Commuting, and the War of Independence


CONNECTIONS:REGULAR COMMUTERS along Dublin’s Dart line see a lot of interesting sights. I’m not a particularly regular myself, but visiting Dublin once a month or so, I continue to see, on my commute from Howth into the city, a mangled child’s bicycle beside the tracks at Bayside station.

It’s been there now for about two years. In precisely the same position. Its continued presence tells me a lot about life in Ireland, in a subtle sort of way. These photographs here tell us something about life in Ireland in 1920, in perhaps not so subtle a manner.

Taken by Major Bertie Plews, whom we met last week as a soldier in Iraq, these photos show scenes on the railway running from what is now Connolly Station out towards Clontarf. Plews, as mentioned last week, was a leading amateur photographer, later to be president of the Photographic Society of Ireland.

At the time he took these photos, he had returned from the war and was working for the Great Northern Railway in a managerial position. The photos show members of British military and Royal Irish Constabulary guarding the railway installations.

  • Conan Kennedy is a writer whose most recent books include the novel Ogulla Well, and (as editor) the recently published five-volume edition of the Diaries of Mary Hayden.