On This Day – Drivetime – 28 February 1799 – William Dargan, Irish Engineer

One of County Carlow’s most innovative, if little known, people. Fascinating man, and fascinating read.

Myles Dungan

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Not many people see statues unveiled to themselves in their own lifetimes. William Dargan, however, was one such person. Born into the family of a tenant farmer in Co.Carlow in 1799 and educated in a local hedge school, he went on to become the most important Irish engineer of the 19th century and one of the country’s most significant entrepreneurs and philanthropists.

Showing early promise as a mathematician he trained as a surveyor thanks to the generosity of, among others, the MP Henry Parnell. Later he found work with the famous Scottish engineer Thomas Telford in the building of the London to Holyhead road in the early 1820s. Moving back to Ireland he earned the large sum of  £300 for his work on a new road from Raheny to Sutton near Dublin. This served the Howth mail-packet station. The money was used as seed capital to fund…

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