De Valera train, Kingsbridge, Dublin City, Co. Dublin.

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Where: Dublin, , Ireland

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When: 01 January 1938

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A rare visit to the O'Dea collection today and a rather unusual image of the "De Valera" train at Kingsbridge, now Heuston, station in Dublin. It would be interesting to know where the Long Fellow was off to in 1938?

While a considerable amount of effort went into trying to discover the background to this image (thanks all!), we have as yet to pinpoint a destination or purpose for this colourful train journey. One suggestions is that the then Taoiseach was on his way to/from Galway with some bishops (and while this might explain the apparent papal arms on the front, may not tally with dates). Another suggestion is that Dev was on his way to Cork for the Treaty Port handover (but this wouldn't seem to explain the train's armorial adornments). What we did learn however is that the loco was seemingly a GS&WR 400 Class 4-6-0 steam engine - so that's something :)


Photographer: James P. O'Dea

Collection:James P. O'Dea

Date: 1938

NLI Ref.: ODEA 1/81

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 19358
jamespo’dea o’deaphotographiccollection nationallibraryofireland train devalera president taoiseach kingsbridgestation heustonstation carriages eamonndevalera 402 gswr400class locomotive engine steamengine steam platform

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 11/Oct/2017 08:29:29

    Apologies all for the late posting today, the rain in Spain spread to Ireland and traffic was jammers!

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 11/Oct/2017 08:34:39

    The rain in Spain explains the lateness of the train !

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    BultacoFan

    • 11/Oct/2017 08:44:39

    This is now Platform 2 in Heuston.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 11/Oct/2017 08:47:56

    Streetview

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    Wendy:

    • 11/Oct/2017 08:49:26

    puffing engine - but not a cigarette in sight!

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    Bernard Healy

    • 11/Oct/2017 08:53:48

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ I doubt that’s the same rail journey. Trains from Kingsbridge (now Heuston) would be heading to the West or the South of Ireland.

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    DannyM8

    • 11/Oct/2017 09:46:04

    I believe that flag on the front of the engine is the Papal crest

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    DannyM8

    • 11/Oct/2017 09:47:41

    You can see it clearly here - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000303442

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    John A. Coffey

    • 11/Oct/2017 09:54:02

    In April 1938, de Valera and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement. Was he travelling the Country to explain the agreement?

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    DannyM8

    • 11/Oct/2017 09:54:23

    Something to do with the Eucharistic congress in Budapest in 1938?

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    Myrtle26

    • 11/Oct/2017 10:04:11

    No lady travelers then?

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    O Mac

    • 11/Oct/2017 10:22:51

    Or was he traveling the country on being elected president of the league of Nations in September 1938?

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 11/Oct/2017 10:24:56

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/mosskayree] There was a lady, and a dog, and a child. See this other photo (earlier?) - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000148223

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 11/Oct/2017 10:39:08

    Or perhaps this - on 11 July 1938, Irish Troops take over the Cork harbour defences at Spike Island. "... Old comrades in the Anglo-Irish struggle met in the carriages and corridors of the special train which brought a large party from Dublin to Cobh for the ceremony. A large crowd gathered at Kingsbridge station to see off the party. ..." From - trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/167707892?searchTerm=d...

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 11/Oct/2017 10:58:07

    Which might explain all these "Evacuation of Spike Island" photos - catalogue.nli.ie/Search/Results?lookfor=evacuation+of+spi... . Important because it was the last fort held by British forces in Ireland.

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    O Mac

    • 11/Oct/2017 12:16:09

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] I bet you're right. Here's one of Dev himself taking the salute on Spike Island. catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000601507

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    oaktree_brian_1976

    • 11/Oct/2017 12:35:58

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia that's awesome

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    DannyM8

    • 11/Oct/2017 13:09:56

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia I am normally in agreement with your findings, but this time I think the Papal bunting on the train makes it difficult for me to tie in with the Spike Island theory.

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    Bernard Healy

    • 11/Oct/2017 19:54:24

    Maybe do a search of DeValera & the Papal Nuncio (Archbishop Paschal Robinson) being somewhere together in the South or West in 1938...

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    guliolopez

    • 11/Oct/2017 22:24:10

    As much as I like the Spike Island (Treaty Port handover) suggestion, the bunting and "Papal Keys" banner would seem to support https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]'s theory of an ecclesiastical connection. Perhaps even an ecumenical matter. I will take https://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardhealy's suggestion and have a quick shufty at the archives. < "Hold please - your call is very important to us" >

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    guliolopez

    • 11/Oct/2017 23:04:58

    < "Thank you for holding - we know you have a choice in provider and so appreciate your patience" > So. I searched for a few key phrases in the 1938 news archives: • "Kingsbridge / De Valera" returned absolutely nothing. Not a sausage. • "Train / De Valera" returned mainly descriptions of enthusiastic crowds of (presumably) Irish greeting him with banners and flags off a train. But the London train mentioned in other comments. Not Dublin or Cork. • "Papal / De Valera" returned a few mentions in quasi-society pages. Like a photo from July 1938 of "Mr de Valera with His Excellency the Papal Nuncio and Mrs Duncan Harris at the American Legation". There was mention in a report from Feb 1938 of him being due for a Papal honour (the Order of the Golden Spur, or Supreme Order of Christ, or some such). Could this last event have prompted DeV to adorn his train with Papal arms? While travelling on otherwise 'normal' state business? Seems somewhat unlikely. Are we sure of 1938?

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    guliolopez

    • 11/Oct/2017 23:18:38

    Broadening the search slightly, there is the following text from an Irish Press article of October 1937. While it is somewhat overlap-ish, it's hardly concrete.

    SPECIAL TRAIN Mr. de Valera, with Capt. Sean Brennan, Aide-de-camp; and Mr. Sean T. O'Kelly, travelled on a special train which left Galway last night, bringing home the professorial staff from Maynooth and those from Dublin who attended. A number of the bishops left for Maynooth to attend the October meeting of the Bishops to-morrow. Mr. de Valera, who during the day visited the Convent of Mercy, was seen off at the station, by Father O'Dea and a number of the Galway priests. The city was illuminated last night. St. Mary's College and other buildings were floodlit, adding to the sea of blue and white and yellow which brightened the main streets and lanes in honour of the Bishop. - Irish Press Monday, 11 October 1937, page 7
    The Wikipedia article on the GS&WR 400 Class (including seemingly engine/loco number 402) suggests that they ran mainly on the Cork-Dublin line. This one might require input from one of the (semi)resident train experts.

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    Bernard Healy

    • 12/Oct/2017 10:26:18

    Connaught Telegraph 8th Jan 1938 reports that DeV attended the Consecration of Monsignor Joseph Walsh as Auxiliary Archbishop of Tuam on 2nd Jan 1938. That was in Tuam Cathedral. It was DeValera’s first public function as Taoiseach & he is quoted as saying that ‘he was glad to be present at the Consecration of the first Bishop in the new Ireland’. That would be a reference to the new Constitution, I presume. I think this might be a plausible reason for DeValera to travel in a special train decorated with the Papal crest,

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    Bernard Healy

    • 12/Oct/2017 10:38:06

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ Also reported in the Indo & Irish Press that Dev was ‘fog bound’ at the Railway Hotel in Athenry after the ceremony, and wasn’t able to return to Dublin until the next day.

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    Bernard Healy

    • 12/Oct/2017 10:41:14

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/. :( Tuam Herald (08/01/1938) says that Dev was returning to Dublin by car, so maybe this wasn’t a railway trip.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 12/Oct/2017 23:04:40

    Thanks all! Amazing investigative efforts as usual. Delighted that we've fleshed things out quite a bit. In honesty I'm secretly glad that (for once), we've left something on the table for another day :) :)

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    Dr. Ilia

    • 13/Oct/2017 08:00:06

    Magnificent capture