by ehistoryadmin on September 6, 2022

The Old Potato Market, Naas

Karel Kiely

‘The Trustees of the Naas Protestant Orphan Institution are prepared to receive offers for the purchase or taking on lease of the above premises. Tenders to be sent to the Rev. W. A. Campion, Narraghmore Rectory, Ballytore, Co. Kildare, not later than 22nd March, and to be accompanied by a statement setting forth the purposes for which it is proposed to use said premises.’

The above advertisement appeared in the Leinster Leader on 13 March 1926.  According to evidence given to the State of Fairs and Markets Commission (Ireland) which was published in 1855, there had been a potato market in Naas since ‘time immemorial’. ( It appears that the potato market was also used for other produce such as butter, wheat, oats, mutton and bacon. The livestock markets were held at the Fair Green. In the 1840s it was referred to  as the Naas Potato and Butter Market (Leinster Express 21 March 1840).

Following the setting up of the Naas Town Commissioners in 1855 under the Towns Improvement (Ireland) Act 1854, the commissioners could levy a town rate to deal with paving, lighting, draining, cleansing, supplying the town with water, and other matters relating to the regulation of the town. One of the first things they sought to regulate were markets. In November 1857 the Town Commissioners gave notice that ‘from and of the Monday the 7th of December A Public Crane will be erected in connexion (sic) with their Ouncil House where all commodities can be fairly and justly weighed at the following charges’. On 5 December 1857 Denis and Philip Caffrey were appointed porters to the Potato Market at the rate of 1 shilling a day each.

By 30 January 1858 one of the Commissioners was proposing that as ‘the present charges at the Butter Market are not sufficient to the expenses, it is order that the following charges be adopted:

All lumps up to 7lb – 0½

From 7lb to 14 lb – 1

Above 14lb – 1½

Cools – 2’.

Some of the evidence collected in Naas as part of the Local Government and Taxation Inquiry Commission (Ireland), Part III, 1877, relating to the ownership of Naas Corporate property, including various transfers to Lord Mayo and its use to support Protestant orphans, was reproduced in the Kildare Observer, 17 May 1884, and can be accessed at


Further Reading:

Select Committee on the Butter Trade (1826)

Select Committee on Tolls and Customs at Markets and Fairs in Ireland (1826)

Local Government and Taxation of Towns Inquiry Commission (Ireland): part III: report and evidence, with appendices (1877)


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