The landmark documentary will delve into the many stories that make up Ireland’s history of nation building can be found in the boxes and boxes of files in the National Archives – the custodian of the state’s history, much of which has not been seen in public before. The archives in this series come in many different forms; reports, letters, memos and maps shed light on the efforts and struggle to form an identity for the new Irish state while at the same time looking both back to Ireland’s past and forward to modernity. The County Donegal Railway will feature in episode 1 this Sunday.
Niall McCaughan, Manager of the Donegal Railway Museum stated: “We were delighted to feature on this major RTE documentary about the history of Ireland, using the National Archives as source material for the program. Our feature on the program covers the start of the closure of the railways in this part of Donegal, and the fight to keep it open, which was led by Donegal County Council, the Church, tourist providers and many others. When presented with the archive documents from the 1950’s, I was shocked to see how the closure happened, and the lack of knowledge from Dublin in relation to the quality of the infrastructure, the roads, that was to replace them. As was foreseen then, the County was negatively impacted by the closure of the railways, and the promised improved road infrastructure upgrade, did not happen for many decades, leading to the County economically suffering more than most on this island, then and up to the present day.”
Sunday night’s programme has RTE presenter, Katie Hannon meeting Niall at the Donegal Railway Museum to discuss the report she found in the archives relating to the end of the Donegal-Ballyshannon line which went along the coast to Rossnowlagh. She also goes in search of the remains of the line along to Creevy where she meets with Molly Reynolds who shows her the remains of a train platform and directs her to where train bridges still stand close by.
The programme which will be broadcast on Sunday 15th October, RTE1, 6:30 was made by Midas Productions for RTE.