The Lartigue: the Listowel & Ballybunion Railway

The Listowel & Ballybunion Railway operated between 1888 and 1924, using perhaps the most eccentric railway technology ever invented: the monorail developed by Charles Lartigue.

Very little original material was left after the railway closed, but a short section of railway has been recreated in the town of Listowel, Co Kerry, with a single locomotive (now diesel rather than steam) and two carriages. However, it shows the more exciting features of the original: the ingenious turntables and switches. There is also a small display of models, photographs and artefacts, and a showing of three short films, with some original newsreel footage of the railway in operation. The volunteer staff are knowledgeable and happy to chat and, all in all, it makes for a very entertaining few hours for anyone interested in transport or engineering.

Listowel is close to Ballybunion on the south side of the Shannon Estuary; anyone visiting the industrial heritage artefacts of the Lower Shannon Industrial Heritage Park could easily build in a visit to the Lartigue – and then take the ferry from Tarbert to Killimer and visit the West Clare Railway.

Read about the Lartigue here.

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