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History Locations

St. Judes Spire, Inchicore

St. Judes Anglican Church in Inchicore, Dublin, was built between 1862 and 1864, primarily for the use of railway workers employed at the nearby Inchicore railway works.

The main building was dismantled and relocated to Straffan many decades ago, where it now acts as the Steam Museum, thanks to the actions of Robert Guinness.* I understand that Robert would have taken the spire as well, but local objections led to this being left, with dreams of some sort of taxpayer funded community centre being built around it.

The latter never happened and the spire and adjacent ground is now up for sale. The Spire is a protected structure and therefore, any planning permission granted for development would need to factor this in.

* Declaration of interest – I know Robert Guinness personally.

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IH News 2022

Weaving course in Donegal

Historically, Donegal and Derry City were centres of clothing manufacture, weaving (home weaving in particular) being significant income sources.

This is a tradition that has almost died out, however, Donegal ETB have established a course to produce another generation of weavers, with the prospect of employment in the likes of Magee and Studio Donegal.

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IH News 2022 Locations

Connolly Station locomotive shed

The locomotive shed at Connolly Station in Dublin is closed and out of use – ceasing to be used as a locomotive shed on 31st December 2010. The photo below shows the shed in 1992 – Irish Rail had been in existence for 5 years at this stage, but the CIE logo is still in situ.

Passing by the shed today on board a train departing from Platform 2, Connolly Station, I noticed what looked like an historic coat of arms in the space where the CIE logo is in the photo above. Not having had a good look at it, I am wondering is it the GNR(I) coat of arms?

Another possibility is that the shed is being used as a film location and another railway company coat of arms was placed therein for that.

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Locations

RTE 100 buildings – The Rank Silo, Limerick

The RTE online series of webpages covering 100 buildings in Ireland continues to feature some IH related structures.

The latest such structure is the Rank Mills silo in Limerick.

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History Locations

Inny Junction

Located on the Dublin – Sligo railway line between Multyfarnham and Edgeworthstown, Inny Junction was a passenger transfer point only – i.e. you couldn’t buy a ticket to Inny Junction – to allow for transfer to the Cavan branch of the MGWR. Opened in 1856, it closed in 1931, when the transfer point moved to Mullingar.

Below is the Googlemaps aerial view for the junction:

The junction point can be seen below mid centre in the image. However, what is interesting is the double line for trees just above this, now with a roadway immediately to the north. Such a feature is usually a dead give away of a former railway – however, clearly this is not the route of the railway.

Looking at the 25″ ordnance survey map online (not possible to embed), I note that the field boundaries are marked separately for the areas occupied by this feature, which would suggest a formal separation of this land area and not an accidental development.

Was the track at Inny Junction re-routed and if so, why?

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Locations

The Shakey Bridge

Officially known as Daly’s Bridge, the “Shakey Bridge” is located over the River Lee in Cork and the indefatigable YouTuber Tom Scott has published a short video about the bridge.

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IH News 2022

The Ulster Canal shibboleth

Thon Sheugh, to use the phrase coined by the late Brian J Goggin, continues to generate copy, to the extent that it makes me wish for another recession to deprive the Irish Government of money and bring the IMF back.

I came upon this article, which is nothing more than pious platitudes from people who want to spend taxpayers’ money, solely because they can. From the article:

“The Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, has called Waterways Ireland’s Ulster Canal restoration project a “long-standing government priority, with an important north-south dimension”.

Like draining the Shannon or restoring the Irish language as a living language. It is hyperbole, designed to play to an audience but not intended to be a commitment.

Dating back to the mid-19th century, the Ulster Canal formed a strategic link between the waterways of Ireland but, by the 1930s, a drop in its usage for commercial purposes saw the abandonment of the canal which then led to its deterioration.

The Ulster Canal was anything but strategic. It was a white elephant even upon opening, due to small size of the canal locks and difficulties keeping the summit level in water. Within a generation, the arrival of the railway killed off any prospect the canal could have had (but didn’t), rendering it as nothing more than an expensive drainage channel.

The second phase, which is now being progressed thanks to the Irish Government funding, focuses on Monaghan – from Clones to Clonfad. Mr McMahon is hopeful that this phase will be completed by the end of 2023.

I have discussed this previously. This is a short section of canal, disconnected from anything else – effectively just an elongated open air swimming pool on the outskirts of Clones. This is akin to the building of the Kilkenny Canal from the Kilkenny end, rather than the Inistioge end (end of river navigation), which meant that the built section could not be used commercially and therefore failed.

The Irish Government should focus on the creation and completion of the Ulster Canal Greenway and accommodate the built heritage of the Ulster Canal by leaving the bridge towpaths and locks intact by running the cycle path element of the greenway along the bed of the former canal and through the locks. The footpath element can use the original towpaths and have ramp access to the public roads at each bridge for disabled/family access.

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IH News 2022

The real Belfast Central Station

We all knew that Belfast Central Station was anything but central and the reopening of Great Victoria Street in 1995 proved that.

The name “Belfast Central” has been consigned to history, however, Translink have decided to name the new bus/rail interchange station at the Europa Bus Centre/Great Victoria Street station as “Belfast Grand Central Station.”

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IH News 2022 Locations

Mayfield House, Portlaw

Portlaw, Co. Waterford, was an industrial town, built by the Malcomson family, local industrialists who developed a cotton mill in the town and were also active in other businesses including shipping and local railways.

Mayfield House was built for the family and later became the offices for Irish Tanners, who had operations in the town and elsewhere (co-incidentally, the father of an uncle by marriage of mine was a senior manager in the company).

The building has been empty since 1994 and has fallen into dereliction. The Irish Examiner reports that it has just been sold at auction for €300,000, with plans to restore it to use as a luxury hotel.

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Locations

Game of Thrones

I can honestly state that I have not watched any of this series, but am aware that sections of the series were filmed in Northern Ireland.

Whilst geo-referencing railway stations for my gazetteer, I noticed that Gracehill Station on the Ballymoney to Ballycastle railway is immediately adjacent to the Dark Hedges of Game of Thrones fame.