The Irish Railway Record Society was founded in October 1946 to bring together people with a love and interest for Ireland’s railways, so that information on the subject might pass more freely between the members, and be effectually recorded for the benefit of future enthusiasts and historians. From a small nucleus has grown a Society with over 1,000 members residing in all parts of the world, with branches in Cork and London, a result brought about by the vision and dedication of the group who founded it and those who followed on with the devoted work required for the Society’s development.
The Society is essentially a historical body. We take note of the past story of our railways, but we also observe and record the present-day operation of the Irish system, since railways, like all other forms of human enterprise, are in perpetual change and development. In this way rail transport, so important a section of current life, is securing its place in the recorded history of our time. This is accomplished through our Archive, Library, Journals, Meetings and Outings.
The Society’s largest task is managing and augmenting an Archive for irreplaceable records such as manuscripts, photographs, films, drawings, maps and memorabilia of Irish railways. In this kind of material, the Society is already rich, and the persons and organisations who have generously entrusted their treasures to the Society’s custody may be assured that every good treatment will be given to material which forms so important a part of our national heritage. Our Library too accommodates a vast collection of books, pamphlets, periodicals and other printed matter on railway subjects which makes its the most comprehensive deposit of such material in Ireland. Since 1947, our published Journal has been a significant part of the Society’s activities, culminating in over 195 issues printed to date.
In more recent times, the Society’s collections have grown, and this material is cared for at our premises in the Old Goods Office, Heuston Station, Dublin, where significant and extensive restoration work has been carried out. It is also the venue of our principal meetings and museum exhibits.
The Society has established branches in Cork and London since 1949 and 1961 respectively, where occasional monthly meetings, outings and events are held and which are popular and well-attended, demonstrating the interest in Irish railways regionally and abroad.