THE GRAIG Historical Society holds its first talk of the new season in Graignamanagh Library on this Friday at 8pm.
Speaker will be author Fergus Mulligan who will talk on his book William Dargan; An Honourable Life.
William Dargan the engineer who built the Irish Railways was born in Killeshin near Carlow Town.
He was the eldest of a large family of a tenant farmer on the Earl of Portlarlington’s estate. 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£4m 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 Daniel O’Connell.
A statue of William Dargan stands outside the National Gallery of Ireland. All are welcome to what should be a very interesting talk.