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Early History Of College Lane Linking Great Famine Double Ditch

Before St. Patrick’s College, Cathedral Street, Thurles was built, [Now MIC St. Patrick’s Campus, Cathedral Street, Thurles.], the area we know today as ‘College Lane’ was called ‘Bohereen Keagh‘.

See lighter area, framed in red, hereunder on the 1841 Ordnance Survey Map.

Bohereen Keagh (Blind Road).
Special thanks to the research undertaken by historian, Very Rev. Mgr. Dr. Maurice Dooley, Loughmore, Co. Tipperary.

Note the area framed in blue is where the now 175 year old Great Famine Double Ditch would later be built five years on, in 1846. Same was the beginning of a successful effort by local Thurles business men, led jointly by Thurles Roman Catholic and Protestant Clergy, to protect local families from starvation and death, during a time when the ruling British government was effectively turning its back financially on their most westerly province of the United Kingdom.

In the legal papers transferring property from where St. Patrick’s College was initially to be built, which was then on lands, east of Thurles on the Mill Road; (later to move to its present site through a property agreement, between Protestant and Roman Catholic clergy), the right was reserved to widen ‘Bohereen Keagh’, for the use of the Earl’s tenants renting lands at Monakeeba.
That Earl was, of course, Earl Llandaff, the title of the Mathew family who were the freehold owners of the Thurles Estate.

‘Bohereen Keagh’: [Name translated from Irish into English means ‘Blind Road’.] The modern Irish spelling of Bohereen Keagh would be Bóithrín Caoch, the standard Irish for a cul-de-sac, as distinct from a through road.

In the nationalist fervour, following Irish independence in the 1920s, many Thurles streets were renamed to honour Irish heroes or patriots, hence Parnell Street, Croke Street, Kickham Street, O’Donovan Rossa Street, Mitchel Street, Cuchulainn Road, etc. College Lane was officially renamed Eliogarty Road, but the name didn’t take off, with not many people using the name, whereas some older people still used the older name, pronouncing it ‘Boreenkay’ or ‘Bosheenkay’, just as other boreens were also called ‘bosheens’.

Incidentally the original proposed site for the College was in what was then called Killahilla, on the Mill Road on the opposite side, to the Great Famine Double Ditch, and with a now reversal of former nationalistic fervour is now today called ‘Windsor Grove’.

It is a pity that so many of the older names have now fallen out of use. Who now knows the whereabouts of ‘The Boggagh’, ‘The Orchard’, ‘Cloverfield’, ‘Turner’s Holding’, ‘Moanroe’, ‘Obin’s Holding’, ‘The Watery Mall’, ‘The College Leat’, [‘Leatpronounced ‘Late’], and ‘Bolton’s Holding’, which are all within a few hundred yards of ‘Bohereen Keagh’?

Very soon, if Tipperary Co. Council officials and our elected representatives, all demonstrating a lack of experience, wisdom, and judgement, get their way, so too will the 175 year old Great Famine Double Ditch vanish into a similar state of unimportance, unknown and sadly inconspicuous to our resident towns folk.

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1 comment to Early History Of College Lane Linking Great Famine Double Ditch

  • Katie

    I hope George Tipperary Council listen to the town folk and not to destroy a great piece of History. George I went to one of the Charity book shops run by St.Vincents and guess what .I spotted a lovely old hard cover book about the Great Famine in Ireland. You here so many different stories about the Famine in Ireland. So now I will have a great read what really happened. George it was a devastating fire at Killarney National Park. Lost lovely old oak trees and wild life. Another lovely piece of Irish history gone. Take note Tipperary Co. Council and do the right thing by the Thurles Town folk they deserve that.

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