John Knightly (b. 1920s) Part 1
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John Knightly (b. 1920s) Part 1


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John Knightly’s father was Stationmaster in Annascaul for twenty years prior to his transfer to Banteer in Co. Cork and later to Castlemaine, prior to the closure of the narrow-gauge line in 1954. John recounts many stories about his time in Annascaul, including a fine description of being a passenger in the guard’s van on a runaway train in 1936. During the Civil War, the IRA commandeered a train from Dingle to Annascaul, having first boarded a ship of the Limerick Steamship Company at Ventry Pier carrying a cargo of flour and barrels of Guinness. The goods were loaded onto the train and unloaded in Annascaul where men with horses and carts were waiting. The Antartic explorer, Tom Crean from Annascaul, was John Knightly’s godfather, and they would spend a lot of time together, drawing turf and walking Crean’s dogs. John recalls his schooldays and tells a story relating to Ernest Blythe who spent six months living with the Ashe family in Kinard while endeavouring to improve his Irish. Fair Days in Dingle were important events, and John describes the double-headed train with its twelve carriages steaming up and down the valleys carrying passengers to the Fair. Breakfast was served to the drivers at Crean’s pub in Annascaul. He also recalls the Blasket Island men coming east to Annascaul to cut the willow for basketmaking. The train would bring the load of willow sticks back to the pier in Dingle, where the island men would load up their currachs and row back to the island the very same night.


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Audio series:

Tralee-Dingle Narrow Gauge Railway Collection


128 kbps

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48 hours

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66.3 MB

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Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore