Visiting the Railroad Station, Longford, Ireland: solidity in stone, dating from 1855
A durable structure by George Wilkinson
This railroad station, in Longford (Irish: An Longfort ), Ireland, dates from 1855. In a striking, solid-looking, stone building with two stories, the station continues to serve the Dublin - Sligo line.
North Americans particularly might thus find it remarkable that a building of such an age is still being used for its original function.
It would be psychologically and politically difficult for Irish politicians to cease to support the maintenance of the Dublin - Sligo railroad maintained by Iarnród Éireann - Irish Rail. The West of Ireland — particularly Connacht — has long exercised an historical and practical influence in national affairs which in strict terms of its population is somewhat disproportionate.
Many of the routes of the Republic of Ireland's basic rail network date from pre-Independence days.
The architect responsible for this 1855 structure was George Wilkinson (1815-1890)(1), who designed many other railroad stations in Ireland also.
The original railroad company for which Architect Wilkinson designed the station building was the Midland Great Western. Longford station was at the outset built to serve the railroad extension from Mullingar (Irish: An Muileann gCearr ). The railroad was later extended to Sligo in 1862.
August 3, 2012
(1) Architect Wilkinson also designed many workhouses, some of which were criticized for the economy with which they were built and for a perceived lack of durability; at least, this charge cannot be laid at the doors of this solid, stone building, in use since 1855! This England-born architect worked on many commissions in Ireland at a time of great social and political upheaval and some of the criticisms made of his work, even if in part accurate, may be seen in this context. It is nevertheless true that — for a variety of reasons — Architect Wilkinson was held in antipathy by a proportion of his professional architect colleagues in Ireland.
Also worth seeing
In Longford Town itself, St Mel's Cathedral, with its neoclassical portico and tower, is probably the most well-known landmark.
How to get there: Aer Lingus flies from New York and Boston to Dublin Airport, from where car rental is available. Bus Éireann operates bus services to Longford Town from Dublin's Busárus (bus station). Irish Rail operates rail services to Longford from Dublin Connolly Station. By road, take M4 and N4 from Dublin. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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