Welcome to this week’s ‘Why Nenagh’ Post, where I’ll have a look at how confusing it can be to tour around Nenagh for a visitor, but as the Nenagh saying goes: ‘Nenagh, it’s a strangers paradise!’ You’ve heard of the classic U2 tune Where the Streets have no name? Well how about the Streets with more than one name? That’s what you’ll find in Nenagh town, where all sorts of arguments can be started about why you live in Silver Street while your next door neighbour lives in Connolly Street. As far as I know, you see the streets in Nenagh were changed after Ireland gained it’s independence back in 1922, however, not all of the name changes stuck and so the confusion began. But then it was decided in 1966 to have some sort of local vote to finally and officially name these streets. In the aftermath of this the official names were erected on the street corners, but alas, the supporters of the losing names still refused to obey the will of the majority, so to this day most streets in Nenagh have more than one name that it is known by.
Silver Street is one of the four roadways that are connected to the Market Cross in the centre of the town. As far as I can gather it was called Silver Road before Irish Independence since it was the road out of the town that led to the Silvermines Village. Then after independence the street was named after the great patriot James Connolly and so was called Connolly Street. This name didn’t stick for some people who preferred to leave it at the original name. Then in 1966, on the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, there was a local vote to decide the issue. From what I can gather, Connolly Street won out, but the supporters of the original name wouldn’t agree, and began calling it Silver Street. Although there was a sign erected by the local Authority that officially named the street Connolly Street, it appears Silver Street has won through. Mind you, there is a large number of locals who still refer to the street as Connolly Street, so now you know if you go looking for Silver Street and you think you are lost because a local says you’re on Connolly Street you know you’re at the right spot.
Leading directly from Silver/Connolly Street at the far side of the Market Cross is the main street in Nenagh town, so I suppose this street has actually three names. You see, as well as being known as the Main Street, this street is also named as Castle Street, after I suppose the local Nenagh Castle, and also Pearse Street, after the 1916 Easter Rising leader, Patrick Pearse. This street is well known as a great shopping street with a number of high quality boutiques (More on Nenagh’s boutiques in the coming weeks).
Another street that is one of the four connected to the Market Cross, Kenyon Street was named after the Irish patriot Father Kenyon, while it also has the name Barrack Street. The old Garda Barracks used to situated on this street, so this is probably why it got the name Barrack Street. There is as much chance to hear this street being called either name, although the sign erected on the end of the street is Kenyon Street. This is now a very attractive street that has a number of different and high quality businesses, including boutiques, McCarney Antiques, the Peppermill Restaurant and Country Choice, which of course is run by the famous food guru Peter Ward.
Mitchell Street or Queen Street is the last of the four streets that is connected to the Market Cross. To this day, again it is a case that both names are widely used. This is the street that Sonny O’Neill, the man who shot Michael Collins, lived until the day he died.
Another street with two names is Peter Street, which is also known as Kickham Street. This street leads up towards the Nenagh Court House, the famous Rocky O’Sullivan’s Bar is on the right side, the Nenagh Arts Centre is also on the right, while the local Garda Station is on the left. Right in the centre at the top of the street is a small area called Banba Square. There is currently a statue to Christ the King at this spot, while there are also a number of marble engravings in memory to a number of people, including a marble plaque in memory of the 1981 Hunger Strikers.
Another street that has three different names is the road out of Nenagh towards Dublin. For that reason it’s called Dublin Road by a lot of people. This roadway is also called McDonagh Street after the Easter RIsing patriot Thomas McDonagh, who was from the village of Cloughjordan, which could be reached by traveling out the Dublin Road. Another name for this roadway was Spout Road, because of a spout that was situated on the way out of the town.
There are a number of other streets in the town that have more than one name including
1. William Street – Fintan-Lawlor Street
2. Bulfin Crescent – James Connolly Park
3. Pound Street – Sarsfield Street
4. Limerick Road – Clare Street
There are probably quite a number of others that I can’t can’t think of right now, so if anyone likes to remind me of any, please let me know through our Contact Us page. I hope you enjoyed this week’s page, and I hope you check out next week’s post, when I’ll take a special look at the Churches of Nenagh town.
Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee