There were some unusual occupations in Limerick including in 1846 when John Egan, Thomas Street, and William Woods, Mungret Street, were both engaged as curled hair manufacturers. By the time of his death two years later, William Woods was employed as a feather merchant on what is now O’Connell Street. The Tuite family who in the 1870s and 1880s were carriage trimmers. Carriage trimmers were responsible for the upholstering of carriages. In 1901, a William McClean originally from Monaghan was staying in Hartstonge Street. His occupation was given as a colporteur, someone employed by a religious society to distribute bibles and other religious tracts. In the 1910s, there was a Jamaica Banana Agency operating out of 3 Upper Denmark Street. The telegram address for this business was ‘Bananas, Limerick’. The bananas arrived in Limerick in an unripened state, which makes for much easier transport as unripe bananas are more resistant to spoilage and bruising than ripened fruits. The immature fruit was then placed in special rooms filled with ethylene gas, which ripens the fruit to maturity ready to sell on the local market.
Oyster Saloons were popular in nineteenth-century Limerick, though in the 1860s they had a seedy background. In 1868, David Muckford of Lower Cecil Street was fined 20 shillings for ‘entertaining six prostitutes at his counter at ten am on the 29th and with allowing a prostitute and a young man to occupy a private room off the shop at the same time’.
By the turn of the twentieth century, the association with the sleazier sections of society dissipated. In the 1910s there were two Oyster Saloons in the city which were restaurants that specialised in serving oysters along with alcohol. These were run by the Mannix brothers at 34 Cecil Street and James O’Donovan at 2 Lower Glentworth Street. The Mannix brothers were Patrick Joseph, James, Cornelius, John, and Michael who all lived together above the saloon. Only one of the brothers, James, married, and by 1901, he was widowed. The business continued as an oyster saloon until 1930 when the two remaining brothers Patrick Joseph and Michael sold it to Michael Collins. It was later taken over by his son Tom Collins whose name remains above the door. Patrick Joseph passed away in 1939 at the ripe old age of 96 while Michael outlived him by six years, passing away at the age of 91 in Barrington Street. During the Second World War, oysters were not available to purchase and so by 1945, Michael Collins was no longer selling them on-site and his restaurant license was almost revoked. The case was taken to the High Court where it was decided that the lack of oysters was outside of Michael’s control and he retained the license.
Thomas Brodie, a dentist, (through the diligent research of Eugene Carbery it is believed that this was Terence Brodie. The error came from the 1840 Triennial directory and Brodie’s use of his initial T. in his advertisements) was advertising his skills as a surgeon. He stated that could insert the newly invented mineral teeth into the mouth of those who suffered from tooth rot. These mineral teeth he claimed could ‘resist the action of the strongest acids or a most intense heat’. He also suggested that his patients should use his own brand of toothpaste after the surgery. To avail of his services, patients could visit his home at 9 Glentworth Street.
Cannock’s was one of the most popular department stores in the city for over a hundred years. During the 1880s the company offered the unusual service of an undertaker. They advertised that ‘coffins supplied on the shortest notice, at about half the prices usually charged’.