Posts Tagged ‘transportation’

The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce

10 October 2011

By Lisa Marie Griffith

This weekend I watched Australian/Irish production The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce (2008) about the infamous Irish convict turned cannibal.  Last year I had a complaint from an Australian tourist on my walking tour that I did not deal in enough detail with the Irish transported to Australia but I doubt this was what they had in mind! Alexander Pearce (played by Ciaran McMenanin in the film) is probably Australia/Ireland’s most famous cannibal and his execution in 1824 was reported on around the world. Pearce was born in Clones, Co Monaghan in 1790, and seems to have worked as a farm labourer in Co. Fermanagh. In 1819 he was convicted for stealing 6 pairs of shoes and was transported to Van Diemen’s land to serve seven years for theft.  The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce, a made-for-tv-film, looks at how this petty criminal turned into a cannibal. Pearce and seven other convicts escape from the prison and try to strike for the nearest urban settlement. Lost in the vast countryside, their provisions soon run out and the will to survive  takes over. Read more

The relief of Charlestown – a really bad winter

8 January 2010

Contributed by Peter Rigney

While some people are complaining about transportation in the current cold snap, consider conditions in Ireland during a far worse Arctic experience in the winter of 1946/ 1947. The following is an account given by a young locomotive fireman (firemen were in due course promoted to driver) called Val Horan who was based in Athlone and worked throughout Connacht.  He gives an account of clearing the line between Claremorris and Sligo in a period when the railways were worked exclusively by steam locomotives.

Working a steam locomotive in falling snow is a miserable experience. The suction caused by the forward movement of the locomotive makes the swirling snowflakes penetrate everywhere.  They got down your neck and into your eyes. When the Mayo line was cleared I worked the first goods train into Ballina. In the twenty one miles from Manulla to Ballina not one telegraph pole was left standing. The town was short of food, bread was very hard to get and there was no electricity. After 1947 I never wanted to see snow again. Read more