Thanks to Liam Hogan for bringing this excellent map to my attention, from the collections of the New York Public Library. This is Dublin 1915, with the red lines showing the extent of the city tram system. With Dublin currently a construction site for the Luas Cross City project, it seems worth posting.
The Dublin United Tramways Company closed their last tram route, the No. 8 to Dalkey, in July 1949. Huge crowds of people came out to catch a glimpse of it on its journey. In the Sunday Independent, one writer made it clear that:
I am sorry for the demise of the trams, but as a motorist I just cannot weep for them. They had become an incorrigible block to modern traffic, holding always, as they did, the middle of the road…Yet, the trams are dead, and it is time for them to lie down.
The departure of the last tram was supposed to be marked with a little pomp and ceremony, but with the huge numbers that came onto the streets, the crowds proved quite uncontrollable. One journalist wrote the following day that:
All plans to give the trams a suitable send-off had to be abandoned. The Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union band was to have played them part of their way. It had to disperse when the crowds got out of hand. Radio Eireann had made arrangements to record the passing, but the scenes were so wild that the project was abandoned.
Anything that wasn’t nailed down was made off with by souvenir hunters. It was said that one conductor had his “driving lights removed (…) he lost his hand-brake as well. This meant driving the tram backwards, with the conductor up in front giving directions. He was an hour and a half late delivering up the shattered remains of the charge.”