As is tradition during National Heritage Week, Donegal Railway Museum at their AGM this month, handed out a number of Honorary Lifetime Memberships to several individuals who have made a significant contribution to the story of the railways that once operated across the County.
Hugh Dougherty was first to receive the Award. Hugh is a Transport journalist and got to know the CDR buses, management and crews very well while on holidays in Donegal as a teenager in the 1960s. He felt that the story of the CDR, after the railway closed, should be told, and wrote ‘The Bus Services of the County Donegal Railways’, published in 1973 by Transport Research Associates of Dublin, and now long out of print. His new book, ‘County Donegal Railways Bus Services’, published this summer, tells the story of the buses in more detail as the result of new research by Hugh. A proud member of the Glasgow-Donegal diaspora, Hugh contributes to transport magazines and local and national media, including the Irish papers in Scotland.
Second to receive an Award was Sir Anthony McFarland, whose family built and ran the famous Londonderry and Swilly Railway. Without the McFarland family, there would have been no Swilly Railway, and the huge legacy they left is an important part of the story and of the heritage of our County. Anthony is still involved in celebrating these unique railways, and recently has been working with our Museum, opening up his unique archives for the wider population.
Finally, Kate and Michael Chance received the award for their contribution to keeping the story of the railways alive. Michael is a Member of the County Donegal Heritage Forum, and Kate and himself have been working with the museum to add to their important collection. At the end of last year they kindly donated an original railway crane which they had at their farm, which now takes pride of place in the museum. He also recently found and donated a unique photograph of the Swilly engines being built, which had never been seen before.
Niall McCaughan, Manager of the Museum stated: “We are delighted to award these four individuals Honorary Life Membership. They all in different ways, have made major contributions to the story of the unique railways that once operated here, and it was fitting to honour their work. What is particularly pleasing is their passion and commitment in continuing to celebrate the unique and important part of the story of Donegal’s railways for current and future generations.”
Photo 1 – Hugh Dougherty who received his Award with Past Chair of the RPSI John McKegney
Photo 2 – Sir Anthony McFarland, with Kate & Michael Chance with their Awards.