweth, John, foreman smith
20 vacant
21 Entrance to Robinson & Co.’s yard
22 Bailey, John, ship carpenter
23 Stafford, M., Mrs., lodging house
24 Carr, A., Mrs
25 Allman, John, mechanic
26 Smith, M., Mrs.
27 Cuthbert, E., Mrs.
28 Lynch, MA., Mrs., lodging house
29 Leary, Daniel, coachman
30 O Brien, John, sub-constable
Here is Water Street
31 Twomey, John, gentleman
32 vacant
Strand Crescent
34 Lonergan, R., clerk
35 vacant
36 Clarke, RJF., clerk
37 Hobbs, Wm., solicitor
38 vacant
39 Carr, Amelia, Mrs.
44 Bond, Harmer E., clerk
Here is Carroll’s quay
Lynch’s cottages, 22
45 Welstead, Henry, toll collector
46 Fleming, Hugh, foreman engineer
47 O Keeffe, Denis, mechanic
48 Sunderland, Nathaniel, bootmaker
49 Connell, Michael, blacksmith
50 Jones, Richard, seaman
51 Walsh, William, spirit dealer
Here is Hargreaves quay
52 Ford, John, railway constable
53 O Connor, Patrick
54 Flynn, John, railway porter
55 Fitzpatrick, Mary A., Mrs.
56 Kyle, John
57 Kingston, Elizabeth, Mrs.
58 Fennessy, Thomas, superintendant GS&W railway
59 Glover, Eliza, Mrs.
60 Coonan, Thomas
61 Carroll, John, railway superintendant
66 O Sullivan, Mary, Miss
67 Walsh, Francis, drapers assistant
68 Curtayne, Mary A., Miss
69 Collins, Thomas, clerk
70 Brennan, James, clerk
72 White, James E., do
73 Busteed, Mary Miss
74 Sullivan, TJ., professor of music
75 Slorach, David, shipping agent
76 Purcell, Mary, Mrs.
St. Patricks RC Church

Woburn Place

77 Higginson, C., drapers assistant
78 Smith, T., coal merchant
79 O Callaghan, Daniel, gentleman
80 Glover, Eliza, Mrs
81 Dixon, Mary, Mrs.
82 Moran, Margaret, Mrs
83 Bass, C & C0., grocers and drapers
84 vacant
85 ?Setford?, Eliza, Mrs.
86 Wagner, Edward, brushmaker
87 Maguire, Mary, Mrs, grocer
88 Griffith, CM., Mrs
90 vacant
91 Phipps, James, pawnbroker
93 Harrington, Catherine, Mrs.
94 Wagner, Wm., boot maker
95 Grimaldi, John, ship smith
96 Donovan, Cornelius, letter carrier
97 Denny, Thomas, photographer
98 Burke, Michael, victualler
99 Lynch, Thomas, grocer
Here is Grattan’s Hill
100 Feltham, E., grocer & spirit dealer
101 Horgan, Samuel, spirit dealer
102 vacant
104 Heffernan, John, grocer, Post office receiving house & money order office
105 Moore, Julia, Mrs., grocer
106 Mannix, Edward
107 O Keeffe, William, painter
108 D’Arcy, John
109 vacant
110 Cork Co-operative Society
111 Mahony, Martin, tailor
112 Harman, Michael, spirit dealer
113 vacant
114 McSwiney, Terence, grocer
115 Farren, Abraham, gentleman
116 Gill, John, drapers assistant
117 O Leary, Julia, Miss, grocer, &c
119 vacant
118 Murray, Mary, Mrs.
120 Heaps, George, spirit dealer
121 O Connell, H., Miss, spirit dealer
122 Harrington, Daniel, grocer
123 Bryan, Bessie, Mrs.
124 Daly, Nicholas, victualler
125 Borrow, Thomas
126 Jones, Samuel, grocer
129 Raynes, Henry, Captain
130 Morgan, Joseph, drapers assistant
132 Callaghan, Timothy, grocer
133 vacant
134 Harman, JH., chemist
135 vacant
136 O Sullivan, Jeremiah, spirit dealer
137 to 142 small houses
144 Johnston, Ellen, Mrs., spirit dealer

Rockgrove Terrace

145 Sterne, W., Lieutenant, RN
146 vacant
147 Evanson, Emily, Mrs.
148 vacant
149 Mahony, D., butter merchant
150 vacant
151 vacant

Rockgrove Square

153 to 161 small houses
162 Buckley, James, spirit dealer
163 to 166small houses
167/168Hayes, Patrick
169 McCarthy, H., grocer & spirit dealer


1. Hartford, George, surgeon
2. vacant
3. vacant
4. O Connor, Mrs.
5. Deacon, AJ., insurance agent
Lynch, Rt. H., coml. traveller
6. Hollinshead, T., telegraph inspector
7. Harris, Mrs
8. Busteed, Jane, Miss
9. Burns, George, drapers assistant
10. Wallis, Dorothea, Mrs.
11. Kift, M., Miss
12. Brockhart, ____
13. Herbert, Mary, Mrs.
14. Thompson, WH., drapers assist.
15. vacant
16. Coleman, Ellen, Miss
17. Finn, James E., gentleman
18. Grace, Miss
19. vacant
20. vacant
21. vacant
Cooper, Anderson, Belle vue cottage
Harding, James, butter merchant, Myrtle hill house
Callaghan, Mary, Miss, Carrighouse

Belle Vue Terrace

1. Morris, George, surgeon
2. Broadley, E., Colonel
3. Bradley, Samuel, draper
Woodhill Terrace
1. Townsend, HH., land agent
2. Townsend, JCC., Captain
3. Gray, Jane, Mrs.
4. Sandiford, DL., gentleman
5. Bolster, JA., Rev.
6. Townsend, WH, attorney


1 Wrench, CE
2 Paterson, Richard
4 Smith, Thomas
Bernard, Nicholas, Magenta Cottage


5 vacant
6 Jones, Robert, hatter
7 vacant
8 Malcome, H., Mrs.
9 Allen, Clara, Mrs.
10 vacant
11 O Connor, Daniel
12 Penny, Arthur


1 Leslie, John, foreman sail maker
2 Power, John
3 Simmons, Henry
4 Hartland, William
5 Anderson, _____
6 Buckley, Daniel
7 Freaks, Miss
8 McNamara, J., engineer
Maginnis, George, Wellington house

Kent Station New plans

Kent train station plans new entrance building

Iarnród Éireann have lodged major plans for a new entrance building and parking on the southern side of Kent Railway Station. It will mean traffic using the station will be able to enter and leave from Horgan’s Quay rather than the current entrance on the Lower Glanmire Road.The company has lodged a planning application with the city council for a new 310-square-metre entrance building complete with ticket vending machines, seating and public address system.

It will include an underground link that will connect up to the southern end of the existing pedestrian underpass at the station. The plans also include a new two-way road that will link Railway Street/Alfred Street to Horgan’s Quay to serve the new entrance building.

It would involve the partial demolition of the of the protected perimeter stone wall to form a new junction on Horgan’s Quay. The road would include new street lighting, footpaths, bus shelters and cycle parking. It is also planned to build a new 140-space pay and display car park and a set down area in front of the new building.

There have been long terms plans from both Irish Rail and the city council to improve the pedestrian and transport links between Kent Station and the city centre. The 205 bus service to University College Cork, the Cork University Hospital and CIT also connects with Kent Station along with the Airport shuttle bus.



Welcome to the website for The Lower Glanmire Road, Cork City, Ireland.

I’d like to hear from you if you have a connection with the Lower Road.

Please contact me by e-mail or mobile telephone.

e: info@thelowerroad.net
t: +353 (0)86 601 1928

My aim is to collect more information about the Lower Road. I will add a section shortly where you can submit your stories about people past & present. I would also like to hear what you think we should put up here in digital format for the whole world to consume. Maybe connect with people who used to live on the Lower Road. Links to existing businesses, etc.

Have you got any old photographs that you would like to share with your neighbours? Do you have some information or stories to share about The Lower Glanmire Road?

I hope to be able to use a range of media to bring the stories of The Lower Glanmire Road to life with your help.

Thank you.
Ken Forde

1963 Cork Veteran Run

1963 Cork Veteran Run

www.munstervintage.com – We’re looking a your assistance in finding details on these pictures from the 1963 Cork Veteran Run – can you help???

Thanks to Robert Swan And William Cuddy who have supplied a few details on the pictures – and to Alan Cavanagh for supplying the photographs. More info & pics here.

Rockgrove Square

8 Rockgrove Square and The Lower Road

I suppose everyone thinks thinks the place they in which they grew up is special, but the Lower Road was such a special place when
I was growing up there. Everybody knew everybody from the Coliseum to what we used to call ‘The Radio School’. Going up or down the road to mass in St. Patrick’s or to school you always met someone to say hello to, to walk with or to talk to.

Rockgrove Square and it’s inhabitants:

The Murphy family lived in No. 8 Rockgrove Square fromthe 1950s until the mid 1980s. Seven of us lived in that house, our parents
Michael (Dorrie) and Helen (Nellie) and children, Mary, Patrick, Frances, Michael and Helen. Daddy worked in Dunlops and cycled to work every morning, having first attended Mass at St. Mary’s on Pope’s Quay. We never had a car in those days when we were growing up and Daddy often brought each one of us in turn to Mass on the cross-bar of his bike.

Before she was married, Mammy worked in the Colisuem and in a photographer’s sop near Lawson’s on MacCurtain St. After her marriage, Mammy stayed at home to bring up her family and in her spare time she attended her garden, especially her roses which she loved.

Our Grannie and Grandad, Frances and Patrick Kiely with their daugther Kathleen lived in No. 6 Rockgrove Square and our aunt and cousin, Frances and Colm Downing lived in No. 5 Rockgrove Square.

The other inhabitants of Rockgrove Square were the Coogan family, the Rynas, Pidge Mulcahy and Bobby Brown, the Warner family, Mrs. McCabe, and the Maher family.

Rockgrove Square or ‘The Sqaure’ as we lovingly called it was a very happy place to live when we were growing up. The doors of our houses always had the keys left in them and neighbours were always calling in. There was a great spirit of community there, as there always was, on the whole of the Lower Road.

The River

Living on the Lower Road, the rive Lee played a big part in our lives. It was this side of the river we called ‘our own’. We walked, on
sunny summer days up the quay by the river to the baths by the City Hall – meeting the railway men on the way and getting lumps of chocolatecrumb – the taste of which I can still almost feel today.

We often waited for the No. 11 bus at the Square gate – looking down the river admiring the Marina and Blackrock Castle on the other side, until the bus came around Tivoli Bridge.

The boys of the Lower Road had great fun over in the Strand when a sort of a festival was held there around the time of the Cork City Regatta -they were always falling from greasy poles and swimming in the river. The whole of the Lower Road was so proud of our entry in the Cork City Regatta each year – our great and lovely boat ‘The Eileen Elena’. We would all gather together to see her being carried from the Club and being put on the river and we would sing that beautiful song we all knew – ‘Come home Eileen Elena’ – we were so proud of her.

One of the highlights of our summers was going to ‘The Park’ in the rowing boats to watch Cork playing in hurling matches and getting a bar of chocolate from Mrs. Joyce – for free!!

On long summer days we often walked to ‘The Scheme’ and had picnics, which consisted of bread and jam and bottles of water and of course our comics to read, by the river at Tivoli. When we got older, my friends and I still walked to the Scheme each Sunday after Mass.

Anybody going to England onthe Innisfalln was sure of a wonderful send-off. On hearing the ship blowing up the Quay, everybody would run up to Water Street to see her passing down the river there and then everybody would run doen the slip – to wave tea=towels and hankies at those travelling on her, and what a beautiful sight it was returning to Cork on the Innisfallen – coming up the river to Horgan’s Wharf.

The Quarry

Everything was held in the Quarry inthe summertime. Rounders, cricket, cowboys and indians, fancy dress events and our mothers used the Quarry all year round to hang out the family laundry to dry on lines that were there for that purpose. The Quarry had all its very own features – a beautiful natural well with icy cold water flowing from it, even in summertime, ‘Top Rock’, a rock called ‘Red riding Hood’ and a Black Hole in which we were told our Grandmother buried one of her goats! The Quarry was used as a place of prayer, to guard the children of the Lower Road the year the polio epidemic hit Cork City.

Back Lane

The lane-way that went all around the back of our houses was known as just that, The Back Lane. In the summertime, steering cars with their wheels made from ball bearings could be heard all day going down the little incline of the lane onto the street by Hyde’s corner. The railway line to Youghal and Cobh ran parallel to part of the back lane and any friends or neighbours going to Youghal on the train would be sent off by lots of people waving at them from the Back Lane.

The Harbour Commissioners

Rockgrove Square was directly across the road from the Cork Harbour Commissioners and even though a lot of the men working there came from different parts of the city we knew most of them to say hello to. This was due to lots of them standing outside the building during their lunch break when we would be going and coming from school or work and they saluted everyone that passed by. One room inthe building was always used by the people from the Lower Road when it came to voting in General Elections and this same room was used by the women of the Lower Road when they held ‘nights’ to raise money for charities, etc.

Beale’s Hill Wall and The Dive

During the summer when we were young, the girls of the Lower Road had ‘crushes’ on many of the men who drove the petrol lorries up and down the road to the depots at Tivoli – we would sit on Beale’s Hill wall and wait for the lorries to pass just to wave at the drivers, knowing all the particular registrations of their trucks. The boys of the Lower Road were introduced to snooker in a place called ‘The Dive’ in Water Street. Many a night we were sent there to beg them to come home for their tea!


Books could be written about the Lower Road and its people. Everybody has a story to tell of this wonderful place we grew up in. They say as we grow older, we see times ‘way back then’ through tinted glasses. This is not true of the Lower Road – the way it is told, is the way it was – a lovely warm, sunny and safe place. Thanks for the memories. (Frances Murphy – Hutchinson)

The Breadman

The Breadman

My father, a typical droll West Cork man came to the City with one of his brothers around the 1930s. They got a job fairly quickly on the trams, my father as a conductor and my uncle as a driver. They were happy enough at this job but the pay not being great, they decided that in their off time they would put some of the skills they had learned back in West Cork to good use. So they rented a shed out in Blackpool near the old distillery. They figured that this was the ideal location for their new project as the aroma from the distillery would be more than enough to cover up the sweet smell from their entrepreneurial effort. So they proceeded to make that famous and illicit West Cork brew “Poteen.” Business went very well for awhile and it showed a good profit. There was no publicity as such, only word of mouth from one satisfied customer to another.

           People with Arthritis, or other pains and aches, the greyhound men, the harrier men, those with lame horses, and some others who didn’t need any excuse, all became regular customers. My father had a saying about Poteen;

           “Throw away your oul’ pills,

           It will cure all your ills,

           Be you Protestant, Catholic, or Jew.”

Things went very well for about three months, however nothing lasts forever and a good friend and customer of his, a sergeant in the guards, tipped him off about a possible raid, and he flew the coop. In one night they cleared out the shed and sold off all the equipment to a farmer in the Sheehy Mountain area of West Cork. If the Gardaí ever did raid the shed they never bothered to find out.

He then gave up the trams and bought a horse and a covered in cart, and started his own country bread round. He sold bread, flour, groceries, the daily newspaper, and other household commodities. From the farmers he would buy butter and eggs or rabbits, and sell them to the city stores the following morning. Sometimes in Glanmire he would buy a Salmon which would have been poached in the nearby Glashaboy River. This would have been another thing the authorities would be interested in.

Of course he also brought all the gossip of the countryside, brought the news of births, marriages, and deaths. I remember one woman who loved to hear the misfortunes of others asked him: did he hear about so and so’s daughter and my father said;

           “Yes I hear she’s pregnant.”

           This woman came back with;

          “And that’s not all Mr. Mac, did you know, she’s expecting a baby as well. May God forgive her, her people must be mortified.”

At that time people didn’t have a lot of money and some found it very hard to pay for their weekly necessities. Again deals were made, and payments for his services were often made in kind. I remember when he arrived home with a calf, another time two Bonham’s, a pair of kid goats, four ducklings, a brace of pheasants. These are only some of the things that ended up in our home on Quaker Road. All these were payment in kind for services rendered. He being a man from the west, and as far as he was concerned, the odd trade in barter was fine.

Anyway to get to the sting in the tail; this particular woman who’s husband worked in the city for Cork Corporation had run up a fairly big bill with him. Her husband, poor man, cycled the eight miles to and from the city each day. Now at that time £15.oo would be considered a big bill and when she approached my father to get her weekly groceries he asked her about paying something off the outstanding bill. She started a whole rigmarole about first Holy Communion and Confirmation clothes and finished with;

   “Mr Mac I’m sorry I haven’t any money for you this week, but next week Mick will be drawing his holiday pay and Mr. Mac I promise, you will be the first in line.”

 And he gave her another £3.oo worth of groceries on credit. She went back in home praising the Lord, and drawing down the blessings of all the Angels and saints in Heaven on my father. My father, who was in his own way a very religious man, I’m sure would much rather if she had given him a few bob off her bill.

On the next night he called as the horse stopped outside her door, she was out like a shot rubbing the tears from her eyes with her apron, she exclaimed.

           “Oh Mr. Mac, Mr. Mac, You’ll never believe it, you’ll never believe what happened to poor Mick on his way home from work this evening. Mr. Mac he’s shook to the core.”

           “My God Bridie what happened Mick? Was he hit by a car or a truck? Was he hurt? Did he fall off his bike, or what?”

           This was the time the steam trains used to run from Cork to Cobh and Youghal, and from the station they would run over the bridge that crossed the main road, and then run parallel with the Lower Glanmire Road.

           “Oh Mr.Mac! Thank God and all his angels and saints he’s O.K., but he had a very narrow escape coming down the Lower Road and under the Railway Bridge on his way home. Oh! The poor, poor man. Well Mr. Mac, As Mick was going under the bridge on his bike; the train was going over the bridge on its way to Cobh or Youghal. Just at that moment the fireman happened to be stoking the fire, and low and behold didn’t a spark fly from the engine into Mick’s pocket and burn his wages inside. But thank God Mr. Mac he wasn’t hurt himself. Only for the grace of God Mr. Mac I’d be a widow right now.”

           “So Mr. Mac if I could just have two pair of bread, a pound of butter, half pound of tea and a dozen eggs I’ll clear the lot next week.”

I think my father felt that for entertainment value alone she was worth the risk until next week.


Cranking up the Motor


Pat McCarthy



Steam Trains on the Lower Road

September 12, 1962

Steam train making its way through Cork city.Date: 12 September 1962NLI Ref.: ODEA33/1
And here’s another picture I came across, not a steam train but observe the contrast in each picture which must be only a few short years apart.
The  No. C209 heading towards Clyde Cutting into Brian Boru St. to cross Brian Boru Bridge

And here’s another few picture I came across:

The No. 158 heading to Kent Station via Alfred St.

Quick, get it back on the lines!

No. 184 coming out of the station on Railway St.

 An electric tram at the end of Summerhill North