Ennis to Athenry Railway - progress report, 1867

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Sduddy
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Ennis to Athenry Railway - progress report, 1867

Post by Sduddy » Thu Feb 18, 2021 11:53 am

The first attempt at building a railway from Ennis to Athenry (in Co. Galway) began well with the turning of the first sod in Ballyline (see "Peasantry Dance to a German Band, Ballyline 1863":http://www.ourlibrary.ca/phpbb2/viewtop ... f=1&t=7141), but failed sometime afterwards. In 1867, a fresh attempt was made, as reported in the Clare Journal:
Mon 4 Mar 1867:
Athenry and Ennis Junction Railway. We gather from a recent report of the shareholders of this company, that there is prospect of the speedy construction of this line, the Directors having succeeded in their negotiations for placing the works in the hands of a new contractor. A bill has also been lodged for extending the time for the completion of the line, which has become absolutely necessary from the delays occasioned in the progress by the late contractor. The line, when completed, will be of immense benefit to the county, and particularly to Ennis, which lies at the caudal extremity of a railway system, not in that direct communication with the Northern and Midland lines, as the junction at Athenry will place us. Both the passenger and goods traffic of the Ennis and Limerick Railway will also be greatly increased by the opening up of the northern part of the county. The report, on the whole, was highly satisfactory to the meeting, who quite coincided with the opinion of the Directors that application should be made to Parliament for additional powers, though at what period the line is likely to be completed, we cannot say, nor does the report refer to it. At all events, operations will be commenced some time between this and the next half-yearly meeting.
Mon 13 May 1867:
Athenry and Ennis Railway. The works on this line, we understand, will be immediately resumed; in accordance with the announcement made at the last meeting of the shareholders; and, in all probability, the line will be finished and opened for traffic, as far as Gort, by Christmas next. Our esteemed fellow-townsman, Thomas Greene, Esq, J P, has been appointed auditor of the accounts, and we believe there is every prospect of the works being completed throughout its entire length very shortly afterwards, as the company have obtained a grant from the government of £50,000 to enable them to push forward enterprise. The cessation of work on the line had occasioned much injury to the working classes having caused many to have recourse to the workhouse for relief, and it is therefore to be hoped, the employment now to be afforded, will have a most beneficial effect on the condition of the working classes.
Thur 23 May 1867:
The Ennis and Athenry Railway. The Engineers engaged in the construction of this line have arrived in Ennis, and have been engaged in a tour of inspection along the works. Operations will be resumed next week, and it is confidently anticipated that the line as far as Gort will be completed by Christmas.
Mon 17 Jun 1867:
Ennis and Athenry Railway. The works on this line, were resumed last week, though only upon a limited scale, owing to the delay incident to the employment of labourers. It is anticipated, however, that a full compliment of men will be engaged upon the works before the end of the week, when operations will be vigorously pushed forward with a view to the completion of the line as soon as possible. The line to Gort is in a much more forward condition than on any other portion of the route, and an effort will be made to have it completed as far as that town by Christmas. In consequence of some misunderstanding the few who were employed last week thought fit to stop work on a strike of some kind or another, it is supposed in order to have their wages accurately defined. The men have, however, returned to their employment, and on the arrival of Mr Edgworth, the engineer of the line, it is certain all things will go on favourably.
Sheila

Sduddy
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Re: Ennis to Athenry Railway - progress report, 1867

Post by Sduddy » Sat Feb 27, 2021 2:59 pm

Clare Journal, Thur 20 May 1869:
Opening of the Ennis and Athenry Railway.
Ennis and Athenry Railway, which will prove of such advantage to the south and west, has been inspected by the Government Inspector, and will be open for traffic by the 1st of June. It is not yet known whether the directors of the Midland Great Western line or those of the Waterford and Limerick will have the working of the Ennis and Athenry, but it is more than probable that the latter will, as Mr Malcomson has claims to a very large amount upon it. The new line to Athenry will make the journey from Dublin 15 miles less than by the old (Limerick Junction) route.
Clare Journal, Mon 26 Jul 1869:
Ennis and Athenry Railway. The opening of this line, after many vexatious and wearisome delays, it is anticipated, will now shortly be un fait accompli. The line was inspected for the third, and we should hope the last time, by Col Riche, Government inspector, on Wednesday last.
Clare Journal, Mon 23 Aug 1869:
Excursion on the Ennis and Athenry Railway. Yesterday at 10.20 a.m., a certain number of the Directors of the above line of railway, accompanied by the engineers, and other gentlemen who had received invitations, proceeded from the Limerick Terminus, to Ennis, where they were joined by others connected with that line of railway, when a special train which was in readiness for the party proceeded on an excursion over the new line to the ancient city of Athenry. The company consisted of the following, who left Limerick: - Messrs Joseph Robinson, J. Stephens, and J. Fennell, Directors of the Waterford and Limerick Railway; Robert Roger, J.P., - Mayne, J.P. (Killaloe); Maurice Lenihan, J.P.; William Carroll, Secretary of the Limerick and Foynes Railway; S. Attock, Locomotive Director of the Waterford and Limerick Railway; J. Molloy, Engineer of the Board of Works, &c. The gentlemen who joined at Ennis were Messrs. W. Magrath, solr.; Thomas Greene, J.P., Alexander Bannatyne and E. O’Brien, who was accompanied by his sister Miss O’Brien, of Old Church. There was also in the Company, Messrs. T. Ainsworth, Secretary of the Waterford and Limerick Railway; J. Banks, Traffic Superintendent, Mr Tighe, Engineer, &c.
The morning was brilliantly fine; the day too fully realized the expectations which were given by the morning. The country, teeming with the abundance of a gold harvest, never looked lovelier; everybody was in the best of spirits. The start from Ennis, over a line which had only just received the sanction of the Government Inspector, was exceedingly agreeable; whilst the agricultural features of the extensive district through which we passed, though not affording evidence of the highest culture, gave proof, as far as we could discern, of the prevalence of comfort among the people. Here and there are to be seen quantities of scrub wood, heath, furze, moor &c., with the fine fishing lake of Inchicronan, tempting resorts for the sportsman; the Feakle mountains belting the view. A great number of castles which escaped the ruthless hand of the Cromwellian destroyers, simply because they were out of the way in rather remote and inaccessible places, and just now investing the landscape with an interest and impressiveness which are rarely to be found in other parts of the country, are to be seen in abundance as we pass along. In some few places the crops did not present the luxuriance which they indicated in the richer lands bordering on Ennis; but these formed the exceptions, whilst any draw backs in this particular were amply made amends for by extensive pastures crowded with sheep, &c. Nearing the neat and thriving town of Gort, many improvments were discernible. We need not state that Gort is one of the handsomest country towns in the south or west of Ireland – and that it owes all it possesses to its former patrons and owners, the Lords of Kiltartan and Gort – who, close by the town, possessed one of the most extensive and beautiful demesnes and residences, at Loughcooter, in the province. The Verekers have been succeeded at Loughcooter by the Goughs, another Limerick family, very much esteemed as resident proprietors; and at the station Lord Gough and his son, the Hon Mr Gough, met the train, and received the directors warmly, the young gentleman joined the excursion to Athenry. Leaving Gort, the country presents many features of great interest. The number of ancient castles, nearly all in comparatively good preservation, and one of the largest of them being at Croughwell, is something well nigh fabulous. Danish Forts, Holy Wells, Baths, &c. are frequently seen; at 2 o’clock we reach Athenry, which gave a title to De Birmingham, and is specially mentioned in Campbell’s beautiful poem of “O’Connor’s child” as the scene of the terrible slaughter of that royal sept, 300 of whom, including Fedham the last king of the race, were slain in conflict with Richard de Birmingham and “De Burgho chivalry.” The passage beginning –
“And go to Athenree he cried,
Lift the high banner of your pride.”
details this catastrophe in a most striking manner. The walls of Athenry are said to have been built out of the spoils of this battle, which effectually established the dominion of the English settlers in Connaught; O’Kelly King of Maneali, and most of the nobility of petty kings of Connaught and Munster, were killed in this battle, which with those of Finlo and Toher, settled the fate of the natives, and obtained for De Burgho, who was the conqueror in all, the surname of Ristead-na-goath, i.e, Richard of the Battles. Limerick Reporter.
Clare Journal, Thur 16 Sep 1869:
Ennis and Athenry Railway. The formal, but long deferred, opening of the above line took place yesterday, when a good many passengers proceeded thence to Dublin and elsewhere. The opening of this route to the metropolis took place without any éclat or significance of any kind, but the directors of the company may be assured that the public recognize as a boon to be repaid by general support their spirited efforts to manage the railway themselves, being assisted, as they will be, by the good wishes and material aid of another great company whose management of their lines has always been satisfactory – the Midland Great Western Company. A cheap excursion is announced in our columns to-day, which may be regarded as one of the first fruits of the determination of the new company to procure all the advantages possible to the public by way of transit, low fares, and convenience, in proof of which, a return ticket from Ennis to Athenry at single fare will be received. No doubt many of our readers will avail themselves of the trip on Monday to spend a short time in Dublin, where they may combine pleasure with business. It is worthy of observation that Italian Opera is at present being performed in the Theatre Royal, which will doubtless prove attractive to many.
As the above report says, the paper carried an advertisement placed by the Athenry And Ennis Junction Railway Company:
Excursion to Dublin from Athenry on Monday, September 20th. First class, 15s 6d; Second class, 12s 6d.
Excursion Tickets at the above Fares will be issued on Monday next, at Athenry, to First and Second class passengers, from Ennis by the 10 a.m. train to proceed to Dublin by the 12. 15 train from Athenry.
The Excursionist will be entitled to return by the Ordinary Passenger Trains (according to class) on any day up to and including Saturday 2nd October, 1869.
First class passengers will be allowed 60 lbs., and Second and Third class passengers 40 lbs. of Luggage. The Company will not be responsible for luggage at the above fares. By order, J. Fowler Nicoll, Secretary.
And the same paper carried an advertisement showing the (temporary) Time and Fare Tables, "on and after the 15th September, 1869, (until further notice)".
The Stations listed are: Ennis (departures: 10 am, 4.30 pm.)
Crusheen (8 miles from Ennis: departures: 10.26 am, 4 56pm.)
Gort (18 miles from Ennis: departures: 11 am, 5.30 pm.)
Ardrahan (25 miles from Ennis: departure: 11. 23 am.)
Craughwel (31 miles from Ennis: departure: 11.43 am.)
Athenry (36 miles from Ennis: arrival: 12 noon)

Fares from Ennis to Crusheen were 6d for 3rd class; 1s for 2nd class; 1s 6d for 1st class.

The station at Tubber does not seem to have come into operation just yet (September 1869), but must have become operative soon afterwards: The second of these photos of Tubber railway station was taken in recent years, and shows an addition to the original building: https://www.geograph.ie/photo/2345484
https://www.geograph.ie/photo/6347967.

I can't find any good photo of Crusheen Railway station, but there is a lovely drawing of the signal box, by Michael Lenihan, on page 26 of The Other Clare, Vol 7 (1983)

Sheila

Sduddy
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Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:07 am

Re: Ennis to Athenry Railway - progress report, 1867

Post by Sduddy » Fri Mar 12, 2021 3:14 pm

Clare Journal, Thur 1 Jun 1871:
Athenry and Ennis Junction Railway. Lisdoonvarna Celebrated Spas. New Car Service to Lisdoonvarna. On and after the 1st of June, a well-appointed Two-Horse Car will rund daily from Lisdoonvarna to Gort, and from Gort to Lisdoonvarna, passing through Ballyvaughan, New-Quay, and Kinvarra:
The Car will leave Lisdoonvarna each day at 9.30 a.m., arriving at Gort in time for the Up train to Dublin at 2.50 p.m., and the Down Train to Ennis and Limerick at the same hour, and will leave Gort for Lisdoonvarna at 3 p.m., after the arrival of the 1.50 p.m. Down Train from Limerick and Ennis, and the 8.50 a.m. Down Train from Ennis, arriving at Lisdoonvarna at 8 p.m.
Passengers will be booked at the Railway Station at Gort for this car. Fare, 4s Each Way.
This journey was probably okay on a fine day, but what can it have been like on a wet day!

Sheila

Sduddy
Posts: 1159
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:07 am

Re: Ennis to Athenry Railway - progress report, 1867

Post by Sduddy » Fri Mar 19, 2021 1:42 pm

This report of a train journey to Gort has a tone (supercilious?), which I find annoying, but I’m putting an excerpt here for the pen-picture in it of Crusheen railway station, to help make up for the lack of a photograph:
Clare Journal, Mon 10 Jun 1872 (excerpt):
Now, leaving Ennis station on the morning of Saturday last for Gort, I observed that the porters who attended to the departing train on the Athenry and Ennis Junction line, displayed some of the pecularities above indicated, and ascribed to their class. They were attentive, without being boringly officious, active without ostentation, and when our train left the station snorting, and puffing, they looked as though they wished her God speed. There was something in their gaze denoting the identity of the men’s material well-being with the fortunes of the departing train.
From Ennis to Crusheen the country is pleasant to the eye but not picturesque. The land, which is of average quality, is incumbered with limestone rocks above the surface, and water and wood scenery is wanting. The little railway station at Crusheen is very pretty, and neatly kept. It is refreshing to see such evidence of good taste as were manifested in the immaculate window drapery, and discriminate classification of flowers there. ‘Twere well other stations on the line were so pleasant to look at. Onward to Tubber the scenery varies; the winding river, the elevated woodland, and rich green pasture greet the eye, and relieve the landscape from monotony.
Whilst enjoying the prospect, as one who has made up his mind to do so, can – hark ! “a voice rings out on the morning air; “ it is the voice of our familiar friend, the railway porter, and he says Gor ! Now, a monosyllable prefixed to that would constitute a naughty expression, which too frequently does duty for an oath in the mouths of our peasantry in these parts. Surely he is not so wicked in face of the summer’s brilliant sunlight, which ought put all iniquity to shame. No, he means to intimate that we are at Gort (with a t).
A stroll through Gort is enjoyable, particularly on a market day, such as Saturday was. The streets are wide, clean, and airy. The houses are substantially built, and the “lions” of the town are the religious edifices, on the one hand, the homes for the detection, conviction, and location of criminals, on the other. As the showman said “You pays your money and takes your choice.” You can in Gort either go to Church and become a good Christian or debase yourself and find worldly condemnation and punishment. In the large market square, all sorts of wares were exposed during my visit, and there was considerable bustle and exchange of money. The man at the butcher’s stall disposed of his meat “fast and furious,” and his neighbour, the open-air draper, vended his ‘kerchiefs, and cotton-balls, and cuffs and collars, and “suspenders” (braces), and all the “nice things.” Then there were the sugar-stick, and the ginger-bread, and the “sea-grass” and winkle women finding a ready sale for their wares. In the midst of all this, the amorous swains and the buxom dame found leisure to cast shy glances at one another – it would not be an Irish market day without that.
By the way, such funny cloaks as those worn by the country women over their red petticoats – a sort of “Jellyback,” (in fashion half a century ago), made of Robinson Crusoe material, rough and woolly. In view of these garment, had one not known his latitude, he might fancy himself in the rural districts of Wales or Brittany, or the highlands of Scotland.
Sheila

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