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IH News 2022

Dublin Port historic documents

The Government of Ireland website notes that recently opened parcels of salved documents from the 1922 Four Courts fire were discovered to relate to Dublin Port and the latter is now co-funding their restoration.

This is merely one arm of the State paying for work that should have been done decades ago by the State and leads onto the obvious question – how many other unopened parcels of similar 1922 fire survivors exist unrestored?

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IH News 2022

Kishoge Station

Kishoge station in Dublin is the one remaining ghost station on the Irish Rail network (there are two on the Green LUAS line – one either side of Carrickmines).

The station was built as part of the Kildare Route Project, but has never opened with excuse after excuse coming out of the mouths of TPTB.

The latest excuse, given to a Dail committee, is that the station requires remedial repairs.

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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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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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IH News 2022

Dunboy Castle sold again

Dunboy Castle on the Beara Peninsula in Co. Cork was the home of the Puxleys – owners of the copper mines at Allihies.

There was a Celtic Tiger era project to convert the ruined building into a luxury hotel, but this obviously died along with that era.

The Irish Examiner reports that the castle has been sold again and plans to complete the re-development and open the venue as an 84 bed hotel are proposed.

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IH News 2022

Belfast Central Station

Opened in 1976 to replace Great Victoria Street and Queen’s Quay, Central Station in Belfast was supposed to spawn a regeneration of the area around East Bridge Street – something that never happened.

Things moved on and the real “central” station – Great Victoria Street – reopened in 1995, along with a new section of railway (the Blythefield curve) to make Great Victoria Street usable as a proper central train station. In recognition of this loss of status, in 2018, the station was renamed “Lanyon Place” and any pretence at centrality was abandoned.

Things move slowly in the public sector – by pure chance, I was passing by Lanyon Place on a train today and happened to see staff taking out the old “Belfast Central” platform signs from a side entrance and loading same into a van.

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IH News 2022

Allihies Mine ledgers restored

The Irish Examiner (soft paywall) reports on the restoration of a number of historic cost books and ledgers from the mines in Allihies in Co. Cork.

The original records were donated to the museum c.20 years ago and have now been restored thanks to a grant from the Heritage Council.