Nostalgia: Looking back at Cork transport down through the years

Nostalgia: Looking back at Cork transport down through the years

CIE railwaymen pictured with the last livestock train to leave Macroom station in November, 1953. 

Cork has experienced an "impressive improvement" in traffic congestion levels and has gone from being the world’s 75th most congested city in 2019 to its 100th in 2020.

That's according to the location technology specialist TomTom, who created a traffic index which details the traffic situation in 2020 in over 400 cities in 57 countries.

Cars on Parnell Bridge in the 1930s. 
Cars on Parnell Bridge in the 1930s. 

The latest traffic index report shows that the global Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on traffic congestion in Ireland.

Stephanie Leonard, Head of Innovation and Policy at TomTom, said the country is now "moving in the right direction in the fight against congestion".

"The pandemic of course has had a dramatic impact, but it coincides with a raft of ambitious policies designed to lower traffic levels across the nation.

Tram stopped outside the Victoria Hotel as a gentleman keeps up to date on Boer War outside the Cork Examiner office, Patrick St, on October 3 1899.
Tram stopped outside the Victoria Hotel as a gentleman keeps up to date on Boer War outside the Cork Examiner office, Patrick St, on October 3 1899.

"This includes the rolling out of new bicycle pumps and lanes across Dublin roads, new Bus Connect routes, and the continued development of the Cork North Ring Road," she said.

However, she added that "a concerted and deliberate change in driver behaviour" coupled with action from Ireland's city planners, policymakers, employers and drivers is needed to see a permanent end to the rush hour.

In light of the recently published data, we have delved through our archives to take a look back at times when cars didn't dominate the roads.

South Union Hunt meet at the Fingerpost, Douglas, circa 1915.
South Union Hunt meet at the Fingerpost, Douglas, circa 1915.

One photograph shows the South Union Hunt meeting at the Fingerpost in Douglas circa 1915, long before it became a major roundabout. 

Others show the popularly of trams over the decades.

Also pictured is the Cork and Muskerry Light Railway built in 1887 primarily for tourist purposes, to bring visitors from Cork city to Blarney and its historic castle.

Cork City Councillor and local historian Kieran McCarthy notes that the railway also served other purposes. 

Alighting from the 'Muskerry Tram' at Blarney railway station circa 1910.
Alighting from the 'Muskerry Tram' at Blarney railway station circa 1910.

"Supporters of the railway line also aimed to provide improved transport for locals with livestock and farm produce between the farming area north-west of Cork and the city and for coal and minerals in the reverse direction."

According to Blarney Castle's website, the railway, or 'Muskerry Tram' as it was colloquially known as, was an instant success and after just one week the train was packed to capacity with over 2,000 passengers.

The new Cork to Dublin Pullman sleeper bus pictured at Patrick Street, 1929.
The new Cork to Dublin Pullman sleeper bus pictured at Patrick Street, 1929.

At its height, the line operated nine steam locomotives.

In the 1920s, road competition started to affect the railway and it eventually closed in December, 1934. 

Also in the archives are photographs of a sleeper bus, which operated between Cork and Dublin in the 1920s.

It did not attract the patronage expected by the operating company and was withdrawn after a short period. 

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more