The above premises, known locally as Dooley’s Corner, was once the White Hart Inn, a famous hostelry where, from the middle window on the first floor (above the door), Daniel O'Connell, "The Liberator" addressed a crowded square. The street from here rises up in from the premises along Castle Street forming a natural amphitheatre. It is said that his voice rang out loud and clear around the town. It is estimated that a crowd of over five thousand listened to him talk. The first public conveyance from Dublin to Limerick, via Roscrea, stopped here in 1760. At that time the stagecoach journey took four days; later on, the journey was reduced to three days. Road travel was speeded up a lot by Charles Bianconi who used this Inn as a stop on the journey. His charge was “a penny farthing per mile”.
The Freeman’s Journal of July 1st 1828 has this account of O’Connell’s progress through the county from which this snippet referring to Roscrea is taken:
The Freeman’s Journal
DUBLIN: TUESDAY, July 1. - CLARE ELECTION. - ENTRY OF MR. O'CONNELL INTO NENAGH.
(from a Special Correspondent of the Freeman’s Journal) - Nenagh, Sunday, four o’clock, June 29, 1828
After travelling four stages during the night, we arrived at Boughlone on this morning at half-past four o'clock,' when we were that informed that Mr. O'Connell and his friends, who arrived there at nine o’clock on preceding evening, and slept there, had just set off about ten minutes before our arrival. We pursued, and in consequence of an accident which happened to Mr. O’Connell’s carriage, we came up with them at the “Nine Mile House” about six o’clock. Mr. O’Connell’s carriage was drawn by the people from within two miles of Mountrath to Castletown, a village near three miles this (the Nenagh) side of it. The Learned Gentleman addressed the populace at the former town, and preached to them peace, harmony, brotherly-love, and obedience to the laws. At a quarter to eight o’clock, we all arrived at Roscrea. Mr. O’Connell went to eight o’clock mass, and after prayers addressed the congregation. An Amateur Band played “Patrick’s Day” before Mr. O’Connell, on his way from the Chapel to the hospitable Villa of Mr. Egan where Mr. O’Connell and friends breakfasted. When the band came up to the house of Mr. Palmer, a liberal Protestant Magistrate, they on a sudden, and without any preconcertion, played up the National Anthem of “God Save the King”. Mr. O’Connell spoke to the people of Roscrea, and strongly recommended to abstain from all secret and illegal societies. He also recommended the collection of that “sinew of war”, the Catholic Rent. The “people” then drew him out of town amid the most enthusiastic cheering.