Thurles – Looking Back.

Cathedral Street, east of Thurles town centre, in Co. Tipperary has possibly undergone the most change in the last 50 years.

Gone of course is Ryan’s brewery stores, positioned in the monochrome picture hereunder, dividing Church Lane from Kickham Street (The Pike). Same has been replaced by modern shop units and a petrol station.

Image of Cathedral Street, Thurles (formerly known as East Main Street), possibly captured sometime between 1930 and 1940 based on the 1927 Ford Model T. Some 15 million of these cars were sold, and the model, as of 2012, stood eighth on the top-ten list of most sold cars of all time.

It was to this building, according to a traditional story, that a servant was dispatched from the Palace of Archbishop Price, in Cashel, Co Tipperary. Estate manager and the father of renowned Arthur Guinness, namely Richard Guinness, was in charge of supervising the brewing of beer for the estate’s employees on the Archbishop Price estate. Supplying beer to employees at that time was considered part of their weekly entitlement.

The servant had been charged with purchasing and delivering the necessary beer making materials, from Ryan’s brewery stores in Cathedral Street.

Cathedral Street, Thurles, February 2021.
Photo: G.Willoughby.

Later, back in Cashel in the Palace kitchen, the purchased barley was accidentally roasted until virtually black, thus giving that unique burnt flavour known to us today as “Porters Ale” or “Guinness Porter” and described by the then Protestant Archbishop at that time as being “a brew of a very palatable nature.”


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