Kenmare’s Last Train – Amharc Éireann: Eagrán 32
On the 1st of February 1960, Kenmare locals and railway workers looked on as the last train made its final journey on the tracks before the line closed. These trains were quite slow by modern standards but acted as a faster more efficient method of travel compared to a horse and cart. However, due to significant loses, CIE was forced to close the lines and replace the train service with a new bus route.
It was the end of an era for the community and especially poignant for station master, Proinsias Ó Briain, who had worked there for over 40 years. Constructed in 1893 the railway line serviced the area from Kenmare to Headford and was one of 6 other lines that had been forced to close within the space of a month. In the 1950s and ‘60s large numbers of rural railway routes closed down due to high operating and maintenance costs. Many of the original tracks still exist, abandoned in the rural Irish landscape. It was not until the 1990s that Ireland would see a revival in the rail industry due to a population boom and newly thriving economy, famously known as the ‘Celtic Tiger’.
Produced by Gael Linn, Amharc Éireann (A View of Ireland) is Ireland’s longest-running indigenous newsreel series. It was distributed to cinemas throughout the country to promote the Irish language. Between 1956 and 1964, 267 editions of the newsreel were produced for cinema exhibition.
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With kind permission of Gael Linn.