Bailieborough (Cavan)

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T. O'Reilly, Main Street, Bailieborough, Co. Cavan, Ireland
T. O'Reilly, Main Street, Bailieborough, Co. Cavan, Ireland

Two towns - one shop sign.

The history behind two shops in the towns of Cootehill and Bailieborough has been witnessed in part by a set of shop letters ‘T.O’REILLY.’  These letters were individually made from marbled chamfered ceramics which created a 3-D effect.  Stamped into the glaze on the reverse of each piece is the makers name ‘MacIntyre’

The first of these premises was in Market Street, Cootehill, Co. Cavan.  Where Terence O’Reilly ran a public house and grocer shop.

Terence (1849-1926) was the second son of John Laurence O’Reilly (d. 1863), a farmer.  As Terence was not the eldest, he was not going to inherit his father’s farm.  His older brother John would have that privilege.  Terence got married in 1880 and lived with his wife and two children on the family farm in Corlattylannon.  Then arrangements were made for John to marry.  As a result Terence, his wife and family had to leave.  They went to Cootehill and leased or bought premises upon which this sign hung in Market Street.  Their daughters Catherine and Margaret were born there.  John, his eldest brother died from heart disease on 14 November 1887, according to his death certificate, he had suffered from this for three years.[1]  He was forty-one years old and had been married for just over a year.  As he and his young wife Frances had no heirs, it was most likely decided between both families that Terence and his family would return from Cootehill to run the family farm.  It would appear that her sister and brother-in-law (who lived in Carrigallen) arranged for Frances to remarry.  She was given a handsome dowry and married Charles O’Rourke from Carrigallen, Co. Leitrim on 10 October 1889.[2]

The sign was taken from Cootehill, wrapped up carefully and stored.

Terence (Ted) O’Reilly (1926 – 2004) a grandson of the previous Terence lived in London with his wife Maureen (nee Cooney) and their family.  It was always their intention to return home to Ireland.  The Anglo Celt was posted to them every week and they searched for a property to provide a suitable home and hopefully an income for them. They obviously came across the following advertisement:



We have been instructed by Miss Kathleen Lynch to sell by PRIVATE TREATY the goodwill of her licensed premises at Main Street, Bailieborough.  The premises which is set in the middle of Main Street has a side entrance from Anne St. offers an excellent opportunity to an intending purchaser to do one of the best Bar trades in town. The house on the whole is in excellent condition, extensive repairs having been recently carried out including new roof and windows. Inspection invited. Offers will be received up to Monday, 13th October. For full particulars, apply to: — CROSSON AND KELLY, Auctioneers and Valuers, Bailieborough. Telephone.  Bailieborough 81 and 13.[3]

This public house was known as Charlie Lynch’s.  Charlie had died on 27 May 1961.[4]  His death was reported as follows: - 

Death Of Oldest Publican

There is general regret in town and country at the passing of one of the oldest publicans in Ireland, Mr Charles Lynch, Main St., which occurred on Sunday.  The deceased, who was 97 years of age, was quite active up to his death.  He served in the bar on Saturday evening.  He was 75 years in business in Bailieboro'.  He is survived by four daughters, Mary, who is in America; Margaret, Aida and Kathleen, and his son-in-law. Michael O'Reilly.  The funeral, which took place to St. Anne's cemetery on Sunday, was large and representative.  Rev. J. Young. C.C. officiated.[5]  His daughter Kathleen ran the business after his death.

In 1964 Ted and Maureen O’Reilly purchased the premises, renovated and extended it.  It was renamed ‘The Shamrock Bar’ and they ran the business with from some staff and their family.

The old sign that languished in a box for over seventy-seven years was rescued and raised up over the shop front where it hung for another forty years.  Sadly businesses have suffered economically on the Main Street’s of many small towns and the old sign has been returned to a box in the dark recess of the attic.

Carmel O’Callaghan (daughter of Ted & Maureen O’Reilly).




[3] Anglo Celt, 21 September 1963.


[5] Anglo Celt, 3 June 1961.

Type of Building:

Bar or Pub

Some communities associated with this building

Some ancestors associated with these communities

Some buildings associated with these communities