History Overseas

Manhole covers in Rome

I was recently in Rome for the first time (a stopover before getting the train from Rome to Sicily) and noticed that many of the manhole covers in the streets had the initials SPQR cast into them.

Rome manhole cover. Copyright Ewan Duffy 2023.

For the uninitiated, this stands for “Senatus PopulusQue Romanus” in Latin, or “the Senate and the People of Rome” in English.

It is interesting to see the use of Latin in modern era infrastructure.


West Cork Railway book

In 2022, a book was published – “West Cork Railways – Birth Beauty and Betrayal”, written by Chris Larkin. Out of print, a revised 2nd edition is due to be launched on 28th May in the Oriel House in Ballinhassig.

History Site Updates

Castlecaldwell Station

I have created a page on the site containing old photos of Castlecaldwell Station in Fermanagh, which have been provided to me by Gabriel O’Connor, son of the last stationmaster at the station.

Many thanks to Gabriel for doing this and allowing me to include these on the site.


Minor railways in Ireland

I can say with confidence that I know where all “public” railways in Ireland are/were but private industrial/other railways are a different matter as these can be developed and disappear in short periods of time and as such, would not be picked up by organisations such as the Ordnance Survey.

One such line is this one, built and maintained by an individual somewhere in the west of Ireland.

IH News 2023

Irish Mist book – call for information

Irish Mist was a liquer produced in Tullamore, Co. Offaly between 1947 and 1985.

Offalyhistory, with the support of Creative Ireland and Offaly County Council, are looking to publish a book on the production of Irish Mist and are calling for those who can provide first hand accounts of working in the production of the drink to get in touch to share this or any other relevant information.

From the Offaly Express:

“Please contact John Flanagan, Ardan Heights, Brian Jaffray or Michael Byrne or Frank Nicholson. Why not email us or call to Offaly History Centre, Bury Quay, Tullamore.”

IH News 2023

The Big Bad Greenway is coming

Cry me a river. reports on the “concerns” of a farmer in Cork about the possible building of a greenway along the former railway route from Mallow to Dungarvan.

Complaints about farms being split have no merit – when there was a railway there (up until 1967), any farm was split and had to move livestock etc across an operational railway. Doing the same across a greenway is far less hassle as people/bikes can stop in a shorter timeframe than a moving train. The specific farm in question only acquired the route in 1982 – what did they do pre-1982?

The usual objections that arise around any other infrastructure project are also trotted out – pollution and in this case, the effects on freshwater pearl mussels. So, build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything (BANANA).

I’m sure if the farmer wanted to build a one off house in the countryside, they would not have any concerns about pollution or anything else for that matter.


The History of a Port City: Transport, Trade and an Archive

The above titled lecture, given by Lar Joye (Heritage Officer for Dublin Port Company) will be held on 29th March 2023 in the Milestone Gallery at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin at 19:30.

IH News 2023

City Basin unearthed? have an article reporting on the uncovering of what they claim is part of the former City Basin, which was located to the west of the Grand Canal Harbour in Dublin 8 (the latter also filled in).

However, I am not convinced it is part of the City Basin and, in fact, the article goes on to state:

“Long since filled in, the city basin, which was situated between what is now the St James’s Hospital campus and the Guinness Storehouse, was once part of the Grand Canal’s original mainline from Inchicore to Grand Canal Harbour”

The last part of this statement is incorrect. The City Basin was separate to the canal mainline from Grand Canal Harbour and based on the location of the excavation, this feature is more likely to be connected to the canal.

IH News 2022

New park at Summerhill, Cork City reports that plans are coming together for the sale of the former Cork & Youghal Railway trackbed at Summerhill in Cork City (located on an embankment above the Lower Glanmire Road) by CIE to Cork City Council, to allow the area to be converted into a public park. welcomes this initiative.

IH News 2023 Locations

Bishopswood Level crossing cottage, Co. Tipperary

In 2020, I noted that the former Bishopswood LC cottage was up for sale (by auction) by CIE. From the property price register, I see it was sold for €62,000.

It is back for sale, having been partially restored, with an asking price of €150,000.