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Welcome to Irish Railway Architecture

Irish Railway Architecture is a collection of images, histories, stories and discoveries of Ireland's railway architecture.

Posted one stop at a time, it is part of doctoral research into the architecture of the Great Northern Railway in Ireland. Find out more

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Recent posts

Pausing at Portmarnock

A bright, blustery day in November whipped me up on the DART to Portmarnock. A quick nosey at the station and off to the Velvet Strand trĂ¡ for gasps of fresh winter air were the planned order of the day. 
Alas, this was not to be. The brutalist cement and steel manifestations of station furniture, none of it looking particularly convivial, greeted my arrival. “Oh, it’s one of those non-station stations”, I thought, disheartened.
The station as a stop on the original Dublin and Drogheda Railway line was opened in 1844. But any physical manifestation of Victorian architecture was not to be found. The gale-force bleakness of the day did little to quell my sense of fruitlessness, and so after wandering around the surrounding roads and carpark, the irony of signage for ‘Station House’ and ‘Station Manor’ bedecked upon new and under-construction residential estates when the station didn’t actually exist was not lost on me. The archetypal castellated stone walls of the GNRI are seemingly al…

Up to Drogheda

Following my summer jaunt along to Howth, the next leg of my journey follows the original Dublin-Drogheda route constructed by the eponymous railway company before being taken over by the Great Northern Railway. I’ll give some history here and then each future post will be about each station as we head up to Drogheda.
The Dublin and Drogheda Railway Company (DDR for short – I don’t want to keep writing it in full!) was formed following advocacy in 1835 from Thomas Brodigan of Pilton House near Drogheda. He was made a Freeman of Drogheda in October 1836 following months of wrangling in the House of Lords, before the DDR was given Parliamentary approval on 13 August 1836. Brodigan was somewhat of an adventurer, undertaking his ‘Grand Tour’ travelling to Spain, Italy and the Middle East between 1845-6. But back to Leinster.

The route of the DDR was contested (hence the parliamentary wrangling) by a splinter group who wanted the line to run inland from Dublin to Navan and then north to Ar…

Howth-a-ya?

Following festive frolics, a dose of a head cold and a birthday (ugh), it’s time to get back to the good stuff: blog posts! So let’s get back to my day of station-spotting which concluded at Howth.

Dublin’s riviera promised sunshine, a beach, cliffs and overpriced seafood. The perfect end to a perfect day out.

Having only seen the Georgian front of Howth Station (I got the bus here a few months back), my eyes deceived me by delivering me to a Mills-style GNRI station, complete with yellow, red and black bricks, as per my first true love, Dundalk.
But it was not a mirage. Lurking behind tourists I waited for the platform to clear, camera at-hand ready to snap as-empty-a-platform-as-possible on a busy sunny August Bank Holiday Monday. Taking a photo of the somewhat weed-covered brickwork, a tourist-lemming appeared at my elbow with an irritating ‘cer-chik’. You can turn that sound-effect off, y’know. He beamed at me and shrugged before walking off and taking a picture of his shoes. At l…

Watt a Shock: Sutton

Nearing the end of my day-excursion stopping at the stations along the way to Howth, the calm twinkling sea guided my train into Sutton railway station.
An unassuming building, Sutton Station is a simple white-washed, single-storey Georgian example of functional symmetry. The projecting iron and wood (not glass) veranda jaggedly but gracefully sweeps towards the building mirroring the ironworks’ curves. The ‘GNR’ emblem finishes the company's decorative addition.
Opened as Baldoyle & Sutton in 1846, it was renamed Sutton in 1901 until 1916 when it was renamed as Sutton and Baldoyle. It reverted again to Sutton in 1935. The footbridge is a modern replacement of the original lattice-girder design favoured by the GNRI and its chief engineer, William Hemingway Mills.
Shown above is that the station building was originally natural stone colour, and not white. I particularly like the woman being asked by two(!) uniformed conductors for her ticket on the platform, which is obviously …

Paradise Lost: Howth Junction and Donaghmede

Alighting onto a post-apocalyptic concrete and steel abyss I surveyed the mesh of stairs, like an Escher lithograph, leading everywhere and nowhere simultaneously. “Where am I?” asked a bemused elderly lady I had stepped onto the platform with: “Howth Junction”. “Oh dear”.

Oh dear indeed. Where is the front of this ‘station’? I refuse to call it one: it is merely a set of stairs and a lift. Following signs to the exit I’m greeted with a dystopian Alice in Wonderland prospect of turning left into a car park and right along an overgrown, dirty footpath. I choose the latter; at least it might lead somewhere.

Dodging filth like the mad hatter, the elegant brick gables, stone lintels and terracotta chimney stacks of the former station master’s house can be spied amongst a wilderness of ivy, grass and razored-fencing. Forlornly neglected, the graceful merging of Classical pediments and Romanesque arched windows with Victorian brown and red brick creates an almost chequer-board effect. Brick…