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Great Southern and Western Railway, Newbridge – early stationmasters

James Durney

Newbridge railway station opened in 1846 when the Great Southern and Western Railway line reached the town. Newbridge was then an important military centre, having its own cavalry barracks and being less than three miles from the celebrated camp on the Curragh. The railway station in Newbridge was kept busy with constant troop movements, but it was also a place for meetings, sales and unfortunately, accidents.
The first stationmaster mentioned in newspaper records was Mr. Hynes, who, according to the Irish Times of 15 June 1860, was presented in June 1859 with a silver cup from the officers of the 3rd Light Dragoons. The following year the same gentleman was presented with a lever watch by Colonel Sullivan and the officers of the 5th Royal Lancers, ‘for his uniform attention to those regiments whilst stationed at Newbridge’. A court case covered in the Kildare Observer of 17 December 1881 regarding an unpaid fare mentioned Martin Tighe, Newbridge stationmaster, as the main witness. Mr. Tighe is also mentioned in Slater’s Directory of 1881 as being the stationmaster in Newbridge. In a court case covered in the Kildare Observer of 7 October 1882 we find that hay, the property of Jonathan Tarlson, stationmaster, Newbridge, was burned. In his evidence Mr. Tarlson said he had bought the hay from the late stationmaster, Martin Tighe, six months previous.
The coverage of the funeral of local man Thomas Farrell in the Kildare Observer of 20 November 1897 mentioned Mr. J. Breen, stationmaster, Newbridge, as being one of those present. The 1901 Census returns for 17 Charlotte Street, Newbridge, give Thomas Manifold as the stationmaster in Newbridge. Thomas Manifold (44) was born in King’s County and was married to Eliza, who was ten years his junior. They had two children – Honora (18) and Mary (8), both born in Co. Cork. Manifold is still stationmaster a year later as he is mentioned as in attendance at the funeral of Peter Sullivan in the Kildare Observer of 4 October 1902.  The 1911 Census returns for 2 Piercetown, Newbridge, give Patrick O’Reilly as the stationmaster in Newbridge. Patrick O’Reilly (46) was born in Waterford City and had then being married to his Tipperary-born wife, Maryanne (40), for fifteen years. 

[Note: According to Mark Humphrys his ancestor Blennerhassett Cashel was the stationmaster in Newbridge from at least 1875 to 1877. Two of his children, Willie (1875) and John (1877) were born in Newbridge. Both children died in September 1878 from the 'croup,' when Blennerhassett Cashel was stationmaster in Seefin, Birr, Co. Offaly. Website: http://humphrysfamilytree.com/Cashel/blen.html]

The early stationmasters of the Great Southern and Western Railway, Newbridge

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