Ronan Killeen interviews Greg Rabbitte by Ronan Killeen
Back in 2010 when I was doing Rural Arts in my B.A. (Ordinary) Degree in Heritage Studies in GMIT, Galway. I decided to work on a project of the Athenry railway station as I always wondered why the buildings looked unique to the railway station. I got in touch with local railway man the late Greg Rabbittee and interviewed him. As I was writing fast at the time there maybe some pieces I have missed.
"Passenger train 7.55 am passenger train coming from Tuam. I would put on the lamps (Oil). Oil needed every few hours. 73 lamps need to be lit. Home signals; Oater home signals; Distant signals. I had to park at Mellows College. Up at 6.30am, 7.15am started work and finished at 3 o'clock in the day. Station cottage twelve gables and unique to the British Isles. Other men who worked on the railway Peter Scully and Christy Quintan. You would not be appointed if you were not from the area. The Valley Halls and Loughnanes (Referring to those that lived in the railway cottages). At the railway crossing Duanes, Stephen Duane’s family. (Author's note: As far as I know I have been informed by locals that Duanes were up in Ballygurrane station cottage were the level crossing is near the Raheen Woods Hotel).
The railway company rebuild station cottage and station house. Goods were closed in 1979. Road freight had taken over no freight is carried over. The four man's hut and the oil room near there. Would be signing in for work in the morning."
I asked him about a Mr. Hahesy would was station master at the time of the 30's according to daughter of Mr. Hahesy his daughter Maisie Hahesy addressed her house was Station House in one of the Irish folklore manuscripts. Greg told me that Mr. Hahesy was station master round the 1940's and 1950's and at the time Station Master's would wear swallow tail coates. He also told me about Duffy family who had the Athenry Railway Hotel (Now the Galway Roscommon Education Training Board) from the 1950's and 1980's. Below is a video link of Greg filmed by Athenry resident Tom Curran in 1989. Greg Rabbitte passed away on the 4th August 2013.