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16 October 2014
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Tracing Grandfather..

Did the Belfast Distilleries have lodging houses for the journeymen who worked there?.

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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 east Belfast.

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.

02871 358793


Your Responses:

Cathal MacCabe - July '08
Hello Phil
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


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