Article written by
Alice Cullen - Member of Dunlaoghaire Borough Historical Society
in South News Paper in 1990.
In the early days of the electric trams, the Dublin Southern Tramways Company constructed a line from Haddington Road, to Blackrock and also from Dunlaoghaire to Dalkey. A gap was, however left between Blackrock and Dunlaoghaire, a section later built and run by a rival company. Competition along this line was fierce, with many companies operating services, the result being closely guarded sections of the line not accessible to any rival companies.
In 1896, the waring tram companies amalgamated to form the Dublin United Tramway Company. The first consequence of the new unity was the relaying of the whole system with new lines. The day of the horse drawn tram was over and the new age of the electric trams was dawning.
The first electric trams to operate from Kingstown, left the Town Hall on the 16th May 1896, to great cheers from onlookers. The tram, the eventual destination of which was the terminus at Haddington Road, was operated by Mr. J.Clifton Robinson, who also supervised the opening of the electric lines.
The event caused great excitement with people thronging the Town Hall to see the first electric tram, although few were at first keen to take the electric system. The early trams were all open topped carriages with trailers, although later carriages were roofed to be more in keeping with the often inclement weather. Each was marked with its own insignia, a green shamrock for Blackrock, and a yellow "K" for Kingstown cars.
In Dunlaoghaire, a double line ran down Royal Marine Road and cars using this line displayed a scroll bearing the words "Kingstown Pier", even though the trams stopped at the Town Hall owing to the very steep decline of the road. Indeed, owing to the slope, several cars overshot the end of the line, ending up in the shrubbery almost 80 yards away. The last tram to fail to stop at the end of the line was car No 327 on December 9th 1938. This portion of the line was closed shortly afterwards, the track removed and the road resurfaced.
The Dalkey No 8 tram ran from Nelson's Pillar to Dalkey Town. Its terminus was at the site now known as "The Old Tramyard". Some of the old tracks can still be seen in the yard today and also some of the old sheds that once housed the trams. On one of the old gateposts you can see where part of the gateway was removed to allow the larger covered in trams to enter.
The last tram to run to Dalkey, left Nelson's Pillar on the 9th July 1949, packed to capacity and by the time it reached Dalkey, little of the vehicle remained thanks to eager souvenir hunters who left the terminus with a piece of the tram for the mantelpiece.
Although most of the trams no longer
exist, there are several fine examples, lovingly restored, and housed in
the Transport Museum at Howth Castle.