On The QT

A train in the bar!

Blogger: Fiona O’Connell

Your Experience: A venue once best known for an incident in Irish political history, it is today home to Castlerea Railway Museum and the largest private collection of railway memorabilia. On January 10th 1992 an RTE programme “Nighthawks” was broadcast from the venue with the late Sean Doherty T.D. alleging that the Taoiseach at the time had known about and approved the illegal phone tapping of journalists. That historic interview led to the resignation of then Taoiseach Charles J. Haughey. Today however the public house is making history for another reason; the pub is the only one in the world that we know of with a railway locomotive within its four walls. A former CIE A Class locomotive No. A55, a Metropolitan Vickers diesel electric, dating from 1955, holds pride of place. A railway museum has been built around the locomotive giving the overall effect of the train arriving through the wall into the bar. The locomotive however, which has been tastefully converted into a snug, is just the beginning. The walls of the museum are adorned with an incredibly large and varied repository of railway heritage memorabilia; bells, lamps, shunting poles, signal equipment, station boards. From drivers’ caps, to a ticket booth, to station signs and a recently discovered Rail Bike which was used to inspect the tracks, the museum provides a vivid insight into rail travel during the last century. The collection with hundreds of rail tickets and black and white photographs, documents the history of current and previous lines and stations in a most fascinating way.

The museum’s collection is brought to life by the knowledge and stories of its owner Sean, a lifelong railway enthusiast. His enthusiasm is infectious and I left with a greater love and appreciation for the history of railway transport. Castlerea Railway Museum exceeded all my expectations.

QT Tips: Access to the museum is by appointment so it is imperative to ring ahead. Contact Sean Browne on 0872308152 or for further information visit his website http://hellskitchenmuseum.com/index.htm

Describe in 5 words: A fascinating insight to railways

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