Back on the Rails III - The Cork, Bandon and South Coast Railway
Having looked at the Albert Quay Terminus in the last post, I want to look at the sites and sights of the Cork, Bandon and South Coast Railway in this. In fact, part of this line was one of Ireland's first railways, befitting the 'real' capital and, at the time, Ireland's most populous County. It is also the longest of the lines that I'm exploring, so I'm going to cover it in stages. Firstly, the line runs through the suburbs of the city.
From the Albert Quay Terminus the railway travelled along the line of what has now become the South City Link Road. Termus and line begin in the South Parish, one of the two Catholic Parishes of Cork in the early modern period. In fact, the South Chapel is the oldest Church in the City and a rare survival from the period of the Penal Laws when Catholic Church building was technically illegal. The poverty of the construction can be seen from the way that limestone and sandstone are used almost indifferently as they came to hand.
In 1808, the Bishop of Cork, Dr. Moylan was able to open a second Church to the North of the River Lee (already featured on this blog for the Corpus Christi Procession), only the second in the city, giving to the two chapels, as Catholic houses were diminutively and dismissively known by the Anglican ruling class, the titles of 'South Chapel' and 'North Chapel' respectively. Later ages would christen them the 'South Parish Church' and the 'North Cathedral' but they were always known to me by their earlier titles.
Standing on Dunbar Street outside the South Chapel you can see three monuments to our Catholic heritage. Looking North you see the Capuchin Friary, home of the great Father Mathew. To the West is the tower of the Red Abbey of the Augustinian Canons, the last medieval building in Cork.
To the South are the buildings of the South Presentation Convent (there is also a North Presentation Convent across the road from the North Chapel), the first foundation of Nano Nagle and the Presentation Sisters, one of the largest of the Irish Orders of Nuns, another gift of Bishop Moylan to the City. Nano Nagle is buried in the grounds of the Convent that is still, thank God, occupied by the Nuns.
As the City expanded the South Parish became so large that it was necessary to divide it in two by creating the new Parish of Turner's Cross. Continuing south along the line of the old Cork, Bandon and South Coast railway, now the line of the South City Link Road, we pass the famous modernist Church of Christ the King at Turner's Cross, dedicated just a few years after Pope Pius XI created the feast of Christ the King. The Church is stunningly modern and abstract in style and construction but it should also be said that in its modernity it retains the traditional liturgical forms - Sanctuary/Nave - High Altar/Side Altars - Sanctuary Rails/Devotional Shrines - more perfectly than many traditional churches wreckovated since Vatican II. It's an interesting idea to imagine the steam locomotives puffing past Turner's Cross for more than 30 years.
The line next passes through the Parish of Ballyphehane. The Parish Church of the Assumption was one of the 'Rosary' Churches of the City that I looked at this time last year. Ballyphehane Parish includes Cork Airport, which is another reason why the destruction of the railway line wasn't just useless but also a waste of a great potential resource.
Between the City and the Airport the line turns West towards Chetwynd, where is climbs majestically towards Spur Hill. The last two images in this post are the small road bridge crossing the line at Chetwynd, just before the famous Chetwynd Viaduct that carries the line over the Bandon Road, and the viaduct itself, which is occasionally used for a variant of road bowl playing, the unique Cork sport. Mick Barry, still remembered in UCC in my time, was the first to pitch the iron bowl over the viaduct.
Born: 8 May 1861, Received into the Catholic Church: 21 December 1896, Received into the Sodality of Our Lady: 22 December 1896, Entered Society of Jesus: 7 September 1900, Ordained Priest: 28 July 1900, Died 19 February 1933.