Catherine Brennan recalls the Arklow town of her childhood.

Born in 1888, Catherine Brennan has seen many changes in Arklow over the years. When she was young, Arklow was a wealthy town. This prosperity came from fishing and the Parnell quarry, but also from employment provided by the Earl of Carysfort and the Earl of Wicklow.

By degrees the fishing failed and the town gradually became poorer. However in 1895 the Kynoch explosives factory was established in Arklow. When the World War I commenced, the Kynoch factory production expanded with the manufacture of explosives for use on the battle fronts.

That was a very big uplift to the town.

At its peak Kynock explosives factory employed up to 5,000 people. The influx of people to Arklow provided prosperity and a great social life that had not previously existed in the town.

However disaster struck in 1917 when an explosion in the factory killed 27 people. The factory did not close because of the explosion, but it did not survive long after the war. The Parnell quarry also closed down, leaving a great void in employment. Catherine Brennan saw many people leave Arklow permanently.


It was a nice happy little town in these days.

Discovery’ was a documentary series broadcast on RTÉ between 1964 and 1967. 'Discovery’, which first aired on Tuesday, 14 January 1964 and touched on many aspects of Irish life with an occasional spotlight on events of particular interest.

This episode of ‘Discovery’ was broadcast on 8 December 1966. The reporter is John Skehan.