Mrs Phil Doherty writes to ask:
Dear Your Place And Mine
I'm hoping that one of your Belfast listeners will be
able to help me.
I am trying to trace my maternal grandfather, Edward
O'Donnell, in the 1901 Belfast Census.
He was a cooper employed by Watts Distillery, here in
Derry. However when work was scarce in Derry, men like
my Grandfather, would go to one of the big distilleries
in either Scotland or Belfast. The stories which I heard
from my mother would indicate that around the time of
the 1901 Census, he was working in Belfast. The two
main distilleries were at Connswater and Avoniel in
Does anyone know where these 'journeymen' would have
stayed? The Scottish Distilleries had huge lodging houses
where the men could stay. Was there a similar set-up
in Belfast? If I can get some information it will help
me to refine my search area of the Census.
If anyone comes up with some clues, they can contact
me either by email or phone.
Cathal MacCabe - July '08
I'm afraid I have no information about lodging houses
in Belfast but I remember well looking out of the back
window of our house in Marlborough Street and seeing
Watts Distillery in flames. My Father said "Jesus,
Cathal, you are always making up stories ... JESUS!"
I was young at the time.
Hope you find out about your Grandfather, Cathal