Graignamanagh History Society will hear story of 'the most important Irish engineer of the 19th century'

Kilkenny People Reporter

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Kilkenny People Reporter

Laois man and famous engineer William Dargan

William Dargan's statue at the National Gallery of Ireland

Graignamanagh Historical Society will hold its first talk of the new season in the Graignamanagh Library on Friday, October 12 at 8pm.

The speaker will be author Fergus Mulligan who will speak on his book William Dargan; An Honourable Live.

William Dargan the engineer who built the Irish Railways was born on Killeshin near Carlow Town.
He was arguably the most important Irish engineer of the 19th century and certainly the most important figure in railway construction. Dargan designed and built Ireland’s first railway line from Dublin to Dun Laoghaire in 1833.

He was a member of the Royal Dublin Society and also helped to establish the National Gallery. Dargan lived during the biggest disaster in Irish History, the Great Famine (1845 – 1852).

It is said that with the work he created in the Irish Railways and canals, he helped to save thousands of lives and rejuvenate the country which was on the brink of collapse. By 1853 he employed over 50,000 men, paying out over £4 million in wages. Almost single handedly, he was vitalising the Irish economy.

He died in 1867 and was laid to rest in Glasnevin Cemetery beside another great Irishman, the “Great Emancipator” himself Daniel O’Connell. A statue of William Dargan stands outside the National Gallery of Ireland. All are welcome to this very interesting talk.