Transport (Cahersiveen NS Folklore Project)

Q: Was the closing down of the railway system in Cahersiveen bad in your opinion?

Yes, it was. It brought a lot of work to the area. More income and new families came with the railway. If the railway was still operating today we would have a better working situation, more infrastructure and a better social outlet. We would have had greater opportunities in the area.


Q: How did you get to school?

I was lucky I lived in town (down in the Camps), so I could walk to school. Some of my friends who lived much further than I did had to walk also (shoes were a luxury not everyone had.)


Q: What do you think will improve our transport system in Kerry?

Better roads, more opportunities in rural areas in linking up with larger towns and offering people better employment. Therefore the roads would need to be far greater than they are now. And bring back the railway to Cahersiveen!


Q: Was transport different to nowadays?

Yes, it was. There was a lot more labour involved, back then but it’s great to see progress. Roads were also quieter. Machines would nearly do the job themselves now.


Q: How many years has transport been available to the public in Kerry?

I suppose Kerry was opened up by the railway system back in the early 1960’s. Before that you had the horse and cart.


Q: How do you feel about modern transport?

It’s fantastic. You can travel the world in a few days, but long ago it took you 3 weeks to go to America by boat.


Q: What year did the railway system open up?

God, I’ll have to look it up. It was there when I was young boy. It must have been there since the early 1960’s.

[The railway opened in 1893 and closed in 1963.]


Q: Can you remember your very first vehicle? Yes I do, I bought my first motorcar when I was 21 and I did taxi runs to Cork every Sunday bringing people to big dances.


Q: What type of transport was in at your time?

The horse and cart was the main type of transport. Lorries were bought by the railway when I was in my teens, and I actually began to fix them.


Q: How did transport help the farmers long ago?

The railway helped the farmers bring animals to fairs in Killorglin. Before this they had to walk them to larger towns if they needed to. The farmers began to buy tractors and trailers and became independent of the railway.


Q: Did Kerry Airport make a big difference to the county of Kerry?

Yes, indeed it did. It opened Kerry up to tourists from all over the world. It helped the economy and helps people to be at their destination a lot quicker.


Q: What is the best outcome of transport in Kerry?

The Ring of Kerry is the greatest form of transport in my eyes as it delivers the greatest and the most beautiful parts of Kerry to the tourists.


Q:  Do you think we still need to travel in order to see or deliver information to people?

Well, I don’t know much about computers but I do know you can reach people or products at the touch of a button. However nothing is like travelling the open road as you meet people and see places along the way.


Q: What was the postal system like when you were a boy in comparison to today?

The post is now delivered anywhere in Ireland or Great Britain the next day, where as when I was young the post depended on the railway leaving town and meeting other trains or boats to collect the post.

It could take weeks to get your post from America.


Q: Does Cahersiveen have decent transport opportunities of today?

Yes it does, we rely heavily on our roads to transport goods in and out of the area. If we have snow we are snookered and that’s terrible in this day and age.


Q: Do you think we will ever go back to a less primitive form of transport in the future?

If the price of fuel and the cost of maintaining our roads increases, then we will have to go back to the good old horse and cart.


Q: Has the internet helped the availability of goods?

It definitely has; you can buy a suit from England on the internet and have it delivered in a few days. 


Q: What was good about the old forms of transport?

Well, it involved more people on the ground, but you made so many friends all over the country that it was a pleasure to be involved in transport at the early stages.


Q: How often did you go on the train?

Not very often, mainly when I got older. I would use the train to go to Dublin on business.


Q: How much was a ticket?

I can’t remember but it would have been a couple of shillings.


Q: How many carriages were in the train?

There were 3 passenger carts, 2 good carriages and a number of livestock carriages.


Q: What is the future of transport?

The mind boggles!  Transport should be about getting people and products to their destination as safely and as quickly as possible. Transport has progressed so much in my life time that I would not be surprised if we will all be able to go to the moon for a weekend break soon. Anything is possible!


Q: How long did it take for you to walk to school?

It took me less than 5 minutes.


Q: How did others get to school?

Most of us walked but some of the lads outside of town came either by bike or horse and cart with their Father.


Q: Did you wear shoes going to school?

Yes I did. I had school shoes and my Mother would always give us our Sunday shoes going to mass


Q: How long would it take to get to Killorglin?

It took about an hour to get to Killorglin. Traffic was not an issue back then.


Q: How many carriages were in the train?

There were 3 passenger carts, 2 goods carriages and a number of livestock carriages.


Q: How much was your car?

I bought it on hire purchase for 80 pounds.


Q: What kind of car did you have?

I had a Bentley, which I bought in Dublin.


Q: Were there safety belts back then?

Yes there were, but there weren’t many regulations about wearing them.


Q: Was there a local garage?

Yes, there was and I opened one up myself.


Q: How much was the taxi to Cork?

It was around 5 pounds, which was a lot of money back then.


Q: Did most of your friends have cars?

No, there was only that which belonged to the church and they shared it with the public.


Q: What were the most popular tyres?

Most popular tyres were Dunlop; which were imported.


Q: What was the most popular insurance?

The only insurance available was for the named driver. There was no ‘fire and theft’ at the time. There was only one road tax for cars as the engines were not that big. There weren’t many vehicles on the road either, so it was a lot cheaper than it is now.


Q: What was the most popular type of car?

Fords were very popular but expensive.


Q: Where was the post office in Cahersiveen?

It was up Old Post Office Street, which is by the Corner House.


Q: How much were the stamps?

I can’t remember. I didn’t do a lot of posting but a lot was sent to England and America as a lot of people had family abroad and it was the only way of keeping in touch.


Q: Was there a bus to Killarney?

No there wasn’t at the time, but C.I.E brought in a bus route much later. People had to go by train or taxi.


Q: How many petrol stations were in Cahersiveen?

There was only one and I opened one up in the 1960’s.

Q: Was petrol expensive?

It wasn’t too expensive and people were careful not to waste their petrol and only used cars for short journeys. Cars were becoming more popular in Cahersiveen in the early 1960’s as we had no trains then.


Q: Where did planes land when you were young?

They landed in Shannon Airport and Dublin Airport. There was no airport in Cork until much later.


Q: What other countries would people travel to?

It was mainly England and America and the odd one went to Australia, but seldom came back home.

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