Osbornes were working surface stone in the Rathnabo area up to the 1850s.
In the early 1860s an economic and building boom commenced and many new quarries opened as people tried their hand at quarrying. Robert Osborne, was one such new entrant. He first appeared in the valuation records in 1864 with a small quarry at Ballynastockan with a valuation of £4 and a rent of £7.10s payable to Joys (Henry, George, Edward W and John), but his was deleted from the valuation records in 1878.
The boom continued until the late 1870s. In 1876 Patrick Reilly died and was succeeded by his son, Thomas M Reilly (also known as TM O'Reilly). There was an economic crash in Ireland in 1879/80 and many of the granite quarries in Ballyknockan, especially the smaller and more recently-opened ones, went out of business. The only large quarry to fail was Reilly's.
In 1880 William 'the Gaffer' Osborne, a son of Robert Osborne, took out a lease on Reilly’s former quarry.
In the following year, 1881, William Osborne married John Brady's eldest child, Mary. This created a new partnership - an alliance between the Brady and Osborne families - which was renewed in later generations by a number of marriages between closely related members of the Brady and Osborne families and which endured until the end of quarrying at Ballyknockan 85 years later.
The photo on the left shows Mary Brady and her husband, William Osborne, circa 1900.
Due to the splitting up of the original quarry over previous decades, by 1880 the individual quarries were too small to be worked efficiently or to accommodate the large tripod cranes and other equipment then coming into use. Furthermore, as each of the quarries had by 1880 extended to their physical boundaries, deep working was becoming necessary.
The Brady and Osborne joint working of the quarry allowed them to spread their operations across the common legal boundary and to work a deeper level - the arrangement was that Brady worked the upper level (to the left side within the circle on the map) and Osborne worked the deeper sinking (to the right side within the circle on the map).
William Osborne died in 1904 and was succeeded by his son Jim Osborne (1900 - 1960). The Osbourne & Brady connection was continued in this generation by Jim Osborne's marriage to his first cousin, Marjorie Brady.
Granite quarrying in the traditional way had ceased at Ballyknockan around 1958, about 2 years before Jim Osborne died.