Monday 29 January 2024

Ancestry adds topographical map of Ireland from 1855

New to the Ancestry Irish collection is an island-wide topographical map published in 1855. The cover page of the map describes itself as 'A General Map of Ireland to accompany the report of the Railway Commissioner shewing (sic) the Principal Physical Features and Geological Structure of the Country. Constructed in 1838 and engraved in 1837-38', adding 'The Geology was revised and improved in 1855.'

The images are beautiful. What a labour of artistry and skill they must have required.

The original report by the Irish Railway Commission was aimed at providing information to allow the planning of efficient railway lines. This 'quarter inch' map shows many of the earliest train routes to become operational:

Click image to explore the map
  • Dublin and Kingstown Railway (1834)
  • Ulster Railway(1839)
  • Dublin & Drogheda Railway (1844)
  • Dublin & Belfast Junction Railway (1845)
  • Belfast & County Down Railway (1848)
  • Cork, Blackrock & Passage Railway (1850)
  • Dublin to Galway (1851)
  • Cork, Bandon & Sth Coast Railway (1851)
  • Waterford & Tramore Railway(1853)

The first train journeys started in 1834, and this new form of transport continued to expand until 1920, by which time there were 5,600 km (3,480 miles) of tracks across the island. Only about half of this remains.