Johnsbridge Creamery

In April 1924, a deputation from Johnsbridge and the surrounding townlands approached the Committee of Freemount Dairy Society Ltd. and requested that a separating station be erected in the vicinity of Johnsbridge Bridge. The deputation was well received and a decision was made to agree to the request.

Shortly afterwards, the Chairman and Manager of Freemount Creamery and Messrs.Field and O’Callaghan of the Johnsbridge delegation went to see a building recently erected by Greaves & Co. of Waterford in the Nore Valley area of Co.Waterford. They were not impressed and considered that the price of £750, which that building cost, was too high. The building which was erected was 60 ft. x 75 ft. and constructed of iron pillars with corrugated iron semi- circular roof. Quotations for materials were sought from Cronin’s Stores, Singletons, Kanturk and Mrs.O’Connell, Newmarket. Mrs.M.J.Singleton got the order.

Mr.M.Begley was appointed working foreman at £1 per day. Any further skilled labour, such as carpenters, were to be paid fourteen shillings per day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with one hour for dinner. The labourers were to be hired at thirty shillings per week. The tender for the supply and installation of the machinery was awarded to Southern Engineering Co.Ltd., Cork, owned by the Foley family who originated in Freemount. The amount of the tender was £1,335.

There were a number of meetings held during 1924 between the Johnsbridge group and the Committee in Freemount to agree on share subscriptions and voting rights, etc. The Johnsbridge group consisted of Messrs.William Linehan and Patrick E.O’Connor, Coolageela, Jeremiah E.O’Connor and William Noonan, Bawnmore, James O’Callaghan, Curraheen, John O’Connor, Ballybahallow, William PFie1d and Simon Brislane, Curraghs. William T.O’Connor also took part in some delegations. It was from him that the site had been purchased for £40.

By June 1924, it was time to appoint a manager. Mr.John P.O’Regan was appointed. The defeated candidate for the job was Mr.David J .Barry. Mr.Barry, who died recently, became one of the best known personalities in the dairy industry in Ireland. He was secretary of the Irish Creamery Managers’ Association, The Irish Cream Exporters’ Association, a member of An Bord Bainne and was first secretary of Golden Vale Food Products Ltd.

In August 1924, Con Aherne was appointed engine driver at Johnsbridge and held that job for the rest of his life, until his death in 1967.

Johnsbridge Creamery served the people of the area well until it was finally closed in 1986. It was eventually sold to Mr.Ben Breen, who runs a coal distribution business there.


Michael O’Riordan

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