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Ardmore Memory and Story - Events and Changes

3. Transport
George And Florence Beresford Poer, Atlantic Lodge, ArdmoreLong journeys were not undertaken readily at the beginning of the century. There were no public systems of transport available in Ardmore i.e. no buses or trains. One simply walked, went on horse-back, by donkey and cart or by pony and trap or by jarvey car. Children always walked to school, many of them having journeys of three miles. On bad evenings their fathers (i.e. those fathers who possessed such means of transport) came to collect them by pony and trap.

On Sundays during mass, some farmers stabled their horses in what was then known as Harris' Stables, right in the centre of the village and now occupied by new housing. Most people left them in front of the church.

The hearses bringing coffins to the church were of course horse-drawn, with the horses caparisoned in black, the black ear pieces in particular looking decidedly odd and macabre.

According to Jimmie Rooney, born in 1909, the jarvey car owners in the village were Johnny McGrath, Dysert; Tommy Quinn, Main St; Patsy McCarthy at the end of the village where McCarthy's still have premises. Dick Power and Ahearns of the Hotel had carriages; and he says Billy Kenneally of Youghal and Mary Ellen Begley of Ardo went to the church in a carriage, the last pair who went to their wedding in such a conveyance.

Travelling Salespeople
In pre motorcar days most country people were delighted to avail of the services of people with horse-drawn vans who came at regular intervals and supplied them with groceries, which they had probably but not necessarily ordered from the previous week.

Troys of Curragh and Batty Healy of Rodeen (near Powers Cross) were the better known local ones, also Miky Allen of Ballyquin. Pasleys came too from Youghal, as did Dan McGrath: Market Square, Youghal, the notice on the outside of the van declared, but Dan was a native of Ballinamertina (one of the seven sons referred to in the section on Healing, but not the 7th son).

Mrs Burke of Chapel Row used to buy eggs, then set out on a donkey and cart to go to the railway station, Waterford from where the eggs were exported to England. She would have been travelling all-night and then set out for home again. Jimmie Rooney has recorded this account of these almost incredible feats of endurance.

Jimmie Rooney tells of Jim Keevers (John's father) who had the first rubber-tyred trap in Ardmore. It cost the colossal price of £50 and would have been the equivalent of a BMW nowadays. There were two large brass lamp standards into which a candle was inserted. One day, Bob Drohan met him at the Marine on the way home from Dungarvan fair, Bob having been there with a horse and dray with creel. They had a race home and Bob won.

Hackney Cars
The very first private motor car in Ardmore was owned by Fred Keane, cousin of Sir John Keane (of whom more anon). This would have been in the second decade of the century and he occasionally drove in it to Cappoquin. It invariably broke down. According to Jimmie Rooney, a telephone message used come to the Allens in the Post Office on Parsons Hill, instructing Mike Troy to go out with his mare to tow the car home. The village youngsters would go too and thoroughly enjoyed escorting the equipage back.

Hackney cars began to make their appearance about the early thirties. In 1923/24 Mike Leahy in Whiting Bay had one of the first. Then there was Jim Quain who drove Fr. Galvin P.P. to mass on wet mornings or brought him on sick calls or the stations.

Jim Prendergast who lived in what is now McGrath's house in what has become known as Sleepy Lane, did some hackney driving too, as did Tom Foley who kept his car in the out-house on the site of what is now Ian and Caroline O'Sullivan's house. There was also Johnny Galvin who lived with his aunt and uncle, Mike and Mrs Troy in Chapel Row. Jimmie Rooney came on the scene later in 1938.

The Ferry Boat
A popular way of getting to Youghal was walking or going by donkey and cart or pony and trap to the Ferry Point, leaving the animal at Hydes of the Ferry Point and going across in the ferry boat, which crossed the harbour every half hour, costing ½p each way (C.1900).

From Ardmore, the route went to Whitingbay, crossed the bridge there and proceeded along the road to Ballysallagh and Monatrea. The road and bridge are now gone due to coastal erosion. I remember crossing it, in the forties, in my father's lorry and he and his helper had to get out and shovel away the gravel, to make a passage.

Until the late 60's when the ferry service ceased to exist, it remained a popular way of going to and from Youghal. One cycled there and the fare was 2p per passage and 2p for the bike. The most of the Monatrea children in those days, used the ferry for availing of secondary school education in Youghal. The Youghal people used it freely on Sundays for going on picnics to Monatrea, or visiting the popular Monatrea Hotel.

Public Bus Service
By the late twenties Mrs Keane, grand-aunt of Denis & Terry McGrath, ran a bus service for a time called "The President". The driver and conductor were named Bradshaw and Flannery.

The service of the Southern General Bus Company between Cork and Ardmore (and Waterford) commenced operation on 26th November 1928. It was owned by a Francis Duffy of Dublin, but was based in Cork and was acquired by the Irish Omnibus Company on 11th October 1929.

The Irish Omnibus Company, the I.O.C. had been founded in Dublin in 1926 and in 1927 became an agent of the Great Southern Railways. In 1934 the G.S.R. absorbed the I.O.C. as its own Omnibus Department and in turn became part of C.I.E. in 1945 (C.I.E. Córas Iompair Éireann). In 1987 Bus Éireann was set up as a subsidiary of C.I.E. to operate bus services outside Dublin.

It is interesting to note on the time-table,for the summer of 1929 that the bus journey, Ardmore to Cork took 1 hour, 55 minutes.
The fare from Waterford to Cork was 6/6 single.
The fare from Cork to Youghal, 2/6 single 4/- return.

All this information was kindly supplied by Mr Cyril McIntyre, Manager, Media & Public Relations Bus Éireann.

During the war years one felt very independent with a bicycle. One could bring a bicycle by bus or train in the forties. I have happy memories of cycling trips in Donegal, Sligo, Connemara and Kerry all done with the preliminary help of bus or train and all on signpost-less roads. Owing to the shortage of coal, trains ran only on certain days, and were often unpredictable. Ciss Quain has memories of during the war sitting out on the grass at the side of the railway line with the other passengers in the middle of the countryside.

We cycled to Youghal and Dungarvan when Lord Longford or Anew Mac Master brought their theatrical companies there. This happened perhaps once or twice a year. In spite of the gruelling cycle home around the Sweep on perhaps a bad night, we loved it, but it was years afterwards before we realised, what a privilege it was, for ourselves, the ordinary people of town and country, through the length and breadth of Ireland, to experience the dramatic performances of these artistes. It is remarkable also, to remember the hardships and vicissitudes they endured in doing so.

During the war, petrol was strictly rationed and supplied only to doctors, private hackney cars and lorries. The war was over before people began to buy cars. It happened very slowly at first and we all spoke wonderingly and enviously of so-and-so having bought a car. No comment is necessary as regards the present proliferation of cars. We all take them for granted now, and never stop to think of what a vulnerable situation it is, say in the case of an oil crisis and the petrol pumps go dry.

Youghal Bridge
In the realms of transport, the condition of Youghal Bridge was a vivid war-time memory. The bridge was structurally unsound, but could not be repaired or rebuilt owing to war conditions and the absence of materials, so about 30 barricades were put into position right across, and traffic had to zig zag over. No buses were allowed across. Passengers on the Cork/Waterford route vacated the bus at one end of the bridge and walked across to the waiting bus at the other side. A hackney car came from Youghal to transport luggage, and technically speaking, one could stand on ones' rights and insist on being driven across, but realistically this arrangement was not feasible. The bridge was a long one and the walk across on a bad winters day could be most unpleasant.

A man was on duty in a little hut a either side of the bridge, to oversee the weighing of lorries before being allowed to cross. Any excess weight had to be unloaded; the lorry went over, unloaded at the opposite side and returned for the rest of the load, a rather cumbersome and time-consuming procedure. I remember on one occasion, returning from Cork with my father in a loaded lorry, and instead of taking the turn for the bridge and home, he went up to Cappoquin to cross the river, a rather exasperating experience at the end of a long day, but preferable to the unloading and reloading.

Even cycling across could be a hazard. On a fair day, I remember quickening pace to get on to the bridge before a large flock of cattle. This I succeeded in doing, only to discover that still another flock was in front, so I was now between two lots and cattle tended to get restive and frightened and to jump the barriers.

Another war-time memory was encountering a long line of military jeeps and armoured cars, returning from the big manoeuvres on the Blackwater in I think 1944, and being subjected to various snippets of military advice and wisecracks as I wended my embarrassed way in and out between the tar barrels.

The barricades remained for some years after the war, while the expenses and the site of a new bridge were being disputed about. In pre-driving test days, ones ability to negotiate and deal with oncoming traffic on Youghal Bridge was the acid test of driving ability.

The new bridge was at last opened in 1963 some distance up-river from the old one. There had been long delays on account of the controversies on the allocation of the costs between the two counties (no EU funds then) and also on its location. One school of thought wanted the crossing at the Ferry Point but eventually, we got the present one at Rhincrew.

Martin Hurley's Lorry
I suppose one could say my father's lorry (a 3-ton, later a 5-ton truck) featured to a certain extent in the transport system here at one stage. In the thirties he paid regular visits to Ring, buying lobsters and salmon, and quite a few of the ladies of the locality generally availed of the accommodation in the back of the lorry for a trip to Dungarvan.

He often went to hurling or football matches in places like Clashmore or Pilltown and always left with a number of passengers. Jimmie Rooney says they went to a match in Villierstown one Sunday and that 75 people emerged from the lorry there!

My sister and I remember one trip to Pilltown with a relatively small compliment of passengers; the match didn't take place on account of bad weather, but we went down to the old mill (the actual mill, not the pub called after it) and went upstairs and had a great evening's entertainment of music and sets, upstairs in the mill. It is now a complete ruin.

Then there was the memorable occasion of the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 1932, when a group of at least 20 people left Ardmore for Dublin in Martin Hurley's Bedford truck about 3 am, on a June morning.

Author: Siobhan Lincoln

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