Bailieborough (Cavan)

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Frank McDonalds
Frank McDonalds

The following is from the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (available at


Terraced three-bay two-storey house with integral carriage arch, built c.1780, with shopfront inserted to ground floor. Now disused. Pitched artificial slate roof with clay ridge tiles, rendered chimneystacks over party walls and to side of carriage arch, pressed metal rainwater goods. Smooth ruled-and-lined rendered walls with raised plinth, opening surrounds, block-and-start quoins, and decorative stucco eaves corbels at party walls. One-over-one timber sash windows in raised surrounds with stone sills. Elliptical-headed carriage arch in raised square headed surround with stucco keystone and replacement battened timber door having inset wicket. Timber shopfront to centre bay comprising timber pilasters with carved consoles, surmounted by gabled blocks with decorative trefoil-punched clay ridge tiles, flanking signage fascia with 'F. Mc DONALD' in raised lettering, with glazed and panelled timber door, and fixed timber display window over plain stall riser. Opens directly on to street. 


A fine historic building of modest scale and design, embellished with later stucco detail and a well preserved shopfront. The house is an excellent example of the traditional street architecture of the town and forms an integral part of the urban landscape that makes up the William Street, making a valuable contribution to the character of the town. 

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According to the 1901 Census, Patrick & Bridget McDonald, lived with their children Frank, Henry, Patrick & Laurence.  Patrick was a baker, born in Cornaveigh, Bailieborough on 30 January 1867 to Andrew McDonald, a miller & Bridget Crosson.  Patrick married Bridget McCabe on 12 August 1893, a daughter of Henry McCabe a carpenter.

One of his sons Frank, a carpenter, married Kate Fidgeon from Shercock, a daughter of Francis Fidgeon, a merchant.  They lived in this house in Anne Street, Bailieborough.

In 1927 Frank was making coffins as his tender for the supply of coffins £1 each, was accepted out of four other tenders by the Cavan Board of Health as reported in the Meath Chronicle on Saturday, September 03, 1927

By 1936 Frank's carpentry business was advertised in the Anglo Celt:  'CARPENTRY—Windows, Doors, Tables, Dressers, Wardrobes, Glass Cases, Cabinets, Window Glass and Coffins all supplied at Frank McDonald's Bailieborough.

In 1946 Patrick McDonald died, his death was reported in the Meath Chronicle on Saturday, February 02, 1946 as follows: Widespread regret is occasioned by the death which took place on Sunday of Mr. Patrick McDonald, Bailieboro'. Deceased, who attained an advanced age, was founder of the well-known firm of McDonald and Sons, Bakers and Confectioners, Bailieboro'. He was father of the Rev. Philip McDonald, S.M., London; Messrs. Frank McDonaldBailieboro'; Henry McDonald, do.; Patrick McDonald, Belturbut (formerly of Navan Operatic Society); Laurence McDonald, Andrew McDonald, Bailieboro'; Joseph McDonald, do.; Mrs. Fidgeon, Shercock: Mrs Ryan, Cork, and Mrs. Daly, Newtownmountkennedy.  Deceased was held in very high regard by all who know him.  There is heartfelt sympathy with this esteemed family in their sad bereavement.

In the 1960 & 1970's I remember this sweet shop well, it was around the corner from Main St.  It was on the way St. Anne's National School and lots of children called to Mrs. McDonald, a lovely woman with a wonderful voice, for their 'penny' sweets, which were displayed under a counter, which had a glass top and sides.  The colours of the hard boiled sweets were hard to resist.  Among the delights on offer were Bull's eyes, Sour Apples drops, Fruit salads, Sherbet saucers, Black jacks, Liquorice snakes, Bon-bons, hard and soft toffees not to mention Flash Bars, Macaroon Bars and chocolate of all shapes, she also sold lolly pops and frozen drinks from her freezer.  The children selected the sweets and she carefully placed them into little paper bags.  She was busiest at lunch time and when school was over.  She sat in her kitchen behind the shop when there was no one in.  After she died her son Francie took over, he was blind and had great patience, he had to find the sweets for the children and then slide his hand over the counter to find and count the money.  In due course Francie died and the shop was eventually sold.

In 2013 this shop was renovated by Sean Donegan and turned into a Motor Factors, little has changed on the outside of the building as it was respected and maintained.

Carmel O’Callaghan.





Type of Building:

Business (Shop/Office)

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