Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Back on the Rails Part VI - Cork to Charleville NEEDS WORK!

The principal railway station of Cork is Kent or Ceannt Station on the Lower Glanmore Road, named after Tomás Ceannt of Castlelyons, one of the signatories of the 1916 Declaration. 

It is now a terminus, where trains to Dublin, Cobh and Midleton depart.  Originally, it has been the terminus of the Cork-Dublin line of the Great Southern and Western Railway, and the Cork-Youghal-Queenstown line of the Cork and Youghal Railway Company.  The present station had been a great leap forward, designed for the merger of the two lines when it opened in 1893, to allow trains to run direct from Dublin to Youghal.  (and two steps back!)  The line reached from Dublin as far as Blackpool by 1849 but did not reach the Lee until 1855 when the Blackpool railway tunnel was completed. 

Locomotive Display in Ceannt Station

Statue of Our Lady of Lourdes in Ceannt Station

Almost immediately on leaving the Station we pass under Lower Glanmire Road.  Here is the first remembrance of Fr. Prout, St. Patrick's Church on the Lower Glanmore Road, which he was instrumental in building.  As I pass it and St. Anne's (Anglican) Church, Shandon, I say a prayer for Fr. Prout.

Once under the road, we enter the tunnel.  At over 1,200m, it is twice the length of the nearby Jack Lynch road tunnel under the Lee (which took two-thirds of the time to construct with modern machinery).  This railway tunnel is a marvel of Victorian engineering.  As the line emerges at Blackpool, the view of old Cork down the valley towards Fairhill is slowly being obscured by 'progress' but you can still see the colourful terraces and the towers of St. Anne's, Shandon, and the North Cathedral.  The train and N20 will keep close company as far as Charleville, reinforcing my point about the historical significance of geography.  We have passed directly from the Diocese of Cork (and Ross) into the Diocese of Cloyne.

A little further out of the City, the train line passes the former stations at Rathpeacon and Blarney - Blarney once had two railway connections - and a few miles further on, we pass Waterloo, where Fr. Matt Horgan built the famous Round Tower.  The train line now follows the valley of the River Martin as far as the former station at Mourne Abbey and the River Clyda to the outskirts of Mallow, where both meet the River Blackwater. 

Moving north of Mallow, we pass the euphoniously named New-Two-Pot-House and on to Buttevant, where the worst rail disaster took place on 1st August, 1980.  Buttevant's historic pedigree is everywhere to be seen.  Buttevant Friary is in the grounds of the Parish Church - a rare enough phenomenon given the acquisitive instinct and sticky fingeredness of the reformed and once established ecclesial community.

Very little remains of Buttevant Barracks

Ballybeg Friary

River Awbeg
Charleville, just at the border with County Limerick.