Welcome to 54 North Main Street, which has filtered the soft light of Wexford since 1860, when Mr and Mrs M.J. O’Connor opened their family bakery. From that day forth, the bakery helped the heart of the main street beat faster with its citation, ‘bread is the staff of life.’
Wexford was famously ‘the model county’, whose hinterland was an oasis of barley and wheat in soil of abundant fertility, sheltered by mountains to the west.
Thirteen children were born to Michael Joseph and Johanna – a baker’s dozen – a popular phrase derived from a custom where a baker would throw in a bit extra to ensure a customer was never left short.
Thereafter, the O’Connor name seeped into all aspects of Wexford’s civic, political and cultural life, from the past to the present day, including the eponymous Frank of ‘Frank’s Place’, the fifth child of the original baker’s dozen, who managed to squeeze a lifetime of selfless service into a few short years.
Frank believed passionately in public duty: a volunteer with the local fire brigade, Frank was also a member of Wexford Corporation and proposed the conferring of the Freedom of Wexford on one of its most distinguished sons - John Redmond, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party - in 1907, two years before Frank’s untimely death at the age of thirty-two.
A guide and directory Frank and his family would have been acquainted with, ‘Bassett’s Wexford,’ reported of North Main Street in 1885 that it was a narrow thoroughfare which ‘barely permits vehicles to pass each other.’
Since then, North Main Street has evolved from contra-flow traffic to one way to the modern pedestrianisation, but continuing a tradition, as noted in ‘Bassett’s Wexford’, of ‘orderly methods of business,’ bestowing ‘an attractiveness which has to be experienced to be understood.’
Today, with ‘Frank’s Place’, the seventh generation of the O’Connor family has returned 54 North Main Street to its roots, a place humming with warmth and character and style, a home from home where you will encounter no strangers, only friends you have yet to meet.