CHANGING FACE OF ROSBERCON
CORA CONNICK LOOKS AT THE AREA DOWN THE YEARS
ROSBERCON has always been a very busy area in the town of New Ross, and has seen many changes down through the years. Like many Irish settlements it began in the 13th century, somewhere between 1264 and 1295, with early settlers making it their homes beside the river.
Since then Rosbercon has gradually changed into what it is now – and it will continue to change into the future. THE CHURCH AND RELIGION Religion has always played an important part in the life of Rosbercon, with the Holy Faith Sisters and the Church of the Assumption forming the backbone of the parish. People tried their best to help fundraise what little money they had for the building of the church, which is beside Our Lady of Lourdes Secondary School, which was established by the Holy Faith sisters. The holy statue at the end of Rosbercon hill is also still there today.
My family, the Connicks, have lived in Rosbercon for many generations, so I was very interested to discover my roots. My own family and local resident Nick O'Brien entertained me with stories of life in the past in Rosbercon.
Carnivals and bands were held in the Shamrock Arms which is now the Parish Pump. Back then, to see a band or go to the carnivals you had to pay £8 to £13. Guards of honour were very common, along with people closing doors when a funeral was taking place, especially at the Old Bridge Bar which was owned by the very well known and loved Nick O'Brien. This was one of the traditions in Rosbercon. Luke Doyle was the undertaker and still is today. He has being burying people since 1958. His son Jamie Doyle now works with him.
One of Luke's co-workers was Tom Cassin. Tom Cassin registered all the births, deaths and marriages in Rosbercon. Tom and his wife Kitty Cassin lived in a small cottage at the top of Rosbercon hill. When the church and new graveyard were built, the old graveyard, which is now beside the takeaway, was no longer used. Nowadays it is still owned by the church. THE SECONDARY SCHOOL On September 15, 1924, the secondary school in Rosbercon opened and a total 40 pupils were enrolled. All students were between the ages of four and 17, by the end of 1925 the number of pupils had increased to 125. The majority of this number were coming from New Ross. The main building, which was there in 1924, is still there today. A three-storey building has been added beside the main building, with prefabs to the rear. While the nuns no longer run the school, Our Lady of Lourdes is now a very popular secondary school with students coming from far and wide.
When the nuns were in charge of the convent they had a routine of walking up to the top of the hill every evening no matter what the weather.
In 1924 Rosbercon National School was set up and in 1946 and was taken charge of by three sisters from the convent. These three sisters changed the name of the school to St Canice's, which is still its name today. ROSBERCON'S FIVE PUBS Rosbercon had five pubs and one hotel years ago. The Old Rectory was central to life in Rosbercon, hosting weddings, parties and other functions for many years. Today it operates as a refugee centre. There was the Old Bridge Bar or, as it was also known, Nicko's bar, which was on the corner at the end of Rosbercon Hill. This was owned and run by the very popular gentleman, Nick O'Brien, who was married to the much-loved Kathy O'Brien.
There was Roche's pub, which was owned by Jack Roche. The Shamrock Arms is now The Parish Pump. Joe Whelan's pub was another local pub. Tom Doyle owned and ran Doyle's pub. Out of all five local pubs, one remains, The Parish Pump.
The local shop in Rosbercon was Ned and Breda Mackey's, which is opposite the mart. The mart used to have up to 1,400 cattle every Saturday. Ned and Breda are now retired and the shop is closed.
Doherty's shop was owned by Mickey and Mary Doherty and it was opposite Nick O'Brien's pub. There were three houses there in a row: Doherty's shop, a bicycle shop and a house.
There was a grocery shop called Grace's. This is where most people in Rosbercon bought their groceries. Beside Nick O'Brien's pub was Modern Motors Fiat and a Lancer dealer which opened in 1974 and closed in 1987.
Modern Motors was owned by the late John Connick and ran by him with the help of all the family, Seán, Helen, Bernie, Anthony and John's wife Margaret. Modern Motors also had a car yard which was behind Doherty's shop. This was where all new cars were brought in on the rollon/roll-off ships, which came to New Ross. Where the shop and Modern Motors car yard was is now the Opel garage. DOYLE'S SHIPPING Doyle's shipping yard for grain was taken over by Germinal seeds it in the late 1970s. In 1985 Seán Connick and John Connick purchased it and used it for storage and a warehousing business. Their tenants were Tayto crisps, Irish Pride Bread run by the late Bob Quinn, Heineken and Hartmann furniture.
Seán and Lourde then opened Riverside fitness centre in 1986 and closed in 2000. It was sold to developers and the apartments were built.
The old railway station was very popular. It was in operation till the late 1970s. It was used for transporting materials for people and parts for cars for Modern Motors. The parcels brought on the train were loaded onto a horse and cart and people came and collected their materials. The train also transported passengers. August 15 was a traditional holiday in Irelan,d and people of all ages travelled on the train to Tramore and home again.
Where the Moorings apartments are now was Stafford's very busy coal yard, which has now moved to Raheen. New Toyota cars were stored there for years when the coal yard closed. LUKE DOYLE'S YARD Between that compound and Modern Motors was Luke Doyle's yard where he kept his horse stables. How times have changed! Luke use to ride out his horses every morning at five to avoid any traffic. Though there weren't as many cars as there are today, it was still busy with people walking and cycling.
Luke also rode his own horses across the old railway bridge, which is no longer in use. Luke also was a taxi driver – or hackney car driver as it was known back then. Luke used to drive the Rosbercon team to their matches or anyone who needed his service.
Bob Saunders ran the running club and James Murphy ran the GAA organisation, which was the Rosbercon team called St Canice's. The boat club, which is still open today, was quite popular too. The members of the boat club own it and still do.
Albatros and Stafford's were the biggest employers in Rosbercon. The military barracks in Rosbercon helped to train soldiers for the Irish army, and is now home to William Roche. Stafford's shipping yard on the Waterford road was set up years ago and is still in operation today. THE BRIDGE The bridge that joins Rosbercon to New Ross today was built by Pat Gorey. Building the bridge was Pat's very first job and he stayed with the same firm till he retired. The bridge is called a high-skirt bridge because of the shape of the arches.
ROSBERCON AND ANFIELD
The next time you see a football match in Anfield, Liverpool, just be aware that there is a connection between Anfield in Liverpool and Anfield in Rosbercon. The family of Graves was involved in a lot of the business scene in New Ross. From 1811 to 1986 they had a builders providers and sawmill on the quay of New Ross. From before and after the Famine they were very well known as a firm for ship builders and shipping agents – one of their most famous ships was the Dunbrody. There were many ships crossing the Atlantic bearing the Graves name bringing the lucky locals who could afford the fare away from the Famine to the US.
Robert Samuel Graves left his home in Rosbercon Castle and headed off to Liverpool around the year 1860. Robert took on the running of the Graves Shipping Company in Liverpool, his popularity soared, and he was elected mayor of Liverpool. He was also an MP around 1865. Robert held his seat until he died in 1873.
When he was mayor, he decided to put through a proposal to develop grounds on the outskirts of town – this was to be for the Liverpool Football Club. The grounds ran behind the Graves family business. Robert then proposed a roadway up to the grounds and named it Anfield Lane after the lane beside his home, Rosbercon Castle, which was also called Anfield lane. Robert Samuel Graves brought a small bit of his hometown with him to Liverpool.
A CHAT WITH NICK O'BRIEN
A resident of Rosbercon for 50 years, Nick O'Brien very kindly gave me and my friend Denise McGrath his time to chat about the olden times. Nick is one of the most loved and popular locals of Rosbercon. Nick has been living here in Rosbercon for 50 years and thinks it is a lovely place to live and always has been. Nick misses but will always remember all his late friends who were part of the Rosbercon community. He believes that the community has changed so much over the years and he recalls a group of young males sitting at the wall of the holy statue. Before heading home they would call into Nick's bar and have a drink and a chat. There are only four original Rosbercon residents living here. Nick was part of the local town council and was chairman four times. In those days the councillors' work was all voluntary. Out of all the councillors at that time, one third were from Rosbercon. Nick got a great honor of being appointed as a peace AASS PPAARRTT ooff mmyy rreesseeaarrcchh II iinntteerrvviieewweedd aa nnuummbbeerr ooff ppeeooppllee iinn RRoossbbeerrccoonn aanndd tthheessee aarree ssoommee ooff tthhee ccoommmmeennttss tthheeyy mmaaddee:: - The business community is doing well and is still going strong today. Local businesses such as Vibe hairdressers, Pa Pa Thai, Swans restaurant, Tony's Chipper, a local shop and a Polish shop keep the community spirit alive. - Many people agree that Rosbercon is still a close community and everyone in it looks after everyone, despite all the changes down through the years. - Residents of The Moorings apartments are happy living there. - One non-national that has been living in the Moorings apartments for over two years with her three children, Liuana Coj, originally from Lithuania, told us that most friends she has are either Polish or Lithuanian, but she feels that the Irish are very kind and welcoming and thinks Rosbercon is a great place for her kids. commissioner by Minister Jerry Collins. He summed up by saying; 'We lost an Ireland and a culture we will never see again and I don't think it is for the better.'
A VIBRANT COMMUNITY
While many things have come and gone, residents born and died, emigration and a new nonnational community, the essence of Rosbercon remains – a vibrant, warm and busy community.
I would like to give a big thank you to the Connick family, Nick O'Brien and the other friends and residents that I interviewed for providing me with information.