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28th February

#OnThisDay, 28th February 1799 William Dargan was born.

William was born in Co. Carlow, the son of a farmer.  He trained as a surveyor and secured a position in 1820 as an overseer with Telford, the great English railway engineer, who was then constructing the London to Holyhead Road.

He worked on the construction of the Dublin to Howth road, which runs through Raheny. For postal purposes the Howth Road was regarded as an extension of the Holyhead to London Road and both were sometimes referred to as ‘the Dublin and London Road’. The granite milestones, which still remain on the Howth Road, are the same as those at Holyhead.

He then went onto to build Ireland’s first railway, the Dublin-Kingstown line, which opened in 1834.

In 1853, he organised the great Dublin Industrial Exhibition, mostly at his own expense. The works of art shown at the Exhibition formed the nucleus for the opening of the National Gallery of Ireland in 1864.

William Dargan lived at Maryville House, Raheny for a few years in the early 1850’s. While he lived at Maryville, Raheny, he tried new ideas on scientific farming and grew sugar beet.

You can read more about William Dargan in the Raheny Heritage Society’s publication ‘Raheny Footprints’