Growth of Transportation Networks in Carlow

This Module will outline the history and development of toll roads, navigation on the River Barrow and the introduction of the railway in County Carlow.

There were at least five turnpike roads established in County Carlow. In 1731, an Act of George II enabled the building of a Turnpike Road from Kilcullen via Carlow to Kilkenny. Following this in 1752 a road from Athy through Old Leighlin to Leighlinbridge was built. Almost a century later in 1829 an act for making and maintaining the road leading from Dublin through Blessington and Baltinglass to Carlow was passed under George IV.

The Barrow Navigation was set up in the early eighteenth century. After a century of trade, the Grand Canal Act of 1894 transferred the Barrow Navigation Company to the Grand Canal Company.

Three railway lines were established in County Carlow. They were the Great Southern and Western Railway's line from Dublin to Kilkenny via Carlow (1846-1850); the Bagenalstown and Wexford Railway serving Borris was begun in 1855. A line was extended from Sallins through Naas and Baltinglass to Tullow in 1888.

By the second half of the nineteenth century railway development led to the demise of toll-roads and also to a decline in traffic on the Barrow. Railways and roads are still important for transport. Transport on waterways is now increasingly important for leisure and for its economic contribution to tourism.

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