Journal Volume 2 1995

Notes on how the Railway came to Greystones (continued/4)

Dargan’s Obituary (Published 15 February 1867)



William Dargan died on Thursday, the 7th inst., at his residence, Fitzwilliam -square, in this city. Born in the county of Carlow, early in the present century, having received a fair education he was placed in the office of a surveyor. He was subsequently appointed to the post of surveyor for his native county; but this he did not retain for any time, from a feeling that he could never in that position be able to advance himself as he thought he should do were he free to do the best he could with his talents. Under Telford he was employed on the Great Holyhead Road, the successful execution of which marked him as fitted to be entrusted with the construction of works of greater magnitude. The stupendous docks at Liverpool soon after gave further evidence of his skill in engineering works. By William Dargan the work of forming the Ulster Canal as a means of communication between Lough Erne and Belfast, was carried out. The Railways in this country with one or two exceptions, were constructed by Dargan, and we are informed that at the time of the Industrial Exhibition in 1853, he had on hands contracts amounting to nearly two millions sterling. To enable the Exhibition Committee to erect a suitable building, Mr Dargan advanced £30,000, and further sums required to fully carry out the work, which before the opening amounted to close on £100,000. The profits realized by the Exhibition fell short of the expenditure by £20,000, which loss, as arranged, fell on Mr Dargan. In recognition of his services, and as a token of national gratitude for his patriotism and disinterestedness, a public meeting was held, from which resulted the collection of £6,000, and a grant from Government, by which the Irish National Gallery was founded, and a fine bronze statue to this “Illustrious Irishman” erected in front thereof on Leinster Lawn. Mr Dargan was a thorough man of business, fulfilling to the letter every one of the numerous engagements into which he would enter, he thereby secured the respect of all with whom he had dealings. He was several times pressed upon to enter Parliament, but could not be prevailed on to do so. He was also honoured with the offer of a baronetcy, but this also he refused. In him the labouring classes have lost a warm friend, as his endeavour always through life w as to elevate and improve the condition of the humble work-man. Mr Dargan’s death will be sincerely regretted by all classes and creeds. The remains of the deceased were conveyed to their resting place in Prospect Cemetery, Glasnevin, and interred in a vault in the “O’Connell Circle.” The coffin was of highly polished oak, bearing a burnished shield, on which was engraved:

Died 7th February, 1807,
Aged 68 years


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