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Railway Transport

The Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway commenced in 1877 and was completed in 1882. It was developed by prominent land owners and business people in Sligo. They needed to send their livestock and goods to the ports of Belfast and Derry through Enniskillen. This railway also linked Sligo to Dublin on the Midland Great Western Railway which had opened in 1862.

Unlike today, where the railways are funded by government, when the Sligo Leitrim was being built, it was funded by many of the business and landowners in Sligo. The following list of names acted as financial guarantors to the railway construction costs:-

  • Owen Wynne Hazelwood, Sligo
  • Earl of Enniskillen of Florence Court, Co. Fermanagh.
  • Sir. Robert Gore Booth, Bart., M.P., of Lissadell, Co. Sligo.
  • Henry William Gore-Booth of Lissadell, Co. Sligo.

Constance and her travelling days

In Constance's time, the family travelled widely and often. They all rode and occasionally, they would ride the ten miles into Sligo town on horseback. They travelled often to Dublin, London and the Continent by rail and boat.

Constance's family owned a 1910 Wolseley Siddeley for a time. This car is now in the NationalTransport Museum in Killarney.

In her journal, Constance records that she once travelled on the slow train to Dublin for economy. She wasn't impressed.


Travel from Sligo to Dublin

Travel from Sligo to Dublin

The Decline of the Railways

Passengers on the line had a choice of three classes of ticket namely first, second and third. Which do you think was the most comfortable? How do you think it was different to the other two?

Cattle were carried on the lines to both Belfast and Derry for export and to supply both urban populations.

After 1922, when the Republic of Ireland was set up, a customs barrier was established between the Free State, which ended in County Cavan and the Imperial Customs post at Belcoo, in County Fermanagh. This customs post was ended by the Single Market policy of the European Union on the 1st January 1993.

By the 1930's the Sligo Leitrim Railway had the same problems as railways everywhere. Railways had to compete with the growing importance of the internal combustion engine. Increasing numbers of lorries were being used to transport goods. The improvement in motor cars and buses and in the road network made motoring an alternative for people. Therefore, fewer people used trains and many railway lines closed down.