A reference book to the Incorporated Railway Companies of Ireland 1847

I started reading this pdf version downloaded from Google (one of the millions that they have scanned) to see if there is any new nugget of information therein.

On the first page it states:

“In 1832, an Act for a line of 25 miles, called the Belfast and Cavehill, was obtained, which changed the title, in 1836, to the Ulster”.

With such a grievous error on the first page, I am not hopeful for the rest of the text.

Dargan rotated

We are all aware of the saying that such and such a person is rotating in their grave.

Whilst I am not sure what reason he would have to do so (although maybe the decline of the Irish railway network, notwithstanding the negative environmental impact of road traffic, would do it), the National Gallery in Dublin have undertaken a proxy for this and rotated his statue outside their building on Merrion Square by 90 degrees, such that it now faces Leinster Lawn.

WIlliam Dargan Original Position
WIlliam Dargan Original Position
William Dargan Statue
William Dargan New Position


A boathouse is effectively a garage for a boat(s). Located at the water’s edge, such structures can be as large or small as is required for the effective storage and maintenance of the boat(s) using it. Given their waterside location, a former boathouse can make for an attractive residence if sympathetically converted.

In the grounds of Cong Castle, Lord Ardilaun (of the Guinness family) converted the first lock of the never opened Cong Canal into a boathouse. Ardilaun was something of a fan of boathouses as his estate at Saint Anne’s in Dublin also had one. There was also one on the lake at his brother’s country residence at Farmleigh.

Many boathouses are owned by the RNLI to facilitate their excellent work in assisting those in need of rescue at sea. These can be found all along the Irish coastline.

Catch Points

Historically, spring operated catch (or trap) points were installed on double track lines to derail runaway trains.

When a train passed over the points in the right direction, the points would move into line to allow safe passage, but if a train was travelling in the wrong direction, it would be derailed. Reduced freight traffic and reversible working on double track lines have resulted in the removal of catch points that fulfilled this role.

Their other use allows a train on a branch line to approach a junction and stop immediately before it, even when another train is running along the mainline as if the branch line train fails to stop, it will derail at the catch points, rather than foul the mainline. This facilitates the more efficient use of track at junctions and allows trains to operate more efficiently.

Bay Platform

A Bay platform is a terminal platform at a railway station that is located on a through railway line. Historically, such platforms existed at stations where a branch line starts/ends. There was a bay platform at Mallow, Co. Cork, called the “Waterford Bay” as it was used by trains travelling to/from Waterford. A similar platform existed at Portlaoise for trains to Kilkenny running via Abbeyleix.

Nowadays, bay platforms can be found at Ballybrophy for trains to Limerick, Manulla Junction for Ballina trains and Clonsilla for M3 Parkway trains.

A modern day equivalent is the ‘turnback siding’ where a bay platform is provided at a station to allow a commuter service to travel to that station and clear the running lines before ‘turning back’ to its original location. Turnback sidings exist on the Kildare Route at Adamstown and Hazelhatch & Celbridge.


An aqueduct is an engineered structure designed to carry a body of water over some other feature. Whilst primarily used in canals, rivers can be diverted into aqueducts where diversion of the river is not feasible.

The Grand Canal spans the River Barrow in Monasterevin, Co. Kildare by means of an aqueduct. Also on this line of canal, the Leinster Aqueduct near Sallins carries the canal over the River Liffey. This saved the canal from having to lock down into the river and lock back up on the other side of the Liffey to continue its journey.

The building of the railway network in Ireland resulted in a small number of streams being diverted into aqueducts over railway cuttings, such as at Hillsborough, Co. Down and at Mossley West station in Co. Antrim, where Archibald’s Aqueduct spans the railway line.


An adit is a feature of a mine, which most people would refer to incorrectly as a ‘mineshaft’. It is a horizontal or near horizontal entrance to a mine. Within the mine, horizontal passages are known as ‘levels’ and an adit is a category of level that opens into the outside world. Adits can be used for the passage of road vehicles and/or railway rolling stock.


The use of adits for the removal of ore/drainage is more effective than shafts as their (near) horizontal nature makes for easier transport than hoisting material up a shaft.


Adits can vary in size, dependant on what was being transported through them. ‘Old mens workings’ or mines created before the advent of mechanisation, tend to be very small as only humans/animals passed through whereas for mining using modern trucks, adits can be quite large.