1896: The Opening of a Railway Station in the Emerald Isle

August 1, 1896

In the northeastern part of the present-day Republic of Ireland, a railway station was opened in the town and townland (division) of Ardee in County Louth. At that time, the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland were merged together as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; this sovereign state remained in existence until the establishment of the Irish Free State, forerunner of the Republic of Ireland, in 1922.

The station in Ardee was opened by the Great Northern Railway of Ireland (GNRI) as the terminus for a five-mile (eight-kilometer) branch off the main line between the cities of Belfast and Dublin. GNRI had been established two decades earlier as the result of a merger of the Irish North Western Railway, Northern Railway of Ireland, and Ulster Railway.

When the Ardee railway station was inaugurated, William Hemingway Mills (1834-1918) was GNRI’s chief engineer. He served in this position from the founding of the railway in 1876 to his retirement in 1910.  Joshua H. Hargrave (1860-1924) was the GNRI engineer who was initially responsible for the oversight of the branch line that included the Ardee railway station.

The trains serving this line transported passengers until June 3, 1934. The line remained in use for the shipment of local livestock, fertilizer, and sugar beets until sometime during the mid-1970s. (The above photo of the Ardee railway station was taken in 1976.) The line was not officially closed until 1987, however. The trackbed was subsequently removed and, in 2007, that section was converted into a path for pedestrians. The two-story red brick house that had served as the main building for the Ardee railway station is now owned and occupied by the agricultural machinery business Mid-Louth Garage.

Photo Credit: Albert Bridge/Ardee station (1976)/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

For more information on the Great Northern Railway of Ireland, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Northern_Railway_(Ireland)

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