Thursday Doors


For a change, I’m on the inside of my Thursday Doors this week. McCarthy’s Bar is part of the  Old Imperial Hotel, one of the oldest accommodation establishments in the historic town of Youghal, County Cork. The hotel was built in the 18th Century and was used as a stage coach stop on one of the Bianconi lines.



Carlo Bianconi was born in Tregolo, near Como in Italy, on September 24th. 1786. He was a wild youth, not very scholarly, so his father paid for him to be sent on an eighteen month apprenticeship to the art dealer Andrea Faroni. In 1801, along with three other young apprentices, Faroni and Bianconi crossed the French  Alps and traversed  France on foot, eventually arriving in Dublin in 1802. They were fortunate that their long journey was not in vain, as a fear of continental invasion, at the time, caused the British government to increase restrictions on the admission of foreigners.

They set up shop near what is now the Temple Bar area of Dublin and sixteen year old Bianconi continued to serve his apprenticeship as a street picture-seller. Every Monday his employer, Faroni, would send Carlo down south into rural Ireland with just four pence in his pocket, to cover his expenses until his return on Saturday. We know from the records that he was arrested in Passage East, Co Waterford and held in jail overnight, for selling pictures of Napoleon Bonaparte, Britain’s number one enemy at the time.

Carlo anglicized his name to Charles and in 1804, on the termination of his eighteen month apprenticeship, he decided not to return home but took to the road selling pictures and frames for himself, carrying his wares in a large box, strapped to his shoulders. He eventually settled in Tipperary, serving twice as mayor of Clonmel. He was a very enterprising man and became famous for his innovations in transport.

Bianconi was the founder of public transportation in Ireland, at a time preceding railways, and established regular horse-drawn carriage services on various routes from about 1815 onward. These were known as Bianconi Coaches and the first service, Clonmel to Cahir, took five to eight hours by boat but only two hours by Bianconi’s carriage. Travel on a Bian, as they were called, cost a penny farthing a mile and over the next 30 years a huge network  of transport and communications was established, with Clonmel, Co Tipperary as its hub. In 1833 the Long Car went into production from Bianconi’s coach building premises in Clonmel, enabling him to carry up to twenty passengers, along with cargo and mail deliveries for both  British and Irish Post Offices.

With the advent of railway in 1834 Bianconi realized that his coaching business had a limited future. He immediately began to buy shares in the different rail lines as they were being built and began selling off his coaches and long carts to his employees.


Inside McCarthy’s the doorway leading you from the bar to the bistro, with its traditional stained glass screens, is the original and about 200 years old. Bianconi himself might even have walked through them.



You can see the reflection of the entrance doors in the mirror over a beautiful old cast iron fireplace, which is lit every day in cold weather. I just love those tiles, too.

The wooden ceilings are gorgeous and the old tiled floor is just beautiful. In fact, I love everything about this place, especially the food. We had a full Irish breakfast after taking a long brisk walk on the beach.


Thanks for stopping by to view my Thursday Doors this week, I hope that last image hasn’t left your mouth watering too much. There are lots more doors in various locations to see on Norm’s blog by clicking the blue ‘frog’ link at the end of his post. Feel free to add some doors of your own, anytime from Thursday to Saturday each week.

The Old Imperial Hotel

Charles Bianconi and the Transport Revolution


About Jean Reinhardt

Author of 'A Pocket Full of Shells' an Amazon International best seller, Jean writes young adult and historical fiction. She has been known to shed a tear over Little House on the Prairie.
This entry was posted in Historical buildings, History, Ireland, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Thursday Doors

  1. jan says:

    Sounds like Carlo was a smart guy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah Vernon says:

    What a marvellous post, Jean. I have to reblog it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Thursday Doors | Jean Reinhardt | First Night History

  4. joanfrankham says:

    What a beautiful place, I must check it out next time we are in Youghal.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ludwig says:

    Magnificent doors and windows too! Great photography! These would be starts in Monday Window also! ( )

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dan Antion says:

    I think it’s time for me to visit my favorite Irish Pub. These beautiful photos are making me homesick. Of course, mind is in New York, but.

    In trying to imagine the feel inside with a fire going on a cold night. I think it’s wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful door and stained glass window! I’m so glad I ate lunch before seeing this post. 🙂

    I had a Full English Breakfast the first time I went to London. I didn’t eat again until dinner time that day! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ruth says:

    Beautiful – looks like my kind of establishment! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jim says:

    what an interesting place. loved the pics.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. joey says:

    Wow, that’s all so lovely. I really like the cast iron fireplace and the tiles — wall and floor. )

    Liked by 1 person

  11. jesh stg says:

    What a story, Jean! He had guts crossing the Alps! Had to smile why he was arrested! Ar least they don’t do that anymore. What a success in whatever he undertook! Love the details you highlighted, like the door and the stained glass, and tiles. And of course the food:)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Doors, windows, tiles, and a full Irish. What’s not to love? I feel like having a Guinness for some reason. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  13. Beautiful and handsome whether you are outside or inside. Nice door and spectacular glass. Yes, I’m starving now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Joanne Sisco says:

    From the 3rd photo, I got a hint of all the stained glass. Wow! This looks like a lovely warm place to settle in for a meal on a chilly day.
    This Bianconi guy sounds like he was quite the “mover and shaker” … just the journey on foot from Como to Dublin is pretty amazing! I love these little pieces of history.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Norm 2.0 says:

    I love it all. The doors, the stained glass windows, the tiles, the overall decor. Not a big fan of that much food in the morning but once in a while can’t be bad, right?
    Wonderful post Jean 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Norm. I couldn’t eat a breakfast like that every morning but my dad did when he was working in construction as a carpenter. After a long fast walk on the beach I had definitely worked up an appetite, though. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Vicky says:

    What a lovely place for breakfast ! Beautiful doors, glass and tiles and a plate full…what more could you ask for!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Aquileana says:

    So beautiful, Jean… I am fond of vitraux… McCarthy’s reminds me of some old coffee stores here in Argentina… Mainly of the Café Tortoni. 🙂 Sending all my best wishes. Aquileana 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Aquileana. We had another nice breakfast there yesterday. Mustn’t make a habit of it, though, not unless I intend on working in construction or some other high calorie burning occupation 😉


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