The West Clare Railway
|Publisher||Plateway Press, PO Box 973, Brighton, BN2 2NG|
Made famous by Percy French in his lyrical ditty "Are Ye Right There, Michael", the West Clare Railway was the ultimate 'Oirish' institution. Like most small Irish railways, the WCR was perennially penniless and this showed up in all areas, including maintenance standards, which ultimately lead to the aforementioned incident.
Patrick Taylor has written the definitive history of the WCR and its extension, the South Clare Railway, although, for all intents and purposes, the line was always known as the West Clare Railway or simply just the West Clare. The standard chapters that you would expect to find in any railway company history are present, i.e, early proposals, sanction to opening, route description, traffic, locomotives, rolling stock, track and signalling, personalities and accidents. Additional chapters are provided on the relationship with Clare County Council (guarantor for the company's losses), the civil war and the effect of the weather on the operation of trains.
The legal proceedings between the company and Percy French over his song are covered in the book and represent the icing on the cake in this very worthwhile publication.
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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