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Impressive Collection Of Carrigaline Pottery On View In New Men’s Shed

Writes Leo McMahon


Playing a very important role in preserving the memory and legacy of Carrigaline Pottery is the local Men’s Shed with a display cabinet and rare photographs of an industry that operated for 75 years and at one time employed well over 300 people, mostly from South Cork.


A founder member and current vice chairman of Carrigaline Men’s Shed, Dick Jenkinson told The Carrigdhoun Newspaper how it came about. ‘The parents of my wife Christine, Joe and Bridget O’Flynn worked at the pottery and down through the years, Joe would purchase a new product and bring it to the family home at Bothar Glas near Ballea Bridge. If pottery was chipped, it was put into a shed and a new set of ware bought.’


Over the years this became quite a collection and when the new Men’s Shed was built, Dick brought the pottery he had for display at the end of the large social activities/music room.


A lot of pottery was donated by Men’s Shed member Kevin Meaney along with excellent old photographs and there were donations from others as well, including ware from a former dwelling house in Main Street occupied by the Murphy sisters, Ethnea and Kathleen, which is today part of Barry Collins’ SuperValu coffee shop/deli. This was collected prior to demolition by shed members Finbarr Heas and Barry Cogan.


The pottery on view with the inscriptions ‘Carrigaline Pottery’ ‘Carrig Ware’, Carrigdhoun Pottery’ includes plates, cups, saucers, jugs, bowls, vases, tea pots, feet warmers (hot water bottles for the bed) and Irish souvenir pottery including a high cross.


There is also an interesting collection of mugs representing the GAA counties as well as examples of popular Carrigaline Pottery utility ware which was to be seen in many hotels and businesses as well as homes throughout Ireland over the decades. There is a sample collection in the National Museum, Dublin.


Pic: Leo McMahon

‘Some of the items are at least 80 years old’, said Dick. ‘It’s so important to save and display what remains because so much has been dumped’.


On the walls of the social room are superb photographs donated by Kevin Meaney showing the actual construction of the factory. Thanks to former pottery workers Thos and Billy Maye, the names of several employees are to be seen in captions compiled by shed member Roger Morrissey.


Additional photographs from The Irish Times showing the skills of workers were kindly donated by Helen Dennehy, Kilnagleary which will be framed and displayed.


Helen told The Carrigdhoun Newspaper that these were discovered by the daughter of a member of the former Carrigaline Historical Society. She came across the photos in the pottery office while clearing it out prior its demolition and her mother passed these on to Helen who subsequently showed these to former pottery workers Jim Moynihan and Dave Murphy, the latter of whom was able to name all those in the pictures.


On a recent visit, Leslie Roberts, Mount Rivers, Carrigaline, grandson of pottery founder Hodder Roberts, paid tribute to the Men’s Shed for providing a safe repository for such an important part of the town’s business heritage.


Further donations of pottery as well as photos, newspaper cuttings and other memorabilia are most welcome. Enquiries to Dick Jenkinson at 086 2058916.


Until perhaps a more central location can be found, there is potential for the development of a museum within the Men’s Shed to preserve the rich historical legacy of Carrigaline and district. A brief history of the pottery which opened in 1928 and closed in 2003, was compiled by a sub-committee of Tidy Towns last year to coincide with the unveiling on Culture Night, September 17th, 2021 of the much admired Carrigaline Pottery sculpture by Mick Wilkins at the Owenabue car park plaza.


The sculpture will eventually be moved to the former pottery site off Main Street (which is due to become an Aldi store) as a permanent reminder of a one-time major employer in the South Cork capital.


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