South Dublin Trams

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  • Aspects: South Dublin

Dublin and Blessington Steam Tramway

On 1 August 1880, almost 125 years before the Luas, the first tram system began to operate in Dublin. It was called the Dublin and Blessington Steam Tramway (DBST). It served the people of Dublin and Wicklow for more than fifty years before stopping in 1932.

The DBST was an important development in public transport for Dublin and some of its surrounding areas. Before the tramway, the nearest train or tram transport was from Clondalkin. This was 5 kilometres from Tallaght, Harristown or Naas and 13 kilometres from Blessington. The tram served the important cattle and sheep fairs of Blessington and the De Selby Quarries at Jobstown, making it an important trade link.

Beware Excited Horses

The DBST connected Blessington to Dublin City via Terenure. There was a tram terminus at Terenure, where passengers and freight could access the Dublin tram service further into Dublin City. This picture was taken in 1932 and shows the tram tracks in Terenure.

From Terenure, the tram passed through an iron gateway on to the Templeogue Road and ran along the lefthand side of the road.

Over the years, many people were killed in accidents involving trams. However, most were not actually struck by trams but were thrown from their horses, which were frightened by the noise.

Running Out of Steam

During the period 1920 to 1922, the fighting in the Irish Civil War destroyed the DBST track in a number of places. Normal operations were disrupted as a result of this. During this time, business was also lost to road hauliers.

Dublin and Blessington Steam Tram
South Dublin Libraries. Courtesy of Mr Richard Casserley.

By the time the Civil War had ended, increasing competition from lorries and the arrival of buses reduced the demand for the tram service further. The service had never managed to become profitable. The last trams ran on Saturday 31 December 1932, having served the people of Dublin and Wicklow since 1888.