When Cashel was a Milking Town


The celebration of fifty years of the NFA/IFA at Rockwell College last Friday night brings to mind how the agricultural influence in the town has waned over the period. From a time when the town harboured fair days and the sale of cattle, sheep and pigs in the streets, the export of cattle at Cashel Railway Station, the meandering of cows through the streets, and the line of horses and carts bringing milk to the creamery, Cashel has become a place where the agricultural influence is peripheral and is mainly confined to Cashel Mart and Centenary Co-Op Stores.

Up to about thirty years ago there was a strong agricultural presence in the town, and that was reflected in the number of people milking cows within the town boundaries.

Donal Ryan of the Rock hunted his cows from the soccer field down the Bohereen Glas, across the Dublin Road to Moore Lane for milking.

Jim Joe Ryan kept his cows behind Jenny's shop and there was a butcher's stall and abattoir in the same place.

Jack Maher milked cows where Granny's Kitchen is now located.

Carrolls in Ladyswell kept their cows up Gallows Hill, drove them down the Bohereen Glass across the Dublin Road for milking in Colliers Lane.

Peg and Josephine Maher on the Terrace always kept four or five cows in the Majors field and drove them down to the back of the house for milking.

Jackie Ryan had a cow byre at the top of Bohermore, where Maurice Thompson is living now, and milked his cows there.

Matty and Jimmy Dunne drove the cows in for milking in Canopy Street before it was demolished in 1974.

The Presentation Convent kept a good herd of cows and they were milked where the pavilion in Cashel Community School field was built some time ago.

Pake Roche had a haybarn, where the carpark in Friar Street is today, with entry beside Billy Foley's Pub, and he milked the cows in a house at the corner of Friar Street and Abbey Road. ..,

Rose Kearney milked cows where Wallaces have the car showrooms now, and Foleys had a milking operation on Feehan's Road, where the Council are building houses at the moment.

O'Leary's had their milking parlour where Marcus Fogarty has his joinery works and Katie Phelan used to give them a hand with the milking.

Hanlys on the Green were milking in a big way until not so very long ago and, in the same area, Jimmy and Paddy Darmody used to milk where Christy Kinane has his horse training establishment.

O'Dwyer-Malachys used to drive their cows down the Old Road for milking close to the Green. The children going to the old National School had to contend with the cows. Many people from the town bought their milk there, and it was ladled out in a half-pint measure.

McCluskeys ran Rosebower Creamery until it was taken over by Centenary Co-Op. The street outside, up and down the Cahir Road and over the Green, was filled with all kinds of carts drawn by horses and donkeys, as they waited in line to have their milk taken in.

Meanys drove their cows down Boherclough Street twice a day for milking in Main Street. They had a professional milkmaid in Bridgie Coman, who was noted for her particular headdress, apron and Wellington boots. She almost always had the cigarette in her mouth. She acquired the name 'Maritana', because of the similarity between her headdress and that of some of the characters in the musical.

Carews milked cows in behind what came to be known as Coopers, and Austin Ryan had a milking operation on the Golden Road.

Even the Palace Hotel was into the act. There were cow byres on the right hand side, now converted into residences, as one goes to the entrance ofthe hotel.. Lord Brockett kept some pedigree Ayrshires on the Rock.

Also on Main Street Denis Leamy milked cows at the Back of the Pipe.

One of the most fascinating pieces of information is that ofthe famous 'Judas' bullock! This was a bullock, who used to lead the heifers to the slaughter, and he was trained by the late Charlie Keane. Tom O'Neill owned Mahers butchers, Pat Walsh's today. He had an abattoir beside it, the small room, which is still there today. The cattle for slaughter had to be brought down from All Aileen and the 'Judas' bullock was trained to walk down Ladyswell Street into Main Street followed by the heifers for slaughter, The bullock walked through the abattoir and back up to AlIa Aileen, while the heifers were slaughtered.

It all presents a much different picture of the town to the one we have today. All these cows no longer foul the streets of the town. The cattle that come to Cashel Mart are transported there, and away afterwards, and are hardly noticed except by the buyers and sellers attending the Mart.


The Nationalist, May 12, 2005