Book Launch – History of the North Kerry Railway


Launch of new book on the history of the Limerick-Tralee/Fenit & Foynes Railway

A new book by railway historian Dr. Alan O’Rourke titled ‘The North Kerry Line’ whose subject is the Limerick to Tralee railway along with the branch lines to Fenit and Foynes will be launched in the Lartigue Railway Museum, Listowel, Co. Kerry by Minister Jimmy Deenihan on Sunday 24th Nov. at 7pm and at the Library, Gortboy, Newcastle West, Co. Limerick on Tuesday 26th Nov. at 8pm by Éamon Ó Cuív T.D. The public are cordially invited to attend on both nights. Beidh fáilte roimh gach éinne.

Dr. O’Rourke’s book is the result of several years research and contains a detailed history of the four railway companies who constructed these 90 miles or so of railway in West Limerick and North Kerry during the latter half of the 19th century. It also provides a fine description of the lie of the land and of the communities which were linked by the lines and their 22 stations. Front cover photo of goods train at Lixnaw, Co. Kerry 1970’s by kind permission of Jonathan Allen)

In tandem with the launch Ms. Maria Leahy, a student of Oral History at the University of Limerick is commencing the recording of of the lives and times of those who lived along the line and of those families who grew up with the railway in their blood. Maria can be contacted directly at 086 4033707 or she will also be available at Listowel from 5.30pm and Newcastle West from 7pm on the launch evenings.

The book, printed locally by Fitzsimons Printers, Shanagolden, Co. Limerick is published by the Great Southern Trail which is dedicated to preserving the heritage of these lines and the conversion to a ‘Greenway’ of the Ballingrane (near Rathkeale) to Tralee/Fenit route.

As the book says: “the North Kerry had a reputation as a friendly line”. This was thanks to the railway community who worked on it. For the railway families and for the faithful supporters of the Great Southern Trail over the past twenty years signed copies of the book will be available at the launches at the very special price of €10. The post-launch price will be €15 which is still exceptional value for a scholarly work of 275 pages including over 30 maps/diagrams and over 80 photographs (many previously unpublished. For all who were associated with the working railway, all who now walk/cycle the developed sections and all whose interest is local history this book should be essential reading.


The launches of a new railway interest book “The North Kerry Line” (Limerick to Tralee and the Foynes and Fenit branches) will take place at two events as follows:

Sunday 24th November, 7pm the Lartigue Museum, Listowel, Co Kerry
Introduced by Jimmy Deenihan T.D. Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta

Tuesday 26th November, 8pm, Newcastle West Library (Gortboy), Co Limerick
Introduced by Éamon O Cuív T.D.

9 thoughts on “Book Launch – History of the North Kerry Railway

    1. Hi Mark,

      In the UK the book is available at £18stg. from

      Alan O’Rourke,
      72 Sandford Grove Rd.,
      Nether Edge,
      Sheffield S7 1RR,
      if you are paying in sterling ( with sterling cheques/ postal orders being made payable to Alan O’Rourke).

        1. Hi Tim,

          Ye, we understand that copies are still available, see the reply from 24th April 2014 for places to purchase. If you don’t have any luck pop us an email ( with your location and we can follow up.

  1. Hi There,
    I would love to purchase this book for my father who worked on this line and started in Abbeyfeale in the 70s with P-way. He was unable to make the launch and am wondering how I can get my hands on it – make a great Christmas present.

  2. Hi There,
    Apologies if this is the 2nd time you are getting a message from me but not too used to this system and cannot see my previous message.
    I am wondering where I can get my hands on this book as my father worked on this railway in the early 70s and it would be a great Christmas present for him as he was unable to make it to the launches

  3. Hi Linda,
    The book is available from:

    Joe Cotter, 37 St.Brendan’s Park, Tralee: 086 2611732/066 7124355;

    Mike O’Neill, Pier Gates, Fenit: 087 6269777/066 7136497:

    Jim Barrett, CIÉ Wagon Works, Roxboro Rd., Limerick: 086 8134061

    and from the following bookshops:

    Celtic Bookshop, Rutland St.,Limerick;

    Newcastle West Book Store, Market Place;

    Anne Lyons’ Shop, The Square, Abbeyfeale;

    Woulfe’s Bookshop, Listowel;

    Polymath Bookshop, Courthouse Lane, Tralee.

  4. 17/06/2015.
    My uncle Martin Sampson was Station Master at Fenit, County Kerry and lived in Fenit without, Ballynahaglish County Kerry circa 1901. His Father was Station Master at the North Kerry Railway Station Tralee circa 1893 to 1905 he was then transferred to Listowel Railway Station 1905 to 1925 when he retired. His son was also in charge of the water tower on the Lartigue line his name is displayed on the Staff of the Lartigue in the Museum at Listowel.

    Thomas Sampson.

  5. Interested in reading about the Railways of County Kerry. Especial about the train line that went via Castlemaine.

    Hope you can assist.


    Michael Whelan

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