tomcatThe TomCat Street Festival runs over the June Bank Holiday weekend on Thomas Street and Catherine Street. You can view photographs and other events on their facebook page.

We were asked to create a walking tour for the festival. This tour took place on Friday 30 May at 7pm and covered everything from the naming of Thomas Street  to Todd’s Fire and a whole host of interesting tales in between including the following:

Thomas Street came into its own in the 1830s, when 20 families of the Nobility/Gentry had made their homes there.

  • In 1830 a young doctor Thomas Carey was due to be married but took ill and died on his wedding day, his last words being “Oh death where is thy sting, Oh grave where is thy victory”
  • 1840 There was a theatre called Queen’s theatre opened in 1840 the first acts were The Scottish Outlaw and the Widows Victim.
  • 1840s Mr Unthank on his death left a prevision for his wife of a house and £100 a year as long as she remained unmarried.
  • 1846 – John Laing, a jewellers and silversmiths, Watch and clock maker. John Laing died in 1848.
  • 1856 – Eliza Hill, a provisions merchant.
  • 1870 – Edward Beveridge, an auctioneer and Anne Brewe, a dressmaker and milliner.
  • 1870 beautiful granary was built at Number 53, it was the home of the Purcells who were used it as a piano warehouse in 1884 and a spirit store later.
  • 1879 – Miss O’Brien, a dressmaker.
  • 1886 – 1891 Mrs. Eakins, a dressmaker. Also in 1891 J. McNamara, a Grocer and wine & spirit merchant.
  • In the 1890s, Number 6 Whitaker & Co. were gunmakers, they had moved here from Ellen Street where they had been gun makers from the 1870s.
  • 1896 a Thomas Cleeve who resided in Thomas Street was taken to court for causing an obstruction and annoyance on the corner of Thomas Street and Augustinian Lane by placing a “machine” there. he was fined 1 pound.
  • 1890- 1914 – Mary “Minnie” Jordan and her daughters Sarah and Delia worked as dressmakers.
  • 1901 Hotel Penelope Sheehy hotel Number 48 and Fox’s Bow Hotel, visiting was an artist from India entrance to the hotel was in Number 31 and extended over bow.
  • 1914 Number 18: The Limerick branch of Cumann na mBan was founded on 5 June 1914 in the Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge) rooms, with over 100 women joining. Madge Daly became President. Her brother Edmund and brother in law Tom Clark were executed for actions in 1916 rising. Her sister Kathleen Clark became the Mayor of Dublin.
  • 1920 There is a sign which is written both in English and Irish: “To the memory of Michael Scanlan Commandant 4th Battalion of East Limerick Brigade I.R.A. Killed by British Forces at this spot on 27 October 1920. Erected by Comrades and Relatives“. Michael Scanlan was a teacher in Kilmallock and the Commander of the 1st Galtee Battalion of the IRA. He was originally from Gabally. He had been taken prisoner after being on the run on 26th of October 1920 and the following day he was in a van on his way to the William Street RIC Barracks. At about 3pm on a Wednesday, while the van was parked outside the Barracks unloading another prisoner, Michael, made his escape. Although he was still handcuffed he ran the length of Little William street under a hail of fire and into a basement in Thomas Street. It was here that he was shot in the neck and stomach. He would succumb to the wounds at 7:45 that night. The following day his coffin, draped in the tri-colour, was driven through the city and as it passed the William Street Barracks the flag was removed by a military officer.

Limerick Leader 31 May 2014