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Question for SABRE members and others

  • 07-07-2009 8:00am
    Closed Accounts Posts: 17,733 ✭✭✭✭

    Im not a road fan but I would be interested in the HISTORY of our road system (and of the UK).Can you recommend any books , say, on the Turnpike Trusts or on Military roads or famine-relief type roads? On the UK front, Roman roads too would be of interest and on both sides of the water, info on the development of the Modern system (such as why the Cork Dublin Road no longer goes via Kilkenny)


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

    On road history there isn't much in the way of a bibliography to provide you with. On the development of the turnpike system, though, you should check David Broderick's The First Toll-Roads: Ireland's Turnpike Roads, 1729-1858 (Cork, 2002). On individual routes you'll have to consult his footnotes, because he deals with the network as a whole. He doesn't dwell for the most part on individual routes, or on route selection and building methods, for example. Rather his focus is on Governmental Acts and economics. His book is available on as far as I know.

    You should also look at this thread, every page of which is relevant. When it comes to road history records are scant: but old maps from the early modern period (c. 1500-1789) can be a good source.

    Regarding the changing of the Dublin-Cork road, this happened very gradually. Most of the old N8 was built between 1739 and the 1820s. Even though the historic route (Cork --> Fermoy --> Kilworth --> Ballyporeen --> Clonmel --> Kilkenny etc.) was still numbered T6 until the early 70s, most people went via the N8 by the early 1900s. The changes were gradual and incremental. Today a route is changed brutally and suddenly; this generally was not so in the days of yore - with some impressive exceptions, of course.

    You could also email some historians and historical geographers at UCC and Trinity. David Dixon in Trinity supervised Broderick's PhD thesis as far as I know, so he might be a good person to contact. Professor William J Smyth at UCC (Geography Dept) would also have recommendations for you I'm sure.

    * As a rule of thumb, any very straight road generally dates from c. 1730-1860.
    * Some of our oldest roads are, as you'd expect, meandering R (e.g. the R665) and L roads. Their origins are forgotten to history for the most part.
    * Some of our N roads (such as the N76, N77, N9, and N24) are probably over 1000 years old and have retained their prominance.
    * Most roads in Ireland, however, are under 250 years old.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,733 ✭✭✭✭corktina

    a good start, thanks....