Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage presents a lecture on the “West Cork Railways” by noted local railway historian, Maurice McCarthy, in The Clonakilty Parish Centre at 8pm next Thursday 10th November.
Originally known as the “Cork, Bandon and South Coast Railway Company” the trains began running in 1849, when the first section, from Ballinhassig to Bandon, was opened. By 1893, it ran from Albert Quay in Cork City to Skibbereen, with extensions to Kinsale, Clonakilty, Courtmacsherry, Bantry and Baltimore.
The Clonakilty line included a short siding to Shannonvale Mill, which used a wagon along the track pulled by a horse.
For many years, the railway system provided a transport link for the people of West Cork and a means for city people to have a day out at the seaside at a time when there were few cars and buses.
It was an even more important freight link, carrying livestock, sugar beet, sand, seaweed, and other produce from West Cork to Cork. Due to economic problems, competition from road traffic and falling passenger numbers, the line closed on Good Friday April 1st 1961, marking the end of an era that had lasted over one hundred years.
The illustrated lecture at the Clonakilty Parish Centre will be delivered Maurice McCarthy is a native of Clonakilty town, who grew up within sight and sound of Clonakilty railway station.
He is considered the foremost local authority on the railway and its rich history. Maurice’s lecture will feature rare slides and stories of local interest.
People should arrive well before the 8pm starting time of the lecture on Thursday next 10th November as seating is limited at the venue.
(On a related note, the West Cork Model Railway Village in Clonakilty opened in 1994, and is based on the route of the West Cork Railway system with the towns and stations built in scaled replica format).