Throughout the year Nenagh 800 will profile businesses and people from around the town. Out first profile looks at The Nenagh Guardian.
The founder and first Editor of the The Nenagh Guardian in 1838 was John Kempston Jnr, a Clonmel native. The Guardian was printed twice weekly and published at an office on Castle Street.
In 1858, George Prior of Barrack Street, Nenagh, bought into the paper and moved its works to its present location today at 13 Summerhill. After his death in 1864, his brother Adam took over, and his wife Margaret became proprietor in 1891 following his death. Their son Gabriel took over in 1894.
In 1916, John Nolan, Knockalton; James O’Brien (Solicitor) Castle Street; Jeremiah Ryan, Oldcastle, Doon and Nenagh, and Patrick J Ryan of Barrack Street bought it from Gabriel Prior and formed the Nenagh Guardian Company. Thereafter it became a weekly publication. A young Dermot F Gleeson of Nenagh was Editor from the takeover until December 1917 when he left to study at UCD. The company appointed founder-member Jeremiah Ryan to act as Editor in a part-time capacity and the paper now had a definite nationalist tone.
Following Jerry Ryan’s death in 1928, Daniel J Gleeson of Castle Street was appointed Editor-Manager. He died in a car accident in 1940 while delivering papers to customers. Padraigh Ó Meadhra, a teacher in CBS Primary School, held the position on a part-time basis from 1941 to ’45, followed by Niall Murray (Solicitor), until 1948 when Michael Gantly, a retired Irish Army Lieut-Colonel, was appointed Manager.
When he retired in 1960, Patrick J Ryan, a founder member of the Guardian Company that had bought the paper back in 1916, became Managing Director. He held the position for 20 years until his death at the age of 91. Michael Moylan was Acting Manager from then until April 1981 when Patrick A Ryan, son of the late Managing Director, and Mrs Bridget Nolan, widow of the late John Nolan (one of the 1916 purchasers), joined the paper as Joint Managing Directors.
Borrisokane’s Gerry Slevin (below left) was appointed Editor in 1989 and he was succeeded by the paper’s current Editor, Garry Cotter, (below right) in 2004.
The paper has recorded many momentous events over the last 18 decades, from the Great Famine and mass emigration of the nineteenth century, through two World Wars, the struggle for Independence, the Civil War and on to the economic boom at the turn of this century. The company also boasts a printing division which includes wedding stationery, newsletters, posters and corriboards.
The paper is one of the oldest news publications in circulation anywhere in Ireland and remains in family ownership.