A livery stable and courtyard existed opposite the old postoffice building
(now a Chinese Restaurant) at the East end of the town, to service people
travelling on this road. Fresh teams of horses were available for hire
at the livery stable when the coaches stopped at the postoffice. The building
also provided some stopover accomodation. Some of the remains of
the original livery courtyard can be seen today adjacent to the Centra
supermarket and car park. These sites were protected once by the Office
of Public Works but unfortunately have made way for redevelopment. The
first postal deliveries by stage coach, in the area, occurred around 1740,
during the time of Robert Fitzgerald, 19th Earl of Kildare.
The original Inn is believed to have been on the site of The
Bridge House bar and restaurant. This building had a thatched roof
until the 1940s. The stage coaches were responsible for the Irish
name of the area, known as 'An Bothar Buí' which means the yellow road.
This name was derived from the yellow mud that formed on the road through
a combination of rain and the churning effect of the wheels on the soil.
Another theory is that the name arose from the yellow colour of the ragworth
vegetation at the sides of the road.
The name Innfield became Enfield towards the end of the 19th Century
when a new postmaster came from the Enfield district in London and decided
to use the same name for the area. Innfield still appears on many maps
as the official name of the area.
Royal Canal construction began in
Dublin in 1790 and this signaled the end of the stage coach era, as the
canals were a cheaper and more efficient means of transport. The stretch
from Dublin to Mullingar opened as a trade route around 1807 and the canal
eventually reached the Shannon in 1817, though the company was heavily
in debt. The decision by the Duke of Leinster to build a spur from the
canal to his country residence, at Carton House, was one of the contributing
factors which finally broke the company.
The canal was sold for £300,000 to the Midland Great Railway Company. The
Railway bought it as a strategic move to subsume the transportation business
of the canal and planned to drain it and lay tracks over its route. Thankfully,
this didn't occur, partly because the line of the canal had too many unsuitable
Unlike the Grand Canal, the Royal Canal was never profitable and was
replaced by Rail Travel in 1847, only
57 years after the project to build it began.
The Mullingar line was opened for public traffic as far as Enfield on July
2nd 1847. The first and second class carriages were divided into passenger
compartments, some with beds, and designed to a high degree of quality
and style. Some carriages were for the exclusive use of women.
Even though rail travel was much quicker, the canal continued to carry traffic
until the 1950s. Both the canal and the railway had stop over points in
Enfield, and this contributed to the development of the area.
It is only now, at the turn of the millenium, that the potential of the
Canal for tourism and as a natural amenity is being realised. The Office
of Public Works took charge of it in 1986 and subsequent investment and
significant restoration means it has great prospects of becoming
popular again as a means of leisurely transport.
The harbour area at Enfield has been completely restored and transformed into
a beautiful leisure park.
Barringtons Hotel, on the site which is now
Flatterys Pub and Restaurant since 1959, grew up as a result of the railway. A number of other
public houses and hostelries emerged in the area because of the influx
The Midland bar has been on
its present site since the late 1800s. The site where the Slíghe Mór pub stands used to have a
hardware shop, bicycle shop and grocery at the turn of the 20th Century.
In the 1940s, the Maugherbawn restaurant (Macaire Bán means White Plain, possibly
referring to the white hawthorn of the surrounding flat area)
and the building progressively changed and developed into a
hotel. Part of the building has now been converted to a betting office.
first Motor Cars were used in the
area around the turn of the 20th century. During the 1940s, the Harris
family had the dealership for Morris cars and Claas combine harvesters
and operated a garage to the rear of Ryans's Newsagents, where WS Motors continues to operate today.