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Cappoquin News

Cappoquin’s corner at Áras an Úachtaráin
Anyone who watched the Late Late Show on Friday evening last may recall the segment in which President Michael D Higgins was interviewed by Ryan Tubridy in the gardens of Áras an Úachtaráin. The president had deliberately chosen the location, seated in front of the memorial to the Irish labour movement and the 1913 Lockout. The statue in the background was a depiction of the emblem of Irish labour, the ‘Starry Plough’. The centrepiece of the memorial is a plough, naturally, but for a few seconds the camera’s focus on the plough blades showed the maker’s mark: ‘Wexford Engineering’.

So what? you say. Well, the so-what here is that this plough may well have been based on a design first built in Cappoquin. When R&F Keane ran the Cappoquin Foundry at what is now Cappoquin co-op yard in the late 19th century, business grew so strongly that the company eventually merged with Hearne’s of Wexford and came to be known as ‘Wexford Engineering’.
However, as the attached letter head clearly shows, the company’s base for many years afterwards remained Cappoquin. Only when it needed to expand further did it eventually leave the confined spaces in Cappoquin and move everything to a large port site in Wexford, around 1907. In doing so, the moulds and designs for many of the machines went to Wexford too, but had been created in Cappoquin.
This was verified for Cappoquin Heritage Group in 2007 by Ian Hearne, and he also confirmed that the Irish Farm Museum in Johnstown Castle, just outside Wexford, has a replica plough, made from the original Cappoquin moulds, on display there. We had it for an exhibition during the 2007 carnival.

This week’s second photo, from the collection of Ian Hearne, shows a cover from one of Wexford Engineering’s catalogues, with the original Cappoquin brand, the star with a ‘K’ in its centre, clearly displayed in the top right corner. If the language looks a little odd, it should, as this catalogue was produced in the Romanian language, for the company’s sales depot in Constanta on the Black Sea. The local representative, Turhan Bey Sall, doesn’t sound like he was a Cornerstone native. However he did also arrange for copies of the Star/Wexford catalogue to be translated into Bulgarian and Turkish, so extensive was the demand for the Cappoquin designed farm machinery in the Balkan peninsula. Believe it or not, they had a similar depot in Durban, South Africa for many years.

 

Wexford Engineering letter head

letter Head

Cover from one of Wexford Engineering’s catalogues
Catalogue Cover

 
     
 
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