Bumps in the Rosses Point Road

Travelling in the dark at night appears to have been fraught with danger for motorists in Sligo in the 1920s and 30s, so much so that in April 1931, Sligo Chamber members were seeking to have certain matters taken up with Government.  At the Chamber meeting on Monday the 13th of April, H. Campbell Perry, President, in the Chair, it was advised that the Minister of Finance had agreed to receive a Deputation from the Associated Chambers at noon the following Wednesday and the Minister for Justice would receive a Deputation the same afternoon.  Mr. H. C. Lyons and Mr. A.H. Henderson were appointed to represent Sligo Chamber on the Deputation.

Mr. H.C. Lyons suggested that Government should be asked at the meeting to make it compulsory “that all pedal Bicycles be fitted with a red reflector on the rear mudguard so that at night motorists could distinguish the Cyclist and avoid accidents”.  Mr. T.J. Harrington said that another danger to motorists was “Cattle being driven without lights on the roads at night”.  Mr. Lyons undertook to mention these matters when on the Deputation to the Minister for Justice.

Local Farmers on rural road

We are conditioned today in 2023 to having good quality roads for vehicular motor traffic and to safety measures being readily available for road users through bicycle lighting and high visibility vests.  This clearly was not the case in the 1920s and 30s when condition of the roads and safety issues were of concern to Sligo Chamber.  In that context, it should be remembered that the motor car was then a relatively new form of transport.  The country was only emerging from a time when horses and bicycles were the norm for local transport with the train being used between larger urban centres and the boat for transport to England, Scotland and Wales and beyond.

At the Chamber meeting of the 14th of January 1929, H. Campbell Perry, President, in the Chair, the question of the slippery state of some of the roads leading into the town was discussed.  It was pointed out that “Farmers are complaining that they are greatly handicapped on bringing their produce into the markets as their horses cannot travel on the present road surface”.  It was decided to suggest to the County Council and the Corporation that they should scatter sand or gravel on the sides of the roads complained of.  The matter had not been resolved by the following year with Mr. H. C. Lyons referring at the Chamber meeting on the 27th of January 1930 to the “smooth slippery nature” of some of the roads leading into the town and again pointing out that “Farmers were unable to bring their produce into the markets as their horses could not travel on the roads”. It was decided on this occasion to write to the County Council and the Corporation requesting them to have “the sides of the roads complained of edged or keep gravel spread on same so as to make them safe for horse traffic”.

View if Rosses Point Village from Main Road

The poor condition of roads remained a theme for discussion at Chamber Meetings into the mid 1930s and extended beyond Sligo Town to the neighbouring villages of Rosses Point and Ballisodare.  We are all familiar today with the wide promenade road in Rosses Point extending to the Beachery and with access to First and Second Beach and to the Pier.  In the 1930s, the main thoroughfare was what is now the inner road through the village and it was in 1934 that a new road was being built leading to the shore.  This new shore road and the condition of the road to Rosses Point and roads in the town were the subject of discussion at the Chamber Meeting in June of that year, H. Campbell Perry, President, in the Chair.  Although not known or expected at the time, this was the last meeting that H. Campbell Perry would attend and the condition of the roads the final matter over which he would chair discussion. 

Rosses Point Village circa 1930s

The minutes of the meeting, subsequently signed by A.H. Henderson, acting on behalf of the President, record that “The Secretary was directed to write to the County Surveyor, (Mr. Kirwan), requesting him to finish off the new road leading to the seashore at Rosses Point, also to have the hedges cut at several turns on the road to Rosses Point and to level off the bumps on the road.  It was also decided to request the Borough Surveyor to level off the bumps on the roads within the Borough”.

At the next meeting of the Chamber on the 5th of March 1935, A.H. Henderson in the Chair, (deputising for President H. Campbell Perry who was unavoidably absent due to illness), the condition of the roads is raised again.  Along the Rosses Point Road “the bumps on the road are liable to damage motor cars”. A reply to the Chamber letter has been received from Mr. Kirwin, County Surveyor, and is read to the meeting.  Evidently, the reply is unsatisfactory as it was decided that a Deputation comprising Messrs. J. Gilbride, H.C. Lyons, T.P. Toher, A.H. Henderson and the Secretary J.A. McLoghry be appointed “to wait on Mr. Kirwin in connection with the matter and at the same time request him to have danger signs erected for the entrance to the new road leading to the sea at Rosses Point and to point out to him that the direction signs inside the Borough are not suitable and should be renewed”.

The bumps and the general safety of the roads were still not addressed to the satisfaction of Chamber members as these matters were again discussed later in the year at the Chamber Meeting on the 10th of September 1935, D.M. Hanley President, in the Chair, Mr. H. Campbell Perry having passed earlier that year.  The minutes of the meeting record that:

“A long discussion took place on the subject of bumps, high hedges and dangerous corners on certain roads in this District.  Mr. H.C. Lyons mentioned that the Deputation that had waited on the County Surveyor, Mr. Kirwin, had been very graciously received in connection with the complaints about the Rosses Point Road.  Mr. Lyons noticed a very bad corner on the road to Ballisodare, the hedge on this corner was very high and should be cut down.  Mr. J. Gilbride suggested that the Gardai be asked through their Chief Superintendent, to report to the County Surveyor where direction signs are damaged or where signs should be erected, also any dangerous corner that should be improved.  The suggestion was approved of and it was decided that the Deputation again wait on Mr. Kirwin in connection with the other matters discussed”.

Bumps in Rosses Point Road

The bumps in the road and the other safety matters must have then subsequently been acted upon to the satisfaction of the Chamber as this is the last we read of these items in the Sligo Chamber Minutes.

The bumps in the Rosses Point Road and on roads within the Borough which led to the decision to write to the Borough Surveyor, Mr. Kirwin to level the bumps, were first discussed at the Sligo Chamber Meeting on the 11th of June, on this week in 1934.

Researched and written by Conor McCarthy

Supported by the Sligo Chamber Centenary Committee:

  • Catherine Maguire – Admin & Photographic Research
  • Geraldine Courtenay – Creative Direction
  • Aidan Doyle – Review & Publication

The next Article in the series commemorating The Centenary of Sligo Chamber and entitled

Post and Telephones and the Price of Bacon” will be released on the 19th of June 2023.

#Sligo Chamber Centenary