5 Fergus Lyons

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Stop 5: number 23 brown street

This is number 23 Brown Street. It was home to Fergus Lyons in the 1950s. Fergus is an artist. He drew and painted lots of pictures of the Curraghmore Estate and all its beautiful trees. A picture of his was placed in the Oireachtas after an exhibit of his in the Irish Arts Centre in 1979. He also painted a lot of pictures of Portlaw for the community for the millennium. Some of these paintings are displayed around the town in shops and the community centre.

Most of the houses on Brown Street were built by the Malcomsons for their workers. One man we met told us that two families used to share the one house. Each family got to live in the house for twelve hours a day. One family went to work (the children went to school) and the other family came home to eat and sleep. We didn’t find this in our books, but it is an interesting story. Another man we met told us that Brown Street is called Brown Street because all the doors used to be painted brown. The workers used to get the paint from the factory.

Notice that all the roofs are semi-flat, with a timber truss, covered with tarred cloth. This is known as the “Portlaw Roof”. It is one of the unique things about our town, which, by the way, is a planned town. The Malcomsons were reading books by a man called Robert Owen who was all into planning towns around an industry. The more you walk around Portlaw, the more you will figure out the way the town is shaped. The town is said to have had gas lighting way before many of the big cities in England.

 

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