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Engine No 4 - Blarney
The Cork and Muskerry Light Railway
by Madge Ahern
The line from the Western Road Cork to Blarney was opened in 1887, and it was extended to Coachford in 1888 and to Donoughmore in 1893. It was a narrow gauge steam railway which ran partly on the side of the road, through fields and by the sides of rivers and streams. For almost 50 years, until it closed in 1934, it provided a valuable passenger and goods service to the surrounding countryside and its demise due to the onset of motor traffic was much regretted.

In 1902, the Tram was used to carry large quantities of sand between Blarney and Carrigrohane, from where it was taken by lorry to Ballincollig for the building of the Army barracks. The tram was also used by farmers to take cattle to Cork City on fair day.

On 14th August 1922 the IRA blew up Leemount Bridge (Anglers’ Rest). This caused a complete stoppage of services. Shuttle passengers left the train, walked across a narrow rickety bridge and got onto another waiting train on the other side of the bridge. Leemount Bridge was rebuilt in 1923 and reopened on May 20th of that year.

The Muskerry Tram, or “Hook and Eye” as it was affectionately known, hit the newspaper headlines in September 1926 when the early morning train from Blarney was involved in a crash with a County Council steam roller on the Carrigrohane straight road near Inchigaggin, resulting in the derailment of the train’s engine and several carriages. No serious injuries were suffered and passengers proceeded on foot to Victoria Cross where they got electric tram transport to the City centre.

The stations on the Blarney line were Victoria Cross, Carrigrohane, Leemount Cross, Healy’s Bridge, Coachford Junction (near Muskerry Golf Club), Tower Bridge, St Ann’s Hydro and Blarney. The Blarney terminus was at the gate of Blarney Castle.

The Coachford line ran through Cloghroe, Gurteen, Dripsey, Kilmurray, Peake and Coachford.
The Donoughmore line ran from St Ann’s near Gleann Na Ri housing estate up the Shournagh River to Fox’s Bridge, Firmount and Donoughmore.

Fare: Return 1 shilling. Third Class 10 pence.

The Muskerry Tram closed on 29th December 1934.