Many residents of Ashbourne were very surprised one morning during the summer to see that the premises of Murtaghs Hardware, so long a familiar part of the landscape of the village, were no more. The good news is that Murtaghs is still with us and will relocate in the new building on the site in the future. But what of the past? The firm of Murtagh’s Hardware has been in Ashbourne since the early 1950’s. In 1963 a new shed was built on the site but a ‘great wind’ shortly afterwards caused the roof to blow off. The storage shed we were familiar with was then constructed and the shop was built later.
Older residents will remember that before Murtaghs the site was owned by C.J.Russell and Company and was a cattle sales yard. The cattle yard was here as long as living memory. One resident recalls the open pens with a big shed behind and cannot remember the Sales Yard not being there. Another memory is of “the Mart, Russells, a big red corrugated roof, — in my day just open pens. The men used to be in O’Neills (Foxe;s Den), on a Sales Day – Friday was Sales Day, I think, and they used be given their glasses of stout – with the white foam on top and they used to blow the top off on to the floor”.
The auctioneer, Mr.Russell, is remembered as a “great character, who used to wear a hat and a long coat and a big beard.” Mr.Russell died in 1956. Others remember a boxing match being held in the ring in the Sales Yard!