|Car Proprietor: Patrick Geraghty, 1860-1947.|
Listen. Do you hear them? 'Clip, clop, clatter, clip, clop, clatter', the strikes of horses' hooves, the roll of wooden wheels, the shifting and jaunting of carriages travelling along the streets of Dublin City. Tanned leather reins are drawn hard back, the racket stops, and willing captives are drawn out from their rolling seats. The horses shake against the bit, snort and whinny, and impatiently clap their hooves against the stone. Steam emits from their noses, spent muscles lax momentarily at rest, glossy coats glisten in the light rain, until the crack of a whip orders them 'Away!'.
In the late 19th and early 20th century you might have come across my paternal great-grandfather Patrick Geraghty as master of the whip, driving such a horse and carriage through the cobbled streets of Dublin City.
In 1887, Patrick Geraghty, his wife Margaret Toole and their baby Thomas, moved from County Mayo to Dublin. They began their urban life in a poor area of town, living in a tenement on Townsend Street, with Patrick working as a labourer; however, sometime between 1889 and 1895, Patrick's working life changed from that of a labourer to that of a 'car-man', piloting fly carriages, hansom cabs, landau carriages and the like.
By 1899, the shingle over the 'car' proprietorship at 6.5 Bow Bridge in Dublin bore Patrick Geraghty's name. No longer an employee, he was now an employer, and over time his business grew to become a great success. In the early 20th century when the horse drawn carriage gave way to the horseless carriage, Patrick's proprietorship made the change too.
It is alleged that during the Irish War of Independence, Patrick's car company provided vehicles to the British army, but I have yet to find definitive proof of that claim. Whether or not he worked for the British, Patrick was able to wrangle some pretty impressive clientele, including Mr. Jameson of the famed distillery, as well as the controversial Lord Lieutenant French, Viceroy of Ireland. By the time of his death in 1947, Patrick had long since sold the business. He and his family were 'independently wealthy', and had been living in one of the finest areas of Dublin.
Sometimes when I am walking in Dublin, I hear the sound of horses' hooves striking the blacktop of the roadways, or see a carriage spiriting joyful tourists around the city centre, and I pause for a moment to think about my great-grandfather Patrick. Since this is a Sepia Saturday post, in order to evoke the feeling of the time period in which he worked, I have edited these images to give them a vintage look.
Although present-day car-men, jarveys and coachmen, are rarely seen in drivers' hats and frock coats, still I might imagine my great-grandfather dressed just so, sitting atop a grand landau and cracking the whip, in his driving life of so long ago in Dublin City.
|A horse and carriage at St. Stephen's Green, |
perhaps similar to one owned by my great-grandfather.
|Looking right, while turning left, good thing the horse knows where he's going.|
|Splendid in red, trotting away from Christ Church Cathedral.|
|A gentle gait for moving past the Georgian Houses of Mount Street Crescent.|