On Wednesday, August 1, 1888, the Dublin & Blessington Steam Tramway (the DBST) opened for business. The first train was the 8:35 a.m. mail train leaving Terenure for Blessington. The connected with the horse-drawn trams from the city. An extension of the line to Poulaphouca was opened in 1895, and the Blessington and Poulaphouca Steam Tramway was incorporated, with through-running from Terenure from 1896 until the extension was closed in 1927.
On one side of the tram marker are the letters DB [Dublin to Blessington] and on the other BP [Blessington to Poulaphouca].
The story of the Blessington Tram had begun in 1887 when an act was passed by the Westminster parliament entitled “the Dublin & Blessington Steam Tramway Company Act.” The effect of this legislation was to establish a company with the same title to build a tramway from a depot at Terenure on the south side of Dublin to Blessington. The directors were men with property and business interests in the area including William Owen of Blessington, Fletcher Moore of Kilbride, William Domville Hancock of Templeogue, Thomas Guinness of Rathfarnham, and John Walker of Dublin.
In 1929, the Paragon Omnibus Company began operating a through bus service between Blessington and the city centre, eliminating the requirement for passengers to transfer between the DBST and the Dublin tram at Terenure. This struck a fatal blow to the DBST. Last-ditch efforts were made in 1931 to have the DBST taken over by either the Dublin United Tramway Company, or by the Great Southern Railways. This did not come to pass, and so it was, that on 31 December 1932, a wet Saturday night, the last trains ran on the DBST lines, the 6:15 p.m. from Terenure to Blessington, and the 10:30 p.m. from Terenure to Tallaght.
Many people were killed in the tram days, including many who were the worse for drink, who were knocked down by the tram which was known to appear suddenly and silently from around a turn in the road, or behind a hedge. In one case, a conductor was thrown to his death from the swaying trailer car. In Templeogue the bodies of the dead were taken to the local pub the Templeogue Inn. This occurred so often the pub became known as “The Morgue”. The tram’s reputation for the proliferation of accidents resulted in it getting a name as “the longest graveyard in Ireland.”
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