Saturday 17 December 2011

Back on the Rails IV - The Bandon Line

After the Chetwynd Viaduct, the line of the Cork, Bandon and South Coast railway continues westwards to the townland of Waterfall or Tobar an Iarla in Irish, literally Well of the Earl. The Earl in question could have been one of the McCarthy, Eóganacht Lords of Muskerry. Donal MacCarthaigh Mór was created Earl of Glencar by Elizabeth Tudor in 1565 but the title was extinguished with him. Donough MacCarthaigh Mór, Viscount Muskerry, was created Earl of Clancarthy by Charles II. I have posted before about the Catholic zeal of the family in founding Kilcrea Abbey, in defending the Catholic Confederacy at Carrigadroichead, and supporting the Catholic King James II at Bandon.

A large number of physical remnants of the railway line remain. I took photos of an embankment and a railway bridge South of Waterfall. The next station is Ballinhassig or Béal Átha an Chasaigh in Irish, literally the mouth of the ford of the turn. The turn in question being the reverse of a small English force by a force led by Florence MacCarthaigh in 1610. Nine years earlier the Lord Deputy Mountjoy camped here with his forces before the Battle of Kinsale. Between Ballinhassig and Innishannon there is a branch line junction for Kinsale.

Beyond Ballinhassig at Gogginshill the railway enters a long hilltop tunnell, now disused. I wasn't able to get near the tunnel, which is now on private land, but pictures are available here. I did visit the Church of the Most Holy Heart of Mary at Gogginshill.

An excellent example of the elevated and picturesque line that the railway now follows is the Halfway Viaduct that stands above the small village that sat half-way between Cork and Bandon (before the City extended to the South and West).

I want to end this stage of my survey with the Upton/Innishannon Station. It is the fourth station from Albert Quay on the main line of the railway. It is an excellent example of such stations. At the entrance to the property containing the station is the monument to the three men of the IRA who died in the Upton Train Ambush, which happened on 15th February, 1921, as part of the Irish War of Independence. The monument reads:

Fuaireadar bás ar son
Phoblacht na hÉireann
Captaen 22 bl
Saor Óglach 22 bl
Leas-Chaptaen 35 bl
Ba leis an gCuigú Chath
Treas Bhriogáid Chorcaí I.R.A. iad
Maraíodh iad san troid ar an 15.2.1921
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anamacha

That is in English:

There died for
The Irish Republic
Captain aged 22 years
Free Volunteer aged 22 years
Vice-Captain aged 35 years
Of the Fifth Battalion
Of the Third Cork Brigade
They died in action on 15.2.1921
May their souls be at the right hand of God

On the hill overlooking the station is the Brothers of Charity premises at Upton, a place that has its share of infamy. One claim to fame is that the eldest brother of Little Nellie of Holy God (her picture below) was placed here in 1907 when their mother died. Their father, a soldier on Spike Island in Cork Harbour, was unable to take care of them and all four children were placed in Industrial Schools. Her eldest brother Thomas was sent to Upton, her brother David went to the Sisters of Mercy at Passage West, while Nellie and her elder sister Mary were sent to St. Finbarr's Industrial School of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd at Sunday's Well, Cork City. Little Nellie is rightly revered by the people of Cork and beyond but I often wonder what happened to her siblings. They seem to have slipped quickly into the shadows of obscurity that surrounded so many of the unfortunate children who were sent to these institutions.

Little Nellie of Holy God (1903-1908)
Little Violet of the Holy Eucharist


Charlie said...

What a great trip! You're treading where the saints have trod! It's a really poigniant thought about little Nellie's brother in that reformatory.

Plunkett said...

West Cork is a beautiful region. I never knew there was a railway line there. I'm very interested in the history of the place. Great series.

Ronni Lane said...

Your post prompted me to investigate Little Nellie some more. She is a wonderfully heroic little child. Thank you for this amazing story. I will treasure it for many years.

Andrew L said...

It looks like a place of beauty and pease. I can imagine a gently chugging train journey in this country would be a magical expereince.

Philly said...

Another hit, Shandon Belle. A blessed Cork Christmas to you!

Dodger said...

I grew up on stories of little Nelly. She deserves the publicity.