Apart from the Great Western Railway’s “toe-hold” by virtue of its share in theFishguard and Rosslare Railways and Harbours Company. the LMS was the only one of the British “Big Four to have inherited substantial railway interests in Ireland. The LNWR with its steamers services from Holyhead to Kingstown and Dublin, also ran passenger and freight steamer services from the Welsh port to Greenore, served by the Dundalk, Newry and Greenore railway (26 miles of 5’ 3” gauge track). In appearance the trains looked like slightly plump LNWR ones because the rolling stock was all built at Crewe and Wolverton, as the DNG was wholly owned by the English company. Passenger ferry services were interrupted by the Kaiser’s War, and never reinstated, because the international boundary between the Free State and Northern Ireland cut the DNGR in two, and it was a focal point for disruption during “The Troubles”. In 1933 arrangements were made for the train service to be worked by the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) and the LMS withdrew, retaining a share in the popular Greenore Hotel.
In Scotland, the LMS inherited the Stranraer-Larne steamer service by virtue of its constituent’s participation in the Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Joint Railway , while further south there had been Furness Railway steamer services from Barrow, Lancashire &Yorkshire Railway boats from Fleetwood and Midland Railway services from Heysham to Belfast. Substantial investment by the Midland in harbour facilities at Heysham would see services from all three North of England ports concentrated there after the railway “Grouping” of 1923. To help secure its Heysham investment and ensure a growing proportion of the lucrative Irish livestock traffic used their route, the Midland absorbed the Belfast & Northern Counties Railway which offered good connections throughout the North.
To avoid the appearance of an English railway “colonising” Ireland, at a time when Home Rule agitation was reaching a peak, local management was retained and the undertaking was styled The Northern Counties Committee. With further acquisitions it grew into a railway that served the north-east of Ireland with 201 miles of broad gauge track (5’- 3”) and 82 miles of narrow gauge (3’-0”) lines. At the 1923 Grouping of British railway companies, the Committee became part of the LMS which thus served some of the most attractive areas of the country, despite giving up the DNG Railway. Railway. Having inherited the Holyhead-Kingstown-Dublin route from the LNWR the LMS was in a strong position to challenge for the bulk of the tourist traffic.
The brochure IRELAND FOR THE HOLIDAYS was part of the LMS drive to exploit its Irish connections against a background of growing paid holidays for British workers. The “Emerald Isle” offered the excitement of going overseas to a different country, without the complications of a foreign language. The brochure does not confine itself to describing places served by the NCC but covers the whole island – even mentioning rival steamer services from Liverpool, although the GWR Fishguard Rosslare route is ignored. The attractive Art Deco cover imbues the blunt end of an Irish Sea Ferry with all elegance of a four-funnel Cunarder’s stern, but sadly the content is not up to the same imaginative design standard. There are too many photographs, some of which have been “shoe-horned” into odd spaces, while others are too small to be of much use. Whoever thought it a good idea to portray the scenery of the
“Emerald Isle” in muddy sepia pictures, was just plain daft!
PREVIEW BELOW – MAY TAKE A WHILE TO LOAD.