The Grand Canal in Co. Offaly

The Offaly History Blog has announced that they will be publishing a series of 50 articles in 2024 about the Grand Canal in Co. Offaly.


RAIU Report – Self-detrainment of passengers between Shankill & Bray, 24th July 2022

Readers of the site may be aware of an incident that took place last year where a number of DARTs were delayed in the vicinity of Bray, Co. Wicklow, leading to passengers taking the initiative to exit the train.

Due to the safety aspects of this, the Railway Accident Investigation Unit (RAIU) of the Department of Transport conducted an investigation into same and its report was published today.

Normally, I wouldn’t comment on these – the investigations are fact gathering in nature (not being a trial) and as a result, tend to be very anodyne affairs. However, one line in the report, under “Systematic Factors” (on Page 5) caught my eye:

IÉ standards and training refer to “customer-friendly” communications; however, this “customer-friendly” approach to dealing with passengers, in particular, passengers in distress (where it is of utmost importance) was not evident on the day.

RAIU Report – Self-detrainment of passengers between Shankill & Bray, 24th July 2022

As comments in an RAIU report go, this is a slap for Irish Rail.

IH News 2023

Clones “marina” – invitation to waste money

Northern Sound have reported on a call by Waterways Ireland, Monaghan County Council and Failte Ireland, who are collectively seeking “to engage with those who might be interested in delivering a high-quality visitor experience with a focus on both on-water and land-based activities, from a new facility being developed in Clones.” (read: to encourage businesses to destroy their capital ).

It is time for a reality check here. What is being developed in Clones is a half mile long open air swimming pool with the potential to become a floating halting site. It will be unconnected to anything else for the foreseeable future (and with any luck, for ever).

Even if the WI and Sinn Fein wet dream of a “restored” Ulster Canal came into existence, Clones will be the terminus of a long branch line at the end of the network. No-one is going to base a boat there long term as based on maximum speeds on the canals to prevent wash damage, half a day of each journey will be wasted getting to/from Clones to the rest of the network.

As such, anyone putting money into any such business venture(s) may as well just take cash out of the bank and burn it.


Athlone Bridges

The Westmeath Independent reports that an exhibition on the bridges of Athlone will be launched on Tuesday 19th December 2023 at 18:30 in Athlone Library

The exhibition will run until 8th January 2024.

IH News 2023

Buingea Bridge, Cork

When the ESB flooded land in Cork, west of Cork City, as part of the Lee Hydro electric power scheme, this included closing the Cork to Macroom railway. CIE could have insisted on the rerouting of the railway but it was in the business of shutting down railways and took this as an opportunity to get rid of another line.

A road bridge over the former trackbed survives and periodically appears above water level in the reservoir. The Irish Independent reports that the ESB are to carry out a study of the structural integrity of the bridge arising out of fears that it may collapse.