Rathfarnham Historical Society Event

Rathfarnham Historical Society will meet on Thursday 29 October 2015 at 8 P.M. in The Church of Ireland Parish Centre, Main Street, Rathfarnham Village.


The Dublin and Blessington Steam Tram at Templeogue. Photo: H.C. Casserley (South Dublin Libraries)

The Dublin and Blessington Steam Tram at Templeogue. Photo: H.C. Casserley (South Dublin Libraries)

A talk on The Dublin and Blessington Steam Tramway will be given by Roger White (Secretary and Treasurer of the Society)

Note: the talk will be preceded by a short video on the old Landy’s Bakery in the Village. All welcome! Admission for non-members is €4


The Lucan Tram

In 1887 the Light Railways (Ireland) Bill was passed which allowed for Light Railways to be subsidised out of local area (baronial) rates. One such area was Lucan. Situated nine miles West of Dublin it seems to have been well served by public transport. Lucan had two railway stations, Coldblow or Lucan North on the Midland and Great Western Line and Lucan South on the Great Southern and Western Line. However both of these stations were some distance from the village and were mainly used by the residents of the big houses in the area who could travel to and from the stations in their carriages.

The tram terminus in Lucan Village

The tram terminus in Lucan Village

Lucan was developing, the mills of Shackleton and Hill had opened and the Spa Hotel, with its sulphur springs, was much frequented by the citizens of Dublin seeking cures for rheumatic ailments. It was therefore obvious that there was a need for a more direct link with the city, which would also service the intervening villages of Palmerstown and Chapelizod. Approval was given and The Dublin and Lucan Steam Tramway Company was established. In December 1880 the first rails were laid. The line started 12 yards from the end of the Dublin Tramways line at Parkgate Street, continued along the north side of the road to Chapelizod, crossing the Liffey on the east side of the bridge. From there to Lucan it ran on the south side of the road. The line to Chapelizod opened in June 1881 and the full line to Lucan was completed by February 1883.

By August 1883, 82,968 passengers had been carried, showing the popularity of the line. By February 1887 passenger traffic had risen to 135,177 and goods traffic had risen to 150 to 200 tons per week. The tram line was later electrified in 1900, making it more reliable.

1916 Rising

The Lucan tram was the only service in Dublin to keep running during the Easter Rising of 1916, a fact that was referred to in an advertising post card issued by the Spa Hotel, which read:

“This district has been favoured with a unique experience during the rising. It remained absolutely free from local disturbance, and owing to the energy and resource of Mr. Grosart, the manager, the Dublin and Lucan Electric Railway continued its service without interruption. The village and the Spa Hotel were crowded with visitors from all parts of Ireland […] ‘peace and plenty’ reigned in Lucan, disturbed only by the boom of the distant guns in the city and the glare at night of the conflagrations.” Freeman’s Journal 9th May 1916.

The end of the line

The Civil War with its disruption of traffic, competition from motor bus services, and declining passenger numbers saw the closure of the Dublin and Lucan Electric Tramway in January 1925.  The last service left each terminus at 10.15 pm on 29th January 1925. After a period of forty-one years this tramway, which had serviced the outlying areas of South County Dublin, had come to the end of the line.

The Lucan tram was to be commemorated in a unique fashion when in 1923, Jack B. Yeats painted In the Tram, which shows two young women gossiping with an older woman in the corner of the Lucan Tram. Yeats chose the subject of trams as he saw them as an illustration of modern urban living. When first exhibited Yeats titled this picture In the Lucan Tram, or the Merry Wives of Lucan. The painting can now be seen in the National Gallery.

Joe Williams, Clondalkin Historical Society.

<< Rewind with The Echo

If you got a copy of last week’s Echo (February 2nd), you may have noticed a new feature page called Rewind. It’s a dedicated local history page, produced in partnership with the Local Studies section at the County Library, Tallaght, featuring articles, photos and interesting facts about the history of South Dublin County. The first article was an overview of local studies resources at the County Library, and future articles will focus on topics like village histories, architecture and monuments, famous natives and residents, businesses, folklore and memories, events and much more. Check it out every week in The Echo!

Tallaght Historical Society Lecture Series 2012

Thursday, 12th January 2012

Tallaght Through the Ages

Tomás Maher


 Thursday 9th February 2012

The History of Glencree and the Reformatory

Frank Tracy


 Thursday 8th March 2012

Alice Furlong, Tallaght Poetess

Eamonn Maloney, T.D.


 Thursday, 12th April 2012

The History of Tallaght Aerodrome

Michael Whelan


Thursday 10th May 2012

The History of the Dublin & Blessington Steam Tram

Aidan Cruise


 Thursday 14th June 2012

The Battle of Tallaght

Seán Bagnall


All lectures take place at the County Library, Tallaght, commencing at 7:00 p.m.

All Welcome!

Tallaght Historical Society Chairperson:  Anne Hanrahan—contact 2441463 or 0876315773

The Dublin and Blessington Steam Tram

South Dublin County Libraries have just published a new book by Aidan Cruise, The Dublin and Blessington Steam Tram: a Pictorial and Social History. Long before the Luas came to Tallaght, this tram trundled through the Village, and also had stops at the Belgard Road, Jobstown, Embankment, Saggart and Brittas, before making its way on to Blessington. In this book Aidan details the social aspects of the tram – the effect it had on the commercial life of the county, as well as the difference it made to the lives of the people who used it. The book was launched by Mayor Mick Duff at the County Library last Thursday evening and all the signs are pointing towards it being a bestseller! The book is available for purchase in all branches of South Dublin County Libraries priced €10.