Isn't it significant that Bianconi should have chosen as his final resting place Boherlahan, the ‘Wide Road’? Surely it was a fitting place for the Father of the Irish Transport System to have his last rest!
In 1996 Boherlahan celebrated the connection between the parish and one, Joachim Carlo Guiseppe Bianconi, who was born near Lake Como on Sept. 24, 1786. The Boherlahan connection is a very strong one and it possesses two very impressive and durable monuments to this extraordinary Italian, Longfield House and the Mortuary Chapel Bianconi built for himself and his family in the parish.
Charles Bianconi purchased Longfield House from Captain Richard Long, the former owner, in March 1846. The residence was surrounded by 623 Irish acres and the cost was £21,000.
Bianconi had arrived in Ireland in 1802 to start his apprenticeship to a fellow-Italian, Andrea Faroni, who carried on a picture-selling business in Dublin. When he completed his apprenticeship he invested his money in a wide assortment of pictures and frames and set out on the roads of Ireland peddling his wares.
For a number of years he trudged the roads of Ireland selling his work.
From his travels he came to recognise the need for a cheap and efficient transport system on the roads of Ireland. He began to turn his mind in that direction and got his opportunity at the end of the Napoleonic Wars when a large number of horses came on the market. Bianconi bought some and started his first scheduled car service from Clonmel to Cahir in July 1815. The business succeeded from the word go and in the course of time Bianconi became a wealthy businessman.
Bianconi came to live at Longfield on September 16, 1846, his sixtieth birthday. He got a fine reception from the people. Bonfires were lit on the roads near the house and a triumphal arch was erected over the avenue gates. The grounds were thronged with tenants and labourers. A band came out from Cashel and there was a dance that night.
In the course of an address thanking the people for their warm reception Bianconi quoted the famous phrase: “Property has its duties as well as its rights.” They should all, according to their state in society, have their rights. The landlord should have his and the mechanic and the labourer as well. He thought that the poor man, who earned a shilling a day has as good a right to enjoyment and to his cabin as the queen on her throne.
Naturally, this kind of behaviour towards the men of no property did not endear Bianconi to the neighbouring gentry. They did not like that a new and self-made man should make such innovations and be an example to them in their duties to their tenants: "The gentry were inclined to look coldly on him and hold themselves aloof but he had a great independence of character and cared little for their hatred. He followed his own way and in the end achieved his purpose and became increasingly respected.”
Bianconi wasn't long settled when he decided to build a mortuary chapel on his estate as a last resting place for himself and his family. It was built of limestone and sandstone and cost £1,000. Bianconi was his own architect and the work was carried out with the help of a few artisans in the neighbourhood. It has a flat-roofed bell tower with a Gothic roof.
Not very long afterwards his daughter, Kathleen Henrietta, who had died in Italy, was brought home to be buried there. As well the chapel is also the burial ground of the following: Bianconi's daughter, Charlotte; Morgan John O’Connell; Bianconi himself; his wife Eliza; his daughter, Mary Anne O’Connell; his grandson, John Coppinger O' Connell Bianconi; and his great-grand daughter Mollie Watson.
Shane Maher, 5th Class, Little Flower N.S. Ballytarsna.