Have you ever heard of Charles Bianconi? The Irish probably have: Bianconi revolutionized public transport in Ireland in the early 19th century. An immigrant in 1802 from Costa Masnaga, Italy, he founded a network of coaching routes that covered Ireland from Belfast to Cork from a terminus that began at the Hearn Hotel in County Tipperary on July 6th in 1815. The first Bianconi carriage was a two-wheel horse drawn cart that carried three or four passengers. The new venture, known as the Bianconi Coach Service for private passengers, made the 30-year-old immigrant the ” King” of the Irish roads.
Bianconi quickly expanded his fleet to 900 horses and 67 coaches.
Travel on one of these “Bians” as they were to become known, cost one-penny farthing a mile. Such demand was there for his transport that over the next 30 years a huge network of communications were established, with Clonmel, Co Tipperary as its hub. Huge employment was also now created from this growing transport business. The year 1833 saw the “long car” go into production from his coach building premises in Clonmel which enabled him to carry up to twenty passengers, plus cargo and mail deliveries for both British and Irish Post Offices. Here in Thurles, his depot was situated in O`Shea`s Hotel which today trades as McLoughneys, a ladies clothing boutique. The stables where he fed and changed his horses between journeys still exists, relatively unchanged, to this very day and are situated at the rear of Ryan’s Jewellers shop, Liberty Square, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.The advent of railway in 1834 brought home to Bianconi the realisation that his coaching business had now only a limited future. He immediately began to buy shares in the different rail lines as they were being built. He began to sell his coaches and long carts to his employees who had worked for him. – Thurles Information