Railway signals to an earlier way of life

I WISH to congratulate the Glounthaune Community Association in Co Cork for the acquisition of the old railway signals from Iarnród Eireann.

The railway line has been part of our heritage for centuries, especially for Little Island and Glounthaune. The arrival of the railway circa 1860 changed the whole entrance arrangement to Glounthaune village. The bridge and stone steps erected then are still in place and are also a memorial to these changes.

The people in Glounthaune village have seen many changes in the noise levels from the old steam engines to the modern, sleek trains. No doubt the noise of the early morning steam trains passing close by in the early days was utilised by many villagers as their alarm clock.

Likewise the people of Little Island were familiar with the noise of these trains crossing the bridges over the river from Clash/Courtstown – not to mention the necessity to avoid them while crossing the track via the Crompaun. The various railway companies who operated the Cork/Youghal/Cobh lines over the centuries provided employment for local people. There are many families in Little Island /Glounthaune and surrounding areas who have a tradition of working on the railways from the time of their arrival in the locality.

They worked in various capacities – stationmasters, engine drivers, signalmen, linesmen, porters, crossing gate operators, fitters, etc. And there were jobs for some women too as caterers, cleaners, etc. In fact this employment tradition for local people continues to the present day. The erection of the signals in Craig’s field is a fitting memorial to all those who worked in the railway over the centuries.

Diane Wakefield

Little Island

Co Cork

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