Saga by Rail: Ireland
|Publisher||The Oakwood Press (Usk), PO Box 13, Usk, NP15 1YS|
Saga By Rail: Ireland is the personal memoirs of the well known railway historian J I C Boyd of multiple trips undertaken by him on the railways of Ireland in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. The author himself admits that the work is not of a research nature and therefore the presence of new facts and conclusions is not to be expected.
The style of the book takes the form of journeys taken to see the railway system and its remains as they were at the time and details of these journeys. Many facts of social interest are dispensed in this manner. The opening foreword by the late R W Kidner, founder of the Oakwood Press states thus of the author:
"Now after 11 books and many reprints, he can be proud of the fact that people say 'if it's in Boyd, it must be right'."
Unfortunately, I did encounter a number of errors which require correction:
- On page 24, he states that the Clogher Valley Railway closed in 1962 - it had succumbed in 1941.
- The top photo on page 136 is not Owencarrow viaduct but one of the other L&BER bridges
- On page 173, he refers to the railway to Westland Row (from Dun Laoghaire) being on the site of the early Dublin & Kingstown Railway which was atmospherically worked. The railway is the original route and was not atmospherically worked.
- On page 261, he refers to the T&DR as one of the steepest railways in Britain.
Another matter which I found grating was that the author has a tendency to see the expenditure by the United Kingdom Government in Ireland pre independence as an act of British benevolence.
On the plus side, he lays to rest one of the oft misquoted statements concerning Irish Railways - that that the railway buffers at Valentia Harbour were the most westerly railhead in Europe. They held this status after the closure of the Tralee and Dingle in 1953 as even the station in Dingle is slightly west of the railhead at Valentia Harbour. The pier siding in Dingle was further west again.
Days Hotel Belfast - located in a lovely area of Belfast where the Union Jack flies from every lamppost and the kerbstones are painted blue white and red.
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