P. Barrett & Co. CARRICK-ON-SHANNON
National Inventory of Architectural Heritage 2003: Campbell’s Londis Supermarket
“Pair of terraced two- and three-bay, three-storey houses, built c.1820, now used as a supermarket. Late-19th century timber sash windows to upper floors and decorative yellow terracotta chimneypots to the rendered stacks. Mid-twentieth century flat-panelled timber door and overlight. Integral carriage arch to south end. Extension to rear. Fronts onto street.
“P. Barrett & Co.” was one of the largest wholesale houses and employers in the West of Ireland.
Established in 1846 at "108 Main St" (now Bridge Street) "P.Barrett & Co." traded in Carrick-on-Shannon for 77 years; from the time of the Great Famine through to the establishment of the Irish Free State. The Barretts of Carrick-on-Shannon were known as merchant princes in their day, and were intrumental in the advancement of the town during this historic period.
Its founder, Patrick Barrett Esq. (1814-1878) was married to a Dillon of Ballaghdereen (a well-known political and merchant family) and went on to become leader of the Liberal Party in Carrick. The splendid organ in St. Mary’s Church was donated by Patrick Barrett Esq. and the names of his descendants can be seen on many of the beautiful stained glass windows there. He also contributed to the building of St Mel’s Cathedral, Longford and the O’Connell Monument, Dublin.
Slater’s 1867 Directory of Ireland lists three Barrett shops in Carrick:
• Patrick Barrett (1814-1878) merchant & publican (i.e. P. Barrett & Co.)
• Thomas Barrett, grocer and freight agent (his brother, and President of the Carrick branch of the Land League)
• Edward J. Barrett (1842-1925) publican and shopkeeper (his nephew, who emigrated to Louisiana)
All three were descendants of Matthew Barrett (1759–1816) of Finnor House, Croghan. Of the above-named Barrett premises in Carrick, only "P. Barret & Co." had a Spirit/ Publican’s Licence in 1864. Their success was mirrored by Barrett cousins who emigrated and became successful merchants in Christchurch (NZ), in Franklin, Pennsylvania, and in Alexandria, Louisiana (USA).
Patrick Barrett was one of the few Catholics to “own” property in Carrick at that time, and his descendants went on to own far more than a shop. The family portfolio grew to ten properties in Carrick and land nearby, to include the Guinness store-house which is now the Carrick Tourist Info Office. They also owned a house in Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin. Patrick Barrett’s grandchildren were the Pettits of Carrick-on-Shannon, who bought Dunloe Castle, Killarney in 1939 (as a residence).
Sadly this remarkable Barrett merchant family was all but extinct by the third generation. Their good fortune did not extend to health. Out of eleven children, only one Dillon-Barrett lived to see retirement. Their obituaries in the Leitrim Observer made front-page news, often spanning numerous columns.
The Dillon-Barretts & Pettits of Carrick were interred (with the Barretts of Finnor) in the picturesque cemetary at Killapogue, Croghan. The Barretts of Meelick are also buried here.
In 1923, “P. Barrett & Co.” was sold to the Campbells. “Campbell J. B. & Co.” continued trading as a general grocer, timber and hardware merchant until the late 20th century (when the next generation re-branded it as “Londis”). Up until recently, the Bank of Ireland, Bridge Street, Carrick-on-Shannon occupied what was originally P. Barrett & Co. In 2017 the property was advertisied for sale as a "Prime Bank Investment, Bridge Street, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim" for €2,250,000.
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