Through Streets Broad & Narrow: A History of Dublin Trams
The last major tramway system in these islands to have its history recounted, is that of Dublin. At its peak the system had a fleet of over 300 tramcars running on its unique 5ft 3in gauge tracks. From the 1870s through to the final abandonment of the tramways in Dublin in 1949, the tramcar was a vital part of the life of the city. This book sets out story of the growth and decline of the urban tramways of Dublin from the first horse trams of the 1870s through to the Luxury cars of the 1930s. An additional chapter deals with the famous Hill of Howth line, Ireland's last tramway, which survived until 1959. The other lines in the greater Dublin area, the Dublin & Blessington and the Dublin & Lucan, are also dealt with. Whilst it contains all the detailed information that a tramway enthusiast or historian could wish for, including route maps and fleet lists, this book is much more than just the measured and well researched history of a transportation system, which it is.
It is also a social history of the city and its citizens throughout the era of the trams. The story of the tramways is put in the context of the condition of the city and its people which is revealed in a detailed examination of the public services, housing, policing, living costs and a variety of other measures. These are reviewed at certain key dates throughout the story. The industrial strife which culminated in the famous lockout of 1913, that battle of wills between the larger than life figures of James Larkin and William Martin Murphy, is discussed. How the legacy of bitterness and poor industrial relations from that time rippled through to the late twentieth century is also explored. This trauma was quickly followed by the political turmoil of the period from 1916 to 1922. Despite the great material damage which the Easter Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War, inflicted on Dublin, the trams kept on running, serving the citizens as they always had done. References to the trams in some of the great literature produced in Dublin in the first decades of the last century are also included showing how much a part of the very fabric of Dublin were its trams. There is evidence that James Joyce had more than a passing interest in trams! This is a book which all of those, who know and love Dublin and its people, will enjoy. It is full of anecdotes and stories, some harrowing, many amusing, tales of storms and accidents, strikes and a great tradition of public service. It contains examples of the wit of legendary tramway characters and tales of the 'bona fide' travellers who took the tram to Lucan to slake their thirsts when pubs were closed in the city on Sunday. It is also appropriate that the story of Dublin's tramways is being told for the first time as construction gets under way on a new tramway system for the city, which will make as valuable a contribution to the city in the twenty-first century, as the original system did in the past.
Hardback, 160 pages, black & white photographs
Condition: Very Good
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Updated: 29 December 2022