Thursday 18 September 2014

Gathering unearths a little Lartigue history

Published 14/08/2013 | 05:36

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Shane and Darren Loughnane, Listowel, whose great-great grandfather Michael Houlihan worked on the Lartigue monorail at the Lartigue gathering on Friday.

DESCENDANTS of some of the original 48 Lartigue Monorail workers were present at a Gathering on Friday which also marked the 10th birthday of the redevelopment of the unique railway line in Listowel.

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"It was a wonderful event," Lartigue volunteer Martin Griffin said. "We had descendants of 17 of the original workforce and it was great to establish new links with them and we hope now to keep these bonds alive into the future."

The Lartigue worked the Listowel/Ballybunion route between 1888 and 1924, shuttling passengers and goods between the two north Kerry towns. It became world famous and remains the most noted example of French engineer Charles Lartigue's railway design achievements.

Among the families present on at the gathering in the Lartigue museum in Listowel on Friday were descendants of Lartigue General Manager TC Moore, including TC Moore III, his grandson; worker Joe Holyoake, whose family still live in the vicinity of the route and descendants of worker Jack Reidy.

"Jack's grandson Jackie Reidy presented us with a letter of reference he took away with him leaving the Lartigue. It's another lovely bit of history we will include in our museum," Martin explained. "The whole Gathering was made even more special by the fact that we were also celebrating our 10th birthday," he said.

The redevelopment of the Lartigue saw part of the track reconstructed and a replica engine installed as part of a tourist attraction that is bringing visitors from far and wide.

"We have visitors of 72 different nationalities up until July of this year, the last two being from Ethiopia and Mauritius." Martin said.


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