Saturday 8 October 2011

Back on the Rails II - All Rails Lead To Cork

1832 Map of Cork City

1852 Map of Cork City

1872 Map of Cork City

1893 Map of Cork City

When work began on Dargan's Great Southern and Western Railway line from Dublin to Cork in 1844 Cork was the most populous as well as the largest County in Ireland. By the time it arrived in 1849, the devastation of the Great Famine had reduced it to second most populous after Dublin. Cork's first train ran from Ballinhassig to Bandon a few months earlier.

Over the next 20 years the Cork, Bandon and South West Railway (1845), the Cork, Blackrock and Passage Railway (1850), the Cork, Youghal and Queenstown Railway (1854), and the Cork and Macroom Direct Railway (1861) started to throw out routes from Cork City across the County. Lines from Mallow to Kerry and Limerick to the west and to Tipperary and Waterford to the east and the Cork and Muskerry Railway (1883) complete the network, which is slowly reasserting itself through the redevelopment of closed lines and the reopening of closed stations.

Dublin City was circled by railway termini, Broadstone near St. Mary of the Angels, Amiens Street near the Pro-Cathedral, Westland Row near St. Andrew's, Harcourt Street near Whitefriar Street, and Kingsbridge near St. Paul's.

Likewise, as you can see on the above maps, Cork City was gradually circled by up to six railway termini. The first, at Glanmire Road, near St. Patrick's, for the Cork, Youghal and Queenstown Railway, and later also for the Great Southern and Western Railway, Albert Quay near Holy Trinity for the Cork, Bandon and Southern Coast Railway, nearby Albert Street for the Cork, Blackrock and Passage Railway, Capwell the South Chapel for the Cork Macroom Direct Railway, and Western Road near the Franciscans in Liberty Street for the Cork and Muskerry Light Railway. In this post I'll look briefly at Albert Quay, Albert Road and Holy Trinity.

Albert Quay Terminus

Albert Quay was re-named in 1849 in honour of the Consort of Queen Victoria of England on the occasion of the same visit when Cobh was re-named Queenstown. Now known as MacSweeney Quay in honour of the Republican Lord Mayor of Cork, the Quay contains the City Hall re-built after the Burning of Cork by British Crown Forces in 1921, and the terminus of the Cork, Bandon and Southern Coast Railway, opened in 1861. The station was linked to the Glanmire Road terminus by trams that ran over the iron bridge that you can see in the pictures. Trains stopped running into Albert Quay in 1961.

Albert Road Terminus

Just around the corner from the Albert Quay terminus is the Albert Road terminus of the Cork, Blackrock and Passage Railway, which was formerly a little further to the East, as you can see in the 1852, 1872 and 1893 maps. The Albert Road terminus opened in 1873 but closed to trains in 1932. While the Albert Quay building looks to me very like Broadstone Station in Dublin, the Albert Road building looks like a mix between the building that is now the Railway History Society at Heuston Station and some of the 'blind' platform walls on St. John's Road at Heuston Station.

Holy Trinity Church

A few minutes walk down the river from Albert (MacSweeney) Quay is the Capuchin House in Cork where the famous Fr. Theobald Mathew (1790–1856), the Apostle of Temperance, lived and laboured. The Church, which you can see from in front of the Albert Quay terminus, in a very un-Capuchin flamboyant Gothic, is the memorial to Fr. Mathew. The original church was more simple and the soaring facade was added in 1899. Hogan's great statue to Fr. Mathew at the start of Patrick's Street was unveiled in his honour in 1864. Interestingly, the Cork statue portrays him in the kind of street clothes that he would have worn but the statue in Dublin's O'Connell Street has him in his Capuchin habit.


Anonymous said...

I've always loved the settled pace of the railways. The decision to take them up was short-sighted at best. Wasn't the decision taking during the first Celtic Tiger? It ripped the heart out of traditional societies in Cork, Kerry and Clare.

Bizzy Izzy said...

The Irish Railways always seem to be that bit more leisurly and, not coincidentally, better maintained but less packed. The cross-cutting concept of trains and spiritual journeys is really interesting. I think the first move to permit pilgrimages by train was unsurprisingly a Jesuit idea to bring more people to Paray le Monial.

Quis ut Deus said...

Maeve youre makin the connections with the faith and the old country again. Great idea to use the railroads. Just amazin how every step you take is stepping where the saints have trod. Lookin forward to my next trip back in the spring. Give me a call when you next come to the States.

Phographic Mementos said...

I wish we could see more pictures of the inside of that Church.

Shandon Belle said...

Anon. I think you have it about right. When you look at some parts of the line that are in really stunning locations it must have been oneof the funnest ways to travel. I bet the car is quicker tho. Tragedy is that with many parts of the line taken over by gardens (often of the old railway cottages) I can't see it ever returning but if I won the Euromillions it would be something I'd have to think about seriously.

Izzy, I think you're right about the smaller lines. Maybe the famous West Clare line is what you're thinking of. Never heard of the Paray le Monial thing but it sounds like a Jesuit thing to do.

Quis, that's what I'm aiming for anyway.

Photographic, I just didn't have time to go over that side when I walked around taking the pictures. I don't think it's as nice inside anymore.

Thanks for all the comments. Keep them coming! God bless you!