This weekend, Documentary on Newstalk airs the premiere of ‘Connolly Station – A Day in the Life’, in which IMRO-nominated producer Brian Gallagher looks at the lives of the many people involved in running the busiest train station in Ireland.
Using a lively mix of interviews, location recordings, sound effects and music, Connolly Station – A Day in the Life explores the stories behind Ireland’s busiest railway station.
Connolly Station – A Day in the Life will be broadcast on Newstalk on Sunday October 31st at 7am with a repeat broadcast on Saturday November 6th at 9 pm and will be available as a podcast.
Jane Cregan of Irish Rail tells of the building of the station, and the role it played during the 1916 Rising. Kevin Connolly, the Assistant Station Master, reveals how his day begins at five in the morning, with the station itself coming alive at around 7.00 am.
We get an insight into life behind the scenes the Central Traffic Control Centre in Connolly, the nerve centre from which Ireland’s rail network is run. Lisa Dunne of Bean and Gone coffee shop talks of changing public tastes, and the lively interactions she has with customers seeking refreshments in the station.
The challenging task of maintaining tracks, level crossings and bridges falls to Mick Danaher and he gives an insight into the complexity of ensuring that everything runs smoothly. Keeping clean a train station that’s used by twenty thousand people a day takes effort and planning, and Kevin Connolly explains how it’s achieved.
Jane Cregan outlines Irish Rail’s plans to develop the former station car park and marshalling yard, then the narrator tells the little-known story of the commemoration in Connolly of the railway workers who lost their lives in the Great War.
A vox pop reveals a colourful selection of people’s best rail memories, then we hear how in 1971 Connolly Station was the scene for the famous showdown between customs officers and Irish feminists, who challenged the Republic’s laws banning the sale of contraceptives by buying them in Belfast and bringing them home on the train.
Kevin Connolly discusses the unpredictable day to day duties of the Station Master, while experienced commuters reveal their techniques for getting seats on rush hour trains and relating to fellow passengers.
Steam enthusiast David Houston talks about the work done by the Irish Rail Preservation Society and the highly-popular steam train outings run from Connolly.
Barry Scully discusses the impact of the Luas trams arriving at Connolly, then we hear of the contingency plans that go into place in the station in the event of an emergency closing of a rail line.
Sean Reid tells how the North Star Hotel – today re-branded as The Address – has always had strong links with Connolly and he reveals some of the hotel’s fascinating history.
We hear about the closing routine at the station each evening, and the programme concludes with contributors revealing what Connolly Station means to them, and their hopes for its future.
'Connolly Station – A Day in the Life’, was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, through the television licence fee.