24 July-Muine Bheag (Bagenalstown) Railway Station

Muine Bheag, also known as Bagenalstown is a town with a population of around 3,000 on the River Barrow in Co Carlow, Ireland. The town was founded by Walter Bagenal (1670-1745) of nearby Dunleckney Manor. It is said that he modelled the town, which is built overlooking the River Barrow, on Versailles in France. The town is unusual in Ireland in that, with its wide streets, it is planned to a grid. It has several landmark buildings including the Railway Station, St Mary’s Church and St Andrews Church. One of the most unusual buildings in the town is the courthouse building. It was erected by Philip Bagenal (1796-1856) great-grandson of Walter and is modelled on the Parthenon in Athens. The front of the courthouse with its granite columns faces away from main-street and overlooks the river Barrow.

The opening of the Barrow canal in the late 18th century had for time a significant impact on the development of Bagenalstown and by 1837 the town had a population of 1,315. However with the arrival of the railway in 1848 the town began to expand significantly. The railway line from Dublin to Carlow was extended southwards towards Kilkenny and a station, which was then called Bagnalstown was opened. In 1910 the station was renamed Bagenalstown and the name changed again to Muine Bheag station in 1988.

It was decided in 1854 to construct a railway from Bagnalstown to Borris. Carlow MP, Arthur MacMurrough Kavanagh of Borris House, was a strong supporter of the project. When the Bagenalstown & Wexford railway line opened the station at Bagenalstown became a junction. Though the line to Wexford was closed in 1963, Bagenalstown continues to operate as a station on the inter-city service between the cities of Dublin and Waterford.

Muine Bheag (Bagnalstown) railway station opened in the year 1848 On This Day.

River Barrow photo

Market Square, Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, late 19th century

Photo by National Library of Ireland on The Commons

Barrow River, Ireland by eutrophication&hypoxia on 2010-05-11 08:27:12

12 May-Kilkenny City Railway Station

Kilkenny City Railway Station, which serves the city of Kilkenny, Ireland, is a station on the Dublin to Waterford intercity route. On April 10th 1966 it was given the name Macdonagh Station in commemoration of Thomas MacDonagh one of the leaders of the Easter Rising of 1916. MacDonagh from Cloughjordan in County Tipperary had been a teacher at St Kieran’s College in Kilkenny City in 1902.

The station was designed in the 1840’s by Captain William Scarth Moorsom. He was an engineer working on the railway line which was being extended south from Carlow to Waterford. He had extensive experience working on railway buildings in England, Ireland and Europe. He also designed the viaduct over the River Nore near Thomastown. His design of Kilkenny station was later modified by the architect Sancton Wood who also designed Heuston station in Dublin.

Kilkenny station, which is on a spur line off the main Dublin to Waterford railway line, opened in 1848. However the building was modified in 1868 when a railway line was built from Kilkenny to Portlaoise. In common with many lines in rural Ireland that line was closed in 1962. A railway line from Castlecomer to Kilkenny city was opened in 1919. The line was of great significance in the development of the Castlecomer coal mines. During the 1950’s three trains carrying 90 metric tonnes of coal left Castlecomer for Kilkenny City each day. The line also provided a passenger service from 1921 to 1931.

In recent years the station has undergone a major transformation. The modern station building is now in the old cargo shed and an extensive shopping mall has been developed close by. Today a train journey from McDonagh Station, Kilkenny to Dublin Heuston takes an hour and a half. When the station first opened the same journey took almost three hours.

Though the first train did not arrive until 14th November 1850, Kilkenny City Railway Station was opened in the year 1848 On This Day.

Kilkenny station photo

MacDonagh Station

Photo by Bernie Goldbach

 

29 July-Dr Robert Cane

Dr Robert Cane was born in Kilkenny in 1807. He studied medicine in Dublin and was MD of the University of Glasgow. He returned to practice in his native city and became a member of the Repeal Association and the Irish Confederation. He founded the Celtic Union in 1853 and was twice elected Lord Mayor of Kilkenny. He was arrested following the rising of 1848 On This Day

Kilkenny photo

Photo by National Library of Ireland on The Commons