Boards.ie uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more x
Post Reply  
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
12-07-2020, 15:24   #1
A Tyrant Named Miltiades!
Alexa, Play Liveline
 
A Tyrant Named Miltiades!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 12,175
Mod: Radio, ZTest
The history of road construction (materials) in Ireland

I came across an interesting old thread on 18th century Irish roads, and it got me wondering about the changing nature of road-surfaces.

I cannot find much information online about the history of materials used in road construction, except for this Wikipedia article on the History of Roads in Ireland -- it mainly deals with routes and networks, but it does say that at the time of independence, "most road surfaces were made up of undressed and unrolled water-bound macadam which did not use tar as a sealant. "

I assume the use of tar grew rapidly from the 1920s onwards, with the popularity of the motor car.

When did macadam arrive in Ireland, and how widespread was it throughout the 19th century? Were the famine-relief roads made using the macadam method, and what kind of machinery was used to roll these surfaces, if any?

How old are the cobblestones in places like Temple Bar, Dublin; and how widespread was this method of road-building in the cities?

If you know of any book or journal article on this topic I'd be grateful
A Tyrant Named Miltiades! is offline  
(3) thanks from:
Advertisement
14-07-2020, 15:17   #2
tabbey
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,680
First we need to clarify the terms often misunderstood, macadam/tarmac and cobbled streets.
Macadamised roads are named for the Scot John McAdam. He was not the only one developing roads in the late 1700s and early 1800s but published his methods. Macadamised roads have a base of large stones covered with smaller stones and topped with sand or clinker. Raised above the ground level and cambered, they remained dry, a marked improvement on previous roads which had not changed since Roman times.
Turnpike roads built in Ireland 1800_1850 would have been macadam.
Tarmac dates from the early 1900s, involving layers of stone with tar or bitumen between the layers. Most Irish roads were of this type until recently. Surface dressing was applied each summer with speed limits and warnings of loose chippings.
It's important to realise that some minor roads in rural Ireland did not get tarred until the 1960s.
Before about 1900, there were few steam rollers, the macadam was compacted by hammer and the passage of traffic.
Stone surfaced streets in Dublin and other urban centres are commonly referred to as cobbled. This is incorrect. Cobbles are round and usually only used for yards or seaside locations.
The correct word for the flat blocks of stone found in older Dublin streets is sett.
Dublin corporation used setts from bessbrook, co Armagh. Bessbrook is beside Newry railway station. In England and Scotland, bessbrook stone was deemed unsuitable for streets. This may be why setts in Dublin are so slippy for cyclists.
Another form of paving in Dublin was timber, it was especially popular outside churches and hospitals, where the noise of horseshoes on stone was upsetting. This may be like the timber in the main entrances of trinity college, but I am speculating on this.
tabbey is offline  
22-07-2020, 15:40   #3
stoneill
Registered User
 
stoneill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 3,235
I had a book years ago that referenced an English landlord visiting his holdings and he observed that road building here was of a much better standard than his home county, better maintained, wider and used better road material for construction. If you give me a few days I'll see if I can dig it out, it might be in the attic somewhere.
stoneill is offline  
27-07-2020, 10:37   #4
MixedMessages
Registered User
 
MixedMessages's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 28
The book Cork in Old Photographs said that the main streets in Cork were paved in 1880s – not 1861. What the photo showed was that Patrick Street was not paved with concrete or tarmac but with wood blocks. When these were taken up in 1932, children were taking them home for firewood.

https://corkobviously.weebly.com/cha...tscrapers.html
MixedMessages is offline  
27-07-2020, 16:28   #5
tabbey
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,680
Quote:
Originally Posted by MixedMessages View Post
The book Cork in Old Photographs said that the main streets in Cork were paved in 1880s – not 1861. What the photo showed was that Patrick Street was not paved with concrete or tarmac but with wood blocks. When these were taken up in 1932, children were taking them home for firewood.

https://corkobviously.weebly.com/cha...tscrapers.html
It is interesting that the timber paving was lifted in 1932, I think that was soon after the trams closed, so the streets were probably resurfaced then.
The closure of the cork tramway had a funny effect, the liquidator or receiver or whatever, sought tenders from scrap merchants for the overhead wiring and poles. Davy Frame of Hammond lane was the successful bidder. Once he got ownership of the poles, he respectfully requested cork corporation to remove their street lights as soon as possible. The corporation had to buy the poles from Frame, for a lot more than scrap value.
tabbey is offline  
Advertisement
01-08-2020, 14:08   #6
A Tyrant Named Miltiades!
Alexa, Play Liveline
 
A Tyrant Named Miltiades!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 12,175
Mod: Radio, ZTest
I was in Temple Bar this morning, and I see they've put tarmac over the setts (heretofore known as cobbles!) on parts of Temple Bar (Temple Bar Road itself) where parts of the pavement are narrow — I assume it's for wheelchair users, which is sensible.

How old are these setts, does anyone know?
A Tyrant Named Miltiades! is offline  
01-08-2020, 14:11   #7
L1011
Moderator
 
L1011's Avatar
Are you possibly seeing the temporary fill after pipe laying?
L1011 is online now  
01-08-2020, 14:32   #8
A Tyrant Named Miltiades!
Alexa, Play Liveline
 
A Tyrant Named Miltiades!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 12,175
Mod: Radio, ZTest
Quote:
Originally Posted by L1011 View Post
Are you possibly seeing the temporary fill after pipe laying?
No, this is across the width of the entire street for a sustained length.
A Tyrant Named Miltiades! is offline  
02-08-2020, 00:19   #9
tabbey
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,680
Quote:
Originally Posted by A Tyrant Named Miltiades! View Post
I was in Temple Bar this morning, and I see they've put tarmac over the setts.

How old are these setts, does anyone know?
I suppose most of them are from the Victorian era, reused after being in storage somewhere but when money was available for so-called improvement schemes, local authorities sometimes bought new paving materials. The ones in temple bar are probably Victorian.
tabbey is offline  
Post Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Remove Text Formatting
Bold
Italic
Underline

Insert Image
Wrap [QUOTE] tags around selected text
 
Decrease Size
Increase Size
Please sign up or log in to join the discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



Share Tweet