The Galway to Clifden Railway Line.
- Built and ran by the Midland Great Western Railway Company (M.G.W.R.) around 1891.
- Ceannt Station , Eyre Square, Galway, was well established at the time, with the first Train to Galway - August 1st, 1851.
- Later, operated and ran by the Great Southern Railways until a Government Order to Terminate was issued on the 25th of April , 1935 . That, was the end of Clifden by Train, , though its legacy rolls on.
- Fore-runner to C.I.E.. (Coras Iompar Eireann) who took over their function in 1944.
- The Hotel in Eyre Square, Galway City, also went with the Clifden Line, into the ownership of the Great Southern Railiway in 1925, and held that name of the Great Southern Hotel until 2006
- Track Guage - 5 Feet and 3 inches. This would have to be consistent, throughout their network.
- Car Registration in Ireland began in 1903, so we know too well that a few were about before that. The first Petrol Car to be patented was in 1896, and they developed rapidly. The Locomotive (self-propelled steam Engine), was too slow and restricted by a fairly rigid guidance system, known as a Train Track ;). The Motor Car was more journey-flexible, and its Fuel source was more portable and less cumbersome than Coal.
Alcock and Brown landed in Clifden in 1919 in a Machine with an internal combustion Engines, so any notion that Coal was the way to go, had gone.
Roads could only improve, as is still often the case.
- The Athlone to Galway section was built much earlier, finishing by 1851. See Lough Atalia Bridge.
- Turn Table
- The OBG173 Bridge
- Forster Street.
- The Bohermore Tunnel.
- Woodquay The Corrib Viaduct.
- The Connemara Express.
- Lough Atalia
- Moycullen Railway Station,.Tunnel, Existing House.
- Ross Railway Station / Rosscahill
- Maam Cross.
- Recess Recess Hotel
You may be interested in the following -
Ceannt Station, Galway City.
The Railway came to Galway earlier, from Athlone.
Heading West from Ceant, it went through the Hill at the Fairgreen, across Fostrer Street at Street level, across, through and under the Bohermore Road via a Tunnel, exited that Tunnel the other side of that Bohermore Hill, across the Headford Road on top of Limestone Stacks which kept it elevated, across the Corrib River, and then swinging Eastwards by Dangan and alongside that River.
The Tunnel at Prospect Hill.
- This Tunnel crosses the current Bohermore Road - not perpendicular to it, but not far off it either.
- This, is more of a purposefully dug, Trench. An enclosure of Limestone and Brick is built at the bottom and the ground filled in around it. Some 240 Yards long.
- We can see the 2 Water Reservoirs at Prospect Hill in the 1888 to 1913 Maps, meaning that it was not densely populated, and that there was room for this sort of construction.
- The colourful image shows temporary supporting frames which were used in 2019.
- It was short and is even shorter now, The North end opening was under the modern apartment block of Clos Ard. It was to the west of that green field. There is a great change of elevation at this point, and thereafter, it crossed the Galway to Headford Road up on Limestone Pillars.
- The sides would have been shored up, so you would have been looking down on the Track from the upper portion of that Field
- On the other side of the Road, this Tunnel was beneath the former Shannon Dry Cleaners.
- This premises, burned down in August, 30th, 2016.
Itself, was not an old Building, and was unusually set back back from the road.
- This premises, burned down in August, 30th, 2016.
- A Hotel is currently (2020) being built at this location, and they intend to incorporate the Tunnel into it, in some way. J.J. Rhatigan, is the Builder.
- A Man (R.I.P.) local to that area, had a plan to open a Museum, in this underground piece of history, and had old Furniture gathered to furnish it. This, never manifested.
- This image (click on it, for high resolution), compliments of Galway Aerial Cinematography, shows the southern entrance to the Tunnel, sometime after the Shannon Dry Cleaners burned down. You may notice the angle to the building, and can guesstimate its depth below the current Bohermore Road.
- Early, 2020. We see a Group of G.M.I.T. Adult Students, which gives us an idea of the Scale here. You are looking North, and should see a good bit of detail.
- This is a still image from a video, whose owner, we have failed to trace.
- A wonderful image below, from a recently launched Book entitled "Rails through Connemara - the Galway-Clifdent Railway" by Jonathan Beaumount.. Recommended, and can be purcharsed through the previous link.
Why, this image is important, for one reason alone, is that we can see that this Tunnel was not straight but curved. This can be noticed if you zoom in, and look through it.. We can tell that we are looking North - from the Forster Street side.
Frank, a local Man, estimates that Hogan's Bar was about 3 Houses to the right of this image.
The Shannon Dry Cleaner's development, consumued these, with the exception of Hogan's Bar, and a slab of concrete was placed over this Tunnel - as is evident from this image - which is also from the Forster Street perspective..
This, is from the 1960's, while Saint Bridget's Terrace was bulit in the 1950's, and we can see the Roofs and Chimneys? (Thanks Frank, for input).
Leaving Galway, thie Line began to sweep to the West, temporarily.
We can see the lenght of it, and the curve of it, from the map immediately above. Thanks to Declan, we can estimate the Radius of that Tunnel to be 840 Feet.
Shannon Dry Cleaners.
- Shannon Dry Cleaners Limited, were......Dry Cleaners at Number 80 Prospect Hill, Galway when there weren't many.
- It caught fire on August the 31st, in 2016 and all that remained was the concrete structure and steel Window Frames, as in the image which also reveals the Tunnel beneath it - which also predates it. The opening, is not original of course, but more an engineering solution to bridge it.
- The Company is still in Galway, in other premises, and began in 1960 in Athlone - presumably where it got its Name - Shannon?
- We can see basically one Storey at the front and 2 at the rear.
- This site (along with others) is in development as The Dean Hotel, with Rhatigan as the Contractor (2020).
- See Video
- If you were on this, you'd be looking up along the Line, and onto the Tram Terminal.
- This narrow Road on top, was heading over to the north of the current Galmont Hotel (Raddison) and the Revenue Offices. From these places, you'd have to look up, towards it, but might not notice it. The new Road from Forster Street to Lough Atalia, cut through the East of the Fairgreen and cut off this structure. What you would notice, is the steep embankment.
What was here at that time, to warrant a path to it? Not much, by the looks of it.
- 53.273625 , -9.045223
- Situated immediately behind the Saint Patrick's Musical Society, Building. I didn't see this place in over 40 years, and remember this place as a "Sheet Iron" (corrugated) structure which also doubled as a Karate Club? And the Fairgreen Slaughter House was in front of it.
Now, it is modern.
- Beautiful, well cut, Limestone.
- The Turn Table is to the south.
- The Fairgreen Road, is relatively new.
- Address - Ceannt Station, Galway City.
- Coordinates ; 53.273262 , -9.045191
- See Video
- You should notice 2 sets of Tracks - one on the central platform and the other out near the circumference?.
- The Centre or Pivot point axle, can be seen, painted Red. This type of device, can be known as an Armstrong turntable.
- Literally. Drive in and onto it. Turn it.
- Said to be so well made, that a Man could rotate it by hand? But, a few certainly can.
- The key to a non-mechanically assisted turn table, is in the balance of it - its weight and not its length, being over the centre point.
- Largely forgotten / abandoned.
- Can be seen from "The Line" to Renmore.
- This Turn Table, would have been a great time-saver and Land -saver.
- Less time to drive an Engine into a new orientation.
- Less Land, to make a large radius turn.
- Carriages, as opposed to Engines, could be pulled or pushed, with each end being symmetrical.
- For Traction, Locomotives had to be heavy. It mustn't be forgotten that telescopic technology and advanced Hydraulics, had yet to be developed in a big way, and that Cranes had limited lifting capacities. Line switching was important too, and Galway had plenty of Lines around Ceannt Station.
- Another, was at Oughterard Station and Clifden, both no more.
See a Turntable in action at Mullingar, and how easy it all looks.
Woodquay, Galway - The Corrib Viaduct.
- The Galway to Clifden Railway Line, passed through Woodquay in the City, after leaving Prospect Hill.
From there, to the north side of the River, the Line is elevated - on a Ridge first and on Limestone Colums over the River.
On top of these Columns, was a rivetted Iron constructed Frame which carried the Tracks, Trains and payload.
It was dismantled and sold, a few decades ago for its Iron Scrap value..
- Coordinates. 53.278518, -9.055712
- Bank to Bank, span - 147 Metres (485 Feet). Heading - 115 Degrees.
A condition of the Construction of this Viaduct was that it must allow Steamers to pass.
Commerce and social interactions, would be concentrated here, with Menlo Castle, Menlo Pier, and the splendid Lakes at Coolough, - hardly a mile away. The broader Corrib Lake is not much further and provided a fluid network for the wider County.
- The Salmon Weir Bridge (1818), is just downstream.
- See Youtube for this aspect of Woodquay .
- The Galway Catherdral (1958), within view, didn't exist at that location, at that time.
- The Northern end of this can be seen at the road side.
- 53.278214 , -9.054393
- Download a K.M.L. of this End which also shows that aforementioned Ridge to its East.
- You should also see the areas known as "The Plots" and the "Dyke Road".
Image below of the Viaduct from the National Archives.
The Connemara Express
Many Businesses carry this name now, but it was once the name of the Dublin to Clifden Train Journey.
While it more or less began in Broadstone (Phibsboro, Dublin), the trip from there to Recess was only 5 and a quarter hours?
- The Clifden Line ran on a Bridge, over Street level If you remember the Fair Green - the ground rose to the South. It is still evident, as the new Bothar ( Bhreandain) Ui Eithir (R336) cuts through that hill towards Lough Atalia road.
This Bridge which is no more, helped to level the terrain between the main line (under the OBG173 ) and the north side of the Prospect Hill Tunnel, and onto the Pillars at Woodquay.
- Level Crossing. 53.283153, -9.064228
- Distillery Road. 53.281004, -9.062995
- L.C. Across the Corrib from the Menlo Park Estate, which has a small Quay.
- 53.295025 , -9.074959.
- Small Bridge. 53.297566, -9.080733.
- Many thanks to the friendly Native, who happened to be walking his Dogs. I was lost, otherwise.
- Bridge is at 53.310331, -9.111149
This Townland was named after a Man called Browne, but was earlier known as Eyreville, after the Eyre Family.
- Like at Clooniffe to the North, there used to be an Iron Bridge here too, straddling Stone Peirs. The Piers, remain on their own, and are diffiicult to Photograph with Briars and Vegetation, in the way. But the general path of the Clifden Line, can be seen easily enough.
- / Pollach
- Youtube Video.
- 53.315181, -9.123160
- Download K.M.L.
- Another Beautifully-cut Limestone Bridge comprimisng Stone Walls and Iron Bridge which straddled it. The Iron Work is gone, and you could miss this structure entirely, due to the narrowness of small River beneath it, coupled to it fairly-overgrown staturs (2021). It flows into the Corrib River, half a mile to the East.
Immediately to the South of here, is what is known as the Alder Trees / Bushypark Pier. This lies beween the Galway to Clifden Railway Line Footprint and the River, is constructed from Mass Concrete, and is entirely pleasant.
This initiative was around 1994 by the Bushypark Residents and before talk of any Greenway. They must be complimented for this.
- 25 inch Map of this area. Click, to enlarge.
Moycullen Railway Station.
- See Moycullen Railway Station on Youtube
- 53.344343, -9.172647
- The aerial image shows the two parallel lines from the bottom right to the top left, which was where it was, and the course of it.
- Hardly recognisable. Croke Concrete had it as a Yard, and a Crystal Shop after that.
A third of a Mile to the South West of the Village - image below -
(Thanks Padraic) Bridge. Moycullen. Just 220 Metres East of the Station there.
- Balllyquirke West (Ballycuirke Townland).
- 53.342617, -9.168211°
- See Y.T. Video
Another House, at a Level Crossing, and in fine fettle. (Thanks. Ray). And, of a similar style, size and materials.
- Townland - Corbally. Drimneen, is across the Road. Southern tip, of Ross Lake.
- 53.361781°, -9.204277°
- Just South, of the original Line.
- A Mile and three quarters, North-West of the Moycullen Station. Heading ; 132 degrees.
And 630 Metres North-East of the N59
- Download K.M.L. if you have Google Earth.
Ross Railway Station
- A big shout-out to Mike, for his cooperation
- Address - Rosscahill East, Galway.
- 93 Metres West, of the N59 (Clifden Road).
- Coordinates. 53.383514, -9.249560
- Download K.M.L.
- This is well renovated and a fine example of Stonework, complimented with Red Brick.
- The Platform is still here.
- See YT Video.
- To go as far as Clifden, from Galway and by Train, you would go through Ross Railway Station. That area mght be tetter known as Rosscahill.
Within a few hundred yards from the main Road, you really would not expect to see such a thing today, and many by-passers are not aware of it.
As we go along the Clifden Line from Galway, it is here at Rosscahill, that we truly realize that the architypical Moutains of Connemara, must be addresses in temrs of Civil Engineering. It is obvious, as we look North-West from here. /div>
Killaguile Townland, Gate House
- Thanks, Raymond.
- 53.395820, -9.268724
- Download K.M.Z. of this location.
- North of the Ross Estate - East of the N59, and just West of the original Railway Line route..
- South West of Ougherard Town.
- 53.422034 , -9.327884
- Download K.M.L.
- Abandoned, but in good condition. No platform remains.
- See Y.T. Video.
- Looks like, they had a Turn Table too, for changing the orientation of the Engine / Loco..
- 53.421624 , -9.326065
- This is no longer visible in any way.
- The Old Railway Line, crossed the current Road there, at 53.421867 , -9.328843 , as it swept towards the West.
Maam Cross Railway Station.
- The Station was about 250 metres to the North of Maam Cross proper.
- Coordinates 53.458242, -9.539374
- Have Google Earth? Download a K.M.L. file for this location.
^ Circa, 1934 - Casserley.
- The Maam Cross Connemara Railway Project, has broad information on this Station, seek to restore it, and can be found on FaceBook.
- Old and worn Map -
- 53.465939, -9.753723
- Download K.M.Z.
- See Y.T. Vid.
- Very near the N59 and R344 Road intersection, and the Weir Bridge, is to it's West.
- Near tth North West Corner of Glendollagh Lough (Lake).
- In good condition, though it might not be occupied.
- "Recess House" - a plaque of this name, is embedded in the front Wall?
You might wonder, why a Hotel was even needed in Recess back then. It was all about Fish, wealth, and leisure.
^ Image above from the National Archives.
In 1853, the Clifden Line was not yet born, but we still had Bianconi's Car.
"The Recess Hotel is on the high-road from Oughterard to Clifden—distant from Oughterard fifteen miles, and from Clifden twelve miles: so that it is easily reached from Galway in the day; Bianconi's car, which leaves at nine o'clock, arrives at the Recess at two,—leaving ample time for visiting the lakes or ascending the mountain before dinner."
"At 33 miles from Galway is Recess, where we stop first at the
small station belonging to the splendid hotel of the M.G.W.R.
Company ; and, one mile beyond, reach the principal station."
- "The Railway Hotel, with a platform of its own, stands in beautiful grounds, and is in the first rank for comfort.
To the fisherman and the scenery-hunter alike this district is, in the words of an enthusiast, '' a dream of pleasure." It is pre-eminently an angler's resort, and, indeed, one of the best fishing centres in Ireland." (Refernce)
^ The Hotel Platform on the Clifden Line. (Image - 1906) Coordinates - 53.465239, -9.723895°.
South of the current Road - the N59 - and you could miss any trace of it.
^ It was in here, with the Hotel behind the Camera and to the North.
"The lowest charge for fishing some of the lakes is 15s. per day, or £3 15s. per week, plus man and boat, and the usual extras. The " Recess " hotel tariff is 10s. 6d. per day for bed and board, and I believe the other hotels charjje the same."
Fishing, wasn't always free, which might help in understanding the following -
Ballynahinch Railway Station.
- Coordinates - 53.454911, -9.867308
- Have Google Earth? Download K.M.L.
- The Road, is to the back of the Station.
- This structure is in very good condition, and is now a Private dwelling.
- It's about a half mile, to the South of Ballynahinch Castle.
- Also, on "the Clifden Line".
"Beyond Ballynahinch the line runs through a wild and rugged district giving a splendid view of the Twelve Pins About half way to Clifden a glimpse is caught of the tall poles of the Marconi installation at Mannin Bay." Refernce
Clifden Railway Station, Galway
A.K.A. - The Clifden Station House Hotel.
- 53.488439, -10.017684
- Have Google Earth? Download a K.M.Z.
- The Track and Plaftorm, were on this side of the Building - South..
- There was a Turntable here, marked with text on one Map, and a faint Circle on the Cassini.. It is gone now though.
"The town is dusty and uninteresting ; so late as the year 1815 there was only a single house on the site. Its origin is due to Mr. D' Arcy, who first pointed out the advantageous position, and offered "leases for ever, together with four acres of mountain land, at but a short distance from the projected town, at twenty shillings per annum." Ref. -Guide.
"A railroad between Galway and Clifden Was finished only six weeks ago, but as the con- tract with the coach line has not yet expired, the latter still carries the mail between the two cities.
As we plod along in our primitive way, we hear the shrill whistle of a locomotive, and see the train speeding over the new road, and, viewing the two modes of travel, the old and the new,
I am impressed with the perseverance and progress of man, in pushing capital into quarters so firmly stamped with the spirit of antediluvianism."
An Account published in 1899, above - The British Isles through an Opera Glass.
Image above (click, to enlarge), is a 0-6-0, which basically means that the 6 Wheels (3 on each side), are driven. Zero wheels are leading, and zero are trailing - from a Power Transmission perspective. To put it another way - six Wheels are connected by Con-rods, in this case..
The Engine's -
- Class - E.
- Wheel Diameter, was 4 Foot, 6 inches.
- Weight - Roughly 37 metric Ton.
The Connemara Greenway.
The Connemara Greenway, seems to be a Project/ Campaign, to promote the use, deviopment and official Planning permissions - to establish the Galway to Clifen Route, as a potential Cycle and Walk way.
In principle - it is a fine idea.
In practice - it will take some "ironing-out", and is incremtentally advancing.