20 December-Carlow Gaol

Carlow gaol in Carlow town, Ireland was built in 1800. It replaced an older gaol (bridewell) which was located nearby. It operated as a gaol until 1897 when it was closed and sold to Thomas Thompson. Thompson based his engineering business, Hanover Works in the gaol. Thompsons moved their manufacturing plant to a new premises about 5km north of Carlow town in 2005. The Hanover Works site is now Carlow Shopping Centre. The main gate to the gaol is the Barrack Street entrance to the shopping centre. This gate was the place where public hangings took place. Immediately inside the gate the original Governors House still stands.

In the eighteenth century each county in Ireland was obliged under the law to have its own prison. The prison was located in the main town in the county. By all accounts these prisons were desperate places. An English prison reformer John Howard visited jails in Great Britain, Ireland and Europe. He found prisons in general to be miserable, cruel and overcrowded institutions. He described Ireland ‘as savage as the inland parts of Russia’. In a report on the prisons he said he never saw abuses worse than those in Ireland. Beginning in 1775 Howard made five trips to Ireland and in 1786 the Regulation of Prisons Bill was passed which established an inspector of prisons. The inspector was obliged to carry out inspections every two years. The inspector also agreed budgets with the prison authorities for feeding the prisoners and for the maintenance of prisons.

Following their establishment, the Inspectors-General of Prisons carried out prescribed inspections of Carlow Gaol and issued a report. In the report for 1861 Inspector John Lentaigne noted the ‘remarkable and continued decrease in crime in the quiet and peaceable County of Carlow’. His report showed that only 13 male and 9 female prisoners were in custody in Carlow Gaol. Over 20 years previously the annual inspection was carried out by Inspector Major Palmer. At the time of his inspection the gaol had 66 prisoners in custody. The inspector expressed his pleasure with everything he observed.

Inspector of prisons Major Palmer carried out his inspection of Carlow gaol in the year 1837 On This Day.

Carlow Shopping Centre (Barrack Street Entrance), formerly Thompsons Hanover Works and previously Carlow Gaol


20 June-Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria visited Dublin in 1853 to attend the Great Industrial Exhibition which had been sponsored by Carlow born engineer William Dargan. She visited Dargan at his home in Mount Anville in Dublin. Dargan had built most of Ireland’s railway network and several other infrastructure projects. She offered him a baronetcy in recognition of his services but Dargan declined her offer. By the time of her visit she had been queen for 18 years.

Queen Victoria was born Alexandrina Victoria on May 24th 1819. She became queen of the United Kingdom at the age of 18, on the death of her uncle William IV in June 1837. Queen Victoria reigned for over 63 years. She was a constitutional monarch with relatively little direct power but she did attempt to influence government policy. During her long reign, which is often referred to as the Victorian era, England went through a period of great change and expansion socially and economically. Her period as queen also saw a great expansion of the British Empire.

Eight years into her reign Ireland was hit by the Great Famine. During the following four years over a million Irish people died and as many more emigrated. Queen Victoria personally donated £2,000 to famine relief in Ireland. This was the largest private donation made and she encouraged others to contribute also.

Queen Victoria visited Ireland on four occasions. Her first visit lasted from 2nd to the 12th of August 1849. It was portrayed as the queen showing solidarity with the people in the aftermath of the famine. With her husband Prince Albert she visited Dublin Belfast and Cork and by all accounts was given an enthusiastic welcome. She herself wrote ‘The enthusiasm and excitement shown by the Irish people, was extreme’.

Her second visit to Ireland took place from August 30th to September 3rd 1853. She came to Dublin with her husband and two of their children to show her support for the Great Industrial Exhibition of 1853. She visited the exhibition every day during her time in Ireland.

Queen Victoria Visited Ireland again from 21st to 29th of August 1861. The queen and her husband visited the Curragh where their son the Prince of Wales was doing military training. From there the royal party went to Kerry where they spent four days in Killarney.

The fourth and final visit by Queen Victoria to Ireland began on April 3rd 1900. She stayed for three weeks and visited schools and hospitals. Though greeted by large crowds her visit was objected to by some nationalists. Nine months after her final visit to Ireland Queen Victoria died aged of 81 at Osborne House, Isle of Wight on January 22nd 1901.

The reign of Queen Victoria began in the year 1837 On This Day.

Queen Victoria and others by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1900-04-04 02:13:07

Queen Victoria “visits” Library Towers by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1908-01-01 00:00:00

Queen Victoria’s Fountain Dún Laoghaire  by jaqian on 2005-05-07 14:46:31


16 March-Frederick York Wolseley

Frederick York Wolseley was a member of the Wolseley family of Tullow, Co Carlow, Ireland. He invented the first mechanical sheep shearing machine and with Herbert Austin was the producer of Wolseley motor cars. Wolseley lived in Australia for most of his life. A monument to Frederick York Wolseley stands in Wakool, New South Wales about 70km west of Deniliquin.

Frederick York Wolseley was born in Ireland in 1837. His father died in 1840 and Frederick and his six siblings were raised by their mother. In 1854 at the age of 17 he emigrated to Australia to work on his brother-in-law’s sheep station near Deniliquin in New South Wales. He began to work on developing a sheep shearing machine. He invented the world’s first mechanical sheep shears for which a patent was obtained in 1884. He founded the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Company Limited in Sydney in 1887.

In 1893 Wolseley moved to Birmingham, England. With Herbert Austin he established the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Co. Pty Ltd which would later become Wolseley Engineering Ltd. Sales of the sheep shears was seasonal, so in 1895 they began producing Wolseley motor cars in Birmingham. By 1913 Wolseley was selling 3,000 cars annually, making it the largest car manufacturer in Britain. Frederick York Wolseley died on January 8th 1899. Though production of Wolseley cars ceased in 1975 the company continued to grow and move into other areas of engineering. Today Wolseley describes itself as ‘the world’s leading specialist distributor of plumbing and heating products’.

The ancestral home of the Wolseley family in the town of Tullow is now the Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort. Originally known as Mount Aaron it became the home of the Wolseley family in 1725 and remained their home for the next 200 years. The stained glass east window in St Columba’s Church in Tullow was erected by the Wolseley family in 1907. Mount Wolseley was sold to the Patrician Order of brothers in 1925. They made the estate the Order’s world headquarters. The Order sold Mount Wolseley in 1994 and it was subsequently developed into a hotel, spa and golf resort. Several vintage rallies are staged there including the Gordon Bennett Rally.

Frederick York Wolseley, inventor and industrialist, was born in the year 1837 On This Day.

Wolseley by allenthepostman on 2009-05-24 09:11:34

Mount Wolseley, Tullow, Co Carlow, Ireland

gc365day101 by leppre on 2014-04-11 09:45:09