Detroit is synonymous with being the Headquarters of the US Car manufacturing Industry. There was a time at the start of the 20th Century when it could be fairly said that Edenderry was the “Detroit”, or motor car manufacturing capital of Ireland.
The first motor car manufacturer was William Corrigan. His gravestone at
records that he died on the 3rd January 1946 aged 83 years. 42 years
earlier, in 1902, and at the age of 41 or so, he manufactured a 4 ½ hp car.
Apparently there is a photograph of this car in the museum of the Royal Irish
Automobile Club which has its headquarters in Kildare Street, Dublin. William
Corrigan ran a very successful garage business. According to details recorded
in one of the late Joe Reilly’s books, over 40 people were employed there and
some of the principal customers were O’Brien’s which had 15 Lorries and 8 Vans
and Williams’ Bakery. The garage
business was located at the rear of William Corrigan’s house on Main Street
Edenderry. Joe Delaney succeeded him in the garage business. Later Martin Tuohy
had his shop at the “front of house” and the late Paddy Abbott moved there in
the early 1960’s where he and his family ran a very successful shop and petrol
business. The building is located to the
left of Dr. Emerson’s house and today a mortgage broker conducts business
If you search the internet for “British Motor Manufacturers (1894-1960) you will find “Aylesbury – Alesbury Brothers, Edenderry, Kings County, 1907-1908 – one of the very few cars built in Ireland. A light car using an 8/10hp two-cylinder Stevens Engine. Exhibited at the 1907 Dublin Motor Show, this four-seater was constructed “entirely of Irish wood” and had solid rubber tyres. The “Leinster Leader” gave the following report – “Messrs. Alesbury Bros. are to be congratulated warmly upon the first product of their now motor-building enterprise. The first car turned out by these energetic manufacturers was exhibited at the Motor Show in
during the week
and received very flattering encomiums from experts and others for its
appearance and excellence. It is an 8/10
Horse Power, two-cylinder car, and with the exception of the engine and gear
box was wholly constructed at the Edenderry Works. In the design, accessibility was the chief
aim of the manufacturers. It is fitted with exceptionally strong easy springs
with rubber tyres on ends, the engine sub-frame resting on cross springs on the
front axle, eliminating the vibration from the main frame which carries the
body. It also possesses the specialty of having been designed for solid rubber
tyres. The body of the car is splendidly built, Irish materials having been
used throughout.” Dublin
At the same show Messrs. Alesbury exhibited specimens of wheel and bent timber work for coach and wagon building, and specimens of artillery motor wheels. The enterprise of the firm is worthy of every praise and encouragement, and we sincerely hope that in their new venture they will achieve the successes which they pre-eminently deserve.” The motor registration letters for
since 1920) was IR. The following list
of car numbers is a rough guide to the growing business successes of their
IR Number Owner
8 & 9 Daniel Alesbury
33 Samuel Clarke Kishawanny
43 John J.Kinsella
61 Alesbury Brothers.
70 Edward B Smith
83 Arthur Williams
95 Judge Wakely, Ballyburley
98 Charles C.Williams.
In conclusion it is fair to say that Edenderry, as a small provincial town, was exceptional in having two motor car manufacturers at the development of that industry.