Wednesday 8 June 2016

Down the Decades by Mattie Lennon

A History of CIÉ captured and stored on DVD

Surprised by joy-impatient as the wind
I wished to share the transport-Oh! With whom
But thee ...
- Wordsworth

Patrick Kavanagh said that no one could write a comprehensive account of Irish life who ignored the Gaelic Athletic Association. Likewise, any attempt to chronicle events of the last seventy years would be far from complete if Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) was omitted.

Almost every family in Ireland has or had somebody working in CIÉ, the semi-State body that was founded in 1945. From 1950, it brought out an in-house magazine. The Link ran from 1950 and was replaced by Nuacht in the 1990s. The last Nuacht rolled off the presses in 2003.

Thanks to a few dedicated employees, most of these publications have been rescued from the jaws of obscurity and now, they are about to share the transport publications (which include more than fifteen thousand photographs) with all on DVD.

The first edition of The Link, dated 24 November 1950, published a letter from the CIÉ Chairman:
Dear Mr. Editor, 
On the occasion of the first issue of The Link, I want to offer you my best wishes for the success of the paper. 
I feel sure that you and your colleagues who contribute, or otherwise help, will do everything that can be done to make The Link a staff paper which will, as its name suggests, bind together the members of our staff in all grades and in all places throughout the country. 
I ask every CIÉ man to become a regular reader and in this way, co-operate with you in developing a spirit of unity and good fellowship in our organisation. 
Yours sincerely 
T.C. Courtney

The Editor, Frank Finn, thanked all contributors for, "... articles, notes, news stories and pictures, which have helped me to fill this issue."

The first issue carried articles on subjects as diverse as Charles Bianconi, the pioneer of public transport in Ireland; "The Goats of Westport"; new loading gear for loading cattle onto aircraft and an advertisement from Cotts of Kilcock, "Ireland’s biggest Mail-Order store".

In June 1951, the CIÉ lost property department had a "lost go-car" on its hands and in the Small Ads section of May 11, 1952, you could have purchased a beautiful 3-plate electric cooker for £17 10 shillings. Decades of "Gleanings from the garages", "Capital News", "Notes from the provinces", "Greetings from Christmas travellers" and accounts of funny happenings within the company are all there.

When Nuacht came on stream, it was soon published in full colour and had the effect of bringing employees with a literary bent, who were shy about their scribblings, 'out of the closet'. There is now in existence, the CIÉ Writers’ Group, which brought out a collection of short-stories, poems, essays and articles entitled, There’s Love and There’s Sex and There’s the 46A (2005) with a foreword by Professor Brendan Kennelly, who described the contributors as "... writers, ... keen listeners, sharp observers, constantly in touch with the foibles of humanity and, most striking of all, they are gifted storytellers."

Five years later, they published a second collection, It Happens Between Stops. American crime-writer, Lawrence Block (who was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1994 ), wrote the following about it:
"The quantity and quality of work produced by this group, taken from a workforce of a few thousand people, would do credit to a city of many millions."

If you worked for CIÉ and did anything newsworthy, from 'missing a free' to acting as midwife on a crowded bus, there is a good chance that you are in there somewhere. If there was a picture of, or an article about, you or yours in any of these magazines, now is your chance to re-capture the past.

Down the Decades with The Link and Nuacht is available on DVD for €10 (including postage) from:
John Cassidy,
CIE Writers’ Group,
Dublin Bus Central,
Dublin 7

reproduced from Timeline of Irish History website

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