Family shock as car rammed into 300-year old home

Sian Moloughney

Sian Moloughney

A daring ram-raid attempted robbery in Cashel town centre in the early hours of Sunday morning has caused structural damage to the 300 year old home and business.

The attempted robbery took place at the Tic Toc jewellers at 27 Main Street in Cashel - an address also well known in the town as the home of Mayor Maribel Wood and the title of her husband Tom’s recent book about his family history.

The street level rooms of the building is a jewellery shop run by Tom and Majella Hogan.

According to Tom Wood, a member of South Tipperary County Council, he and his wife Maribel were in bed on Sunday morning when at exactly 6.30am the whole building shook.

“I thought it was a bomb because the house shook. I thought it was someone after blowing up the bank machine across the road,” Cllr Wood expressed his shock. “Maribel thought it was an earthquake.”

However when he went to the sitting room window and saw the bank was undamaged he heard an engine revving and went down stairs to investigate. When he opened the front door he saw a vehicle speeding away, and it was only when he stepped out on to the street he saw the damage that had been caused to the front of his home. “The whole front of the shop was gone,” a very shocked Cllr Wood described the scene.

27 Main Street has been the Wood family home since 1730, when the downstairs shop was an apothecary. It remained a chemist until the death of Tom’s grandfather in 1934. “All that stopped them getting in any further was the old house. I don’t think they realised there were such big, old stones in the base of the wall. They protected us,” Cllr Wood told The Nationalist, adding that he feels very nostalgic about the building. “Those stones haven’t seen the light of day for 300 years.”

“It’s an old house. We pride ourselves on trying to keep the old shop front. We are assessing the damage today and hopefully it won’t have structural damage.”

Cllr Wood said the building was not so damaged as to make it unsafe to live in and he and his wife have been able to remain at home following the incident. “People have been great,” he said of the support for he and Maribel, and the Hogan’s.

Cllr Wood described the ramming as “senseless.”

“If they only wanted to take something out of the window they could have smashed it. We’re only lucky no one met them face-to-face.”

Tom and Majella Hogan have been in business in Cashel for 18 years, until two years ago at Canopy Street before moving to the Main Street premises.

Investigating gardai in Cashel say a 27 year old local man has been arrested and questioned in relation to the incident. He was later released without charge. Gardai are awaiting forensic reports and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The driver of the car, a Focus van, was not injured. He drove away from the scene. The car, which was stolen from Hillview, Cashel, the same morning, was later found, on fire, at a quarry in the remote rural area of Ballykelly, outside Cashel.

Gardai are appealing for anyone why may have witnesses suspicious activity either at Hillview, in the town centre, or on the roads to Ballykelly, on Sunday morning, to contact them with any information they may have.

It is not thought any property was stolen from the jewellers.