Saturday 20 October 2018

Down memory lane: When a bus trip in Sligo town was 3p

There was a time in Sligo when a bus trip out to Carraroe cost just thruppence.

No one was ever left behind on the roadside if they couldn't muster the full fare.

Generally a promise was made to pay up on another occasion and nine times out of ten the promise was honoured - a hallmark of those honest times in 1920's Ireland.

Such are the memories of the late Brennan's Bus Services bus driver Dinny Daly, recorded by the grandson of founder Andrew Brennan, Joe Prior, in 1987.

One time a child died in Sligo hospital and the poor parents couldn't afford to hire a hearse.

She was transferred quietly by bus in a simple wooden box.

Acts like these created a certain bond between the driver and his passengers and established a great loyalty to the company.

Brennan's Bus Services evolved from the horse drawn transport business before it progressed to charabancs, hackney cars and buses.

They operated between Ballyshannon and Ballina until 1933 transporting passengers, mail and pilgrims to Lough Derg.

As well as day runs, the buses regularly covered trips to the pictures and dances, excursions to Knock Shrine, Enniscrone, Rossnowlagh and Bundoran.

All hands were on deck for the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 1932.

The fare from Ballina to Sligo was 5 shillings single and 9 shillings return. Brennan's had an office in McGowan's Pub (now McDermott's Gift Shop) at 19 O'Connell Street.

The drivers vied with each other for passengers and used to scramble into places like Dromore West or Easkey on fair days to get the biggest load.

Andrew died of a massive heart attack in 1929, aged just 57. He left a widow Mary and six children.

"It was something I've researched and have quite a bit on the history of the company," said Joe Prior, a former Deputy Principal of the Mercy College Sligo.

The former English and History teacher is the author of "That's the Way", a memoir of his childhood along the border in the 1940s.

Sligo Champion