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The Complete Anoraks Guide to Irish Roads 1893

  • 31-12-2008 7:46pm
    Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭

    This book is a Road guide to Ireland , mile by mile, essentially showing what was passable by bicycle in 1893 , and recently digitised by a nice Mr B. Gates for the very first time .

    Its primary customers back then were the police and postal services and the profusion of ads for pushbikes in the last 50 pages give an idea of why it was done in the first place .

    I fear for the sanity of anyone who would choose to 'map' this :D

    I really do .

    Download options on left.

    Full PDF

    ( 24mb PDF but you may copy and paste text )

    I advise proof reading as you go along.

    I also advise that you download a copy of the PDF and work off the local copy.

    THIS work was undertaken with the view of supplying a great want of the Royal Irish Constabulary, and of
    kindred public services ; and also of providing a " Road Book," of a reliable and comprehensive character, for the use of cyclists and tourists, of Irish travellers, and others of the public who may desire to travel through our beautiful Island.

    The Compiler and Editor has been at very great pains to avoid inaccuracy and prolixity, and has striven to condense the mass of information given, both by the use of contractions and symbols, and by the stringent avoidance of merely ornamental description.

    Page 15 onwards explains the coding system

    In the 3rd Column is one or more Capital letters, from
    "A" to "I," indicating the kind of Roads that are met on that
    particular "route" as regards
    " levelness and breadth."
    A means that the road is " Level and broad."
    B "Level and narrow." (ordinary county roads).
    C "Up and down hill, and broad."
    D "Up and down hill, and narrow."
    E "Up-hill, steep and broad."
    F "Up-hill, steep and narrow."
    G "Down-grade," not too steep for use.
    H Hilly ;" so steep as to necessitate walking.
    I Impassable for ordinary wheel traffic.

    In the next adjoining Column is indicated, by one or more
    Capital letters, the character of the average condition of the
    " surface of the road"
    —the state of the road surface on a general
    average—thus :

    G. = good;
    B. = bad ;
    I. = indifferent ;
    R. rocky or " rutty" ;
    S. = stony or sandy ;
    P.= poor, i.e. darned" ;
    F. == fair, and so on.

    Whenever part of the " route is by Sea,
    it is noted in full in this Column "


    In the last and broadest Column the actual route is indicated
    in extenso, in the following way :—The first fraction represents the
    distance, in English miles, or part of a mile, from the Police Barrack
    to the first cross-road outside the town on the way from
    the principal place, at the head of the paragraph, to the
    place in that line. All lanes, avenues, bog roads, gates, and such
    insignificant paths are entirely disregarded. The letters R. (right)
    and L. (left), indicate to which hand you keep or turn, at a place
    where either a turn is made at a X road, or only two roads "

    X. indicates a cross-road, where you make no turn, but "go straight
    on," i.e., you take the middle road of the three roads met at the X

    If a place occurs where more than four roads meet, the turn to be taken is shown by the letter V and a "superior" numeral, thus, "V5" means
    that "you take the 5th road," counting round from your left hand (like the hands of a clock), not counting the road by which you arrive at
    the point at which the " star" radiates.

    Thus V5 would indicate that, having arrived at the point in the centre, as shown by the arrow, you leave by the road
    numbered 5.

    A dangerous hill is shown in its place in this column by a for an uphill and by V for a downhill.

    F. indicates a ferry, and the fraction the length of the ferry.
    S. means shore (of the sea) ; thus, S. 6 S." means " shore to shore is 6 miles of sea," or " 6 miles sea,." W. means " fresh water," as on a lake or
    river ;

    S. means " sea or salt water." The roads on each shore of the ferry are indicated as in the case of cross-roads (explained above).

    Thus each fraction represents, as it is placed in line, the part of an English mile that intervenes between each turn indicated by R., or L., or X., or V5
    , and the last fraction is the distance from the last cross-road to the R.I.C Barrack in that line.

    The total of the fractions always must agree with the distance as given in the 2nd column.

    Then we have over 300 pages containing every town and village in Ireland and the roads to the next town .

    Maam Cross
    MAAM CROSS R. Ross : Connemara Division : Co. Galway,
    W.R. : Connaught. Galway,

    Austin Burke, acting-sergeant.

    There are four roads out

    1 Maam v 5 B E 47/8 L 1/8
    2 Oughterard v 10 B G Direct road
    3 Recess v 9 B G 8.3/4 L 1/4
    4 Rossmuck r 10 B F 7 R 3

    v or r indicates Village or Rural .

    Off with ye and of course, enjoy :D


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann

    Sponge Bob, you genius. Roadgeeks everywhere will love you for this.

  • Registered Users Posts: 68,786 ✭✭✭✭L1011

    The description of the road from Moyglare to Maynooth - 'level and narrow, surface good' suggests it hasn't seen much work done since 1893 ;)

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,082 ✭✭✭Chris_533976

    Holy crap. I must see this. Nice find.

  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭Sponge Bob

    Some of you may be also be interested in this 1939 Excursion Guide

    Dublin to Cavan

    Description.—This route has rather a bumpy surface for the first 5m. ( miles) , but after Blanchardstown it is better, and has fair surface to Navan.

    From navan the road is up and down, but with a very fair surface, to Kells, and continues with excellent surface through Virginia to Cavan.

    There is a more direct road froin Virginia via Ballyjamesduff, but after the latter place that road goes over some hills, which are avoided by the leveller main road.

    This is the main route to Enniskillen, Bundoran, and Donegal.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann

    URLINGFORD V. (Pop. 727).
    4 Johnstown v 2 A 6 JL1J

    Meaning that the new R639 (former N8) was "level and broad" with "good" surfacing, even in the 1890s between Urlingford and Johnstown.

    I wonder, though, what exactly was meant by "broad" back then.

    A pity there are no actual maps, but still, I'm very impressed. :cool:

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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭Sponge Bob

    Finally there is Blacks Guide to Ireland from 1906 which wisely advises the traveller to travel by rail as much as possible .

    26mb with some interesting maps :D
    Galway presents a curious combination of dilipidation and
    decay, with signs of improvement and moderate prosperity.
    Some immense warehouses, comparatively modern, have been for
    several years unoccupied, and are slowly going to ruin, and in
    nearly every street untenanted and roofless houses suggest the
    "impression of a city sacked and ruined."

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann

    Furet wrote: »
    I wonder, though, what exactly was meant by "broad" back then.

    Ah. "Broad" means that two vehicle could pass abreast of each other. Even a few local roads, which today would be considered quite narrow, were described as "broad".

    Interestingly I note that the former N8 between Cashel and Cahir had a surface that was "stony or sandy".

  • Registered Users Posts: 68,786 ✭✭✭✭L1011

    "Some immense warehouses, comparatively modern, have been for
    several years unoccupied"

    Are we SURE they weren't describing Tallaght/Kilnamanagh of today rather than Galway of 1906?