The Chapel Lane
Off the centre of the 11ain Street, this road passed through Colonel Fitzustace Foster's demesne.
On the corner of the entrance to the Lane was a high ten foot wall bounding the Colonel's mansion, Swords House. On the corner
ain Street was a big double leaved bronze gate in orna'iented design of metal tracing. It was ten feet high
and about twelve or fourteen feet wide. Inside the gates was a picturesque lodge with Gothic lattice-paned windows. There
was a curved short avenue leading to a four storey mansion in brick, faced
with white cut stone.
There were steps leading up to the front door and an area basernt surrounding the ground floor. it was a large square
building with at least thirty or forty rooms. The grounds were planted with ornamental flowers and shrubs and a grove of evergreen
Irish oak fronting the boundary wall on the lain Street. . ll the demesne was planted v.-Lth or aTeental shrubberies and forest
trees including a large walled in orchard and
• garden and elaborate stables and farm buildings at the rere,
some distance from the house.
In the other corner of the Lane entrance, there was a harness maker's workshop, a low two storey house with a very large
window on the ground floor. This window had a wide sill about a foot off the ground, which was a famous resting place for
out of work labourers and other loiterers. The harness maker had his bench all along the inside of the window where he plied
his needles on the harness and had a corialete view of all that happened in the pain Street, as he faced the window from his
seat in the middle of the bench. He was lame in the legs as a result of some illness, but was a very intelligent and interesting
character. He could relate stories and tales, took a keen interest in the politics of the John Redmond Home Haile Party, had
some conjuring tricks which he displayed to mystify the young boys who were priveleged to enter his workshop.
Many discussions and debates took place around his bench while he plied his needles in the leather. There was a big pile
of straw in one corner of the shop which he used to stuff head collars and straddles with, and an odd out of work labourer
was allowed to have a nap there on occasions.
On Sundays when the shop was closed, a select party played half-penny twenty five card games, or 2d. nap on Sunday evening
in the harness maker's workshop. The Lane up as far as the Church was bounded by the high wall of the demesne on one side
and a lower boundary wall on the other side. There were a long row of wallnut trees drooping over the top of the demesne wall,
and boys used to knock down some of the walinuts with stones or sticks when the nuts were nearly ripe.
The Church was fronted with two large double gates and two side gates. Just inside the gates, there were two high bushes
of hawthorn, one with white blossoms and the other with red blossorns, and the Graveyard surrounded the Church sides and for
a long distance behind the Church. The Church was a simple building with a small spire and steps in front to the organ loft.
There were three doors in front.
There was a shrubbery of tall cypress trees on one side of the Church outside the Graveyard. On the other side of the
Lane, flanking the Church, there was in the demesne, a grove of huge tall elm trees and on their top branches there were big
rookeries of crows with up to thirty or forty nests. The trees were very high and higher than the Church.
This often reminded. me of the Rookery described in Dickens's David Cooperfield. When in the Church, you could hear the
cawing of the crocus as they flew around their nests and in March you could watch them carrying twigs in their bills to repair
their nests. Although the elm grove was forbidden ground, we boys often crossed the wall and sometimes we would catch a young
crow which fell out of the nest. There was a pathway across this grove to the Parish Priest's house, with a wicker door in
the wall near the Church.
This was a privilege given by the Colonel, who was a Roman Catholic, to facilitate the Priest coming to say Mass. This
pathway was flanked with laburnan, lilac and other ornamental shrubs growing under the elm trees, and a little wood bridle
over a small stream before you entered the grounds around the Priest's house. It was a beautiful grove and the ground was
all studded with primroses, bluebells and violets.
The wall bounding the Churchyard had a number of iron rings in the wall at intervals, to tie up the ponies and horses
which brought the people in outlying districts to Mass in various designs of cars, gigs, traps, outside cars, etc. A man named
Jack Salmon, who was a cattle drover and general messenger in the town, had the self appointed task of minding the horses
during Mass time. He was there outside the Church with his ash plant and made an honest few shillings in tips from the farmers
around the country who drove to mass