Galway to Clifden Railway Line.

  • The Galway to Clifden Railway Line.

  • Built and ran by the Midland Great Western Railway Company. 1891.
  •  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 iClifden by Train, in a commercial sense, 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
  • 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
  • Maps
  • The Connemara Express.
  • Lough Atalia
  • Newcastle
  • Dangan
  • Bushypark
  • Moycullen
  • Ross Railway Station / Rosscahill
  • Oughterard
  • Maam Cross.
  • Galway Docks
  • The Corrib Great Southern Hotel.

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. Galway to Clifden Line, Prospect Hill
    • The colourful image shows temporary supporting frames which were used in 2019.
  • Bohermore Tunnel
    Galway to Clifden Line Tunnel, Bohermore, Galway
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Prospect Hill Tunnel, 2018  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.
    Prospect Hill Tunnel, 2020
  • This is a still image from a video, whose owner, we have failed to trace. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., if it is yours.

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).
    Shannon Dry Cleaners, Prospect Hill, 2009
    Shannon Dry Cleaners, Prospect Hill, 2009

OBG173 Bridge.

  • 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.
    obg173 Bridge, Galway
    obg173 Bridge, Galway

Turn Table.

  • Was this machine used for the Clifden Line? I don't know. but that access was possible? They were used for maintenance also, so maybe in that respect alone, or both.
  • 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.
  • Weight? Capacity weight?
  • If, housed in a shed, these are known as Roundhouses. 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?
  • 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.
    Turn Table, for Clifden Line
    Turn Table, for Clifden Line
  • Can be seen from "The Line" to Renmore.
  • Coordinates ;  53.273262 ,   -9.045191
  • 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.
  • 25 inch map, Turn Table
    Galway, Turn Table


Turn Table, Ceannt, Galway
Turn Table, Ceannt Station, Galway
recent enough
Gareth James

Woodquay, Galway

  • The Galway to Clifden Railway Line, passed through Woodquay in the City, after leaving Bohermore
    It is now overland, and over water too, as it crosses the Corrib River  upstream from the Salmon Weir. To do so, it is on legs which are faced with beautifully hand-cut Limestone.
    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 and others.
    Terryland Castle, is nearby, but was long extinct, during this era.

  • A Vessel with a Diesel Engine, can take you up and about - the Corrib Princess.

  • Some Local Men, known as Gillies (hunting and fishing guides), have particular contracts with particular Businesses, while others can be hired for customised spins.
  • The Salmon Weir Bridge (1818), is downstream.
  • See Youtube for this aspect of Woodquay.
    • The Galway Catherdral, within view, didn't exist at that location, at that time.
    • That lone White House, on the other side of the Corrib, I thought, was that of Colonel Cross, but a Gentleman on site, said it was not.?
  • The evidence is clear to see. From the Headford Road to Woodquay, an unusually high and long ridge, through overgrown is visible. 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".
  • Stone Pillars
    Stone Pillars in Woodquay


End of the Line, before the Corrib River.
End of the Line, before the Corrib River.

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 Connemara Express

Forster Street.

  •  West, of the Magdalene Asylum (now, commonly called Laundry) 1824 - 1984
    • Convent and Church, are protected structures.
    • Oddly, or maybe not - a Concrete Water Trough outside Hynes's Shop, is also protected.
  •   Forcing through , the changing elevation between this Street and Prospect Hill.
    • A potential 5 metre difference, met, by going over and under.
    • Shoring, up and down.
    • And coming from another elevated point - beneath the the OBG173
  • Nothing much, in the way of this development, either.
    • Bothar ( Bhreandain) Ui Eithir (R336), is a new invention, hardly 30 years old?
Crossing Forster Street
Line across Forster Street


  • 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
  • Glenlo Abbey promote the passage through their Lands.
    • They seem to own the Raddison / Galmont, from where we began near the Fairgreen.



Moycullen Railway Station.

  • See Moycullen Railway Station on Youtube
  •  53.344343,   -9.172647 
  • moycullen station road
    Moycullen Railway Station is down this Road.
    Aerial View, Moycullen Railway Station
  • 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.

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. It is too new to be old, and you'd be induced into a phase of wonedring if you were going back in time, or forward.
    It wasn't carved through Connemara Rock, but scooped from the Hills there, and some credit must go to the surveyors at the time, who planned its path. It is shaded from the winds, on both sides by that now-divided Hiil.
    It is like a Spout, about to pour into Connemara..
    You don't yet know, how it is going to get through the larger solid rock formations in front of it. It looks, impossible. That your are at the end of the Line..........
    We owe a gratitude, to the preservers of this place. and know well, that it could have gone the other way.
    That crooked Road beside it, is older again, and didn't need to be straight, to maintain its course. A Train however, comes without a Steering Wheel, as standard, and must be guided, externally.

Ross Railway Station, Galway

 Ross Railway Station, Galway


  • South West of Ougherard Town.
  • Abandoned, for the most part.
  • Looks like, they had a Turn Table too, for changing the orientation of the Engine / Loco..
    •  53.421624 ,  -9.326065
  • The Old Railway Line, crossed the current Road there, at  53.421867 ,   -9.328843  , as it swept towards the West.
Oughterard Railway Station
Oughterard Railway Station and Turn Table

Maam Cross 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.


There is conflict between the Cassini and 25 inch, with one showing Forster Street over the line and the opposite for the other?.