O'Connell Brewery-also known as Garryowen Brewery- was perhaps the best known brewery in
Limerick. It was established by John O' Connell in 1780 on a site
opposite St. Joseph's Hospital between Green Hill Road and Mulgrave Street. This legendary brewery gave direct employment to 40 men.
Its main entrance was through a large gate opposite the present
Market's field gate: on each side was a high wall extending to Garryowen and Mulgrave Street. This wall had a number of square windows similar to those which
may be seen in the old mills of the city and in later years it often served as a
grand stand for numbers of young men who from it had a free view of matches in
the Markets Field, the walls of which were then only about half their present
There was a large two-storey building just where St. John's Avenue is at present. In the centre of the grounds some distance from the end of St. John's Avenue, was a circular pond which supplied the water required for the brewery.
This famous brewery was a godsend to the farmers of the surrounding district, as it provided them with a ready market for their grain crop, which after it had been treated in the factory provided an excellent food source for cattle.
Some of the finest porter in Ireland-Garryowen porter- was brewed at this site. This famous brewery lasted for over 100 years until sadly it was forced to close in 1881.
Afterwards, the brewery was converted into a factory for the manufacture of blood and bone manure. This factory soon closed and was taken over by a milk company until 1895 when a row of houses called Grattan Villas was built Later, Garryowen Villas(1897),Geraldine Villas(1899) and Fairview Terrace(1905) were built on the site. John O' Connell's son-Johnny-was the leader of the "wild raking Garryowen clan." Their infamous deeds and O' Connell's athletic prowess were immortalized in the famous song "Garryowen in Glory."
"For Johnny Connell, the dreaded man
With his wild-raking clan,
Cleared the streets and smashed each lamp,
And made the watchmen all decamp!"