The Lartigue Monorail, Listowel, Co. Kerry is one of the most different railways in the world. It is really worth a visit as it’s pure entertainment. The volunteers that run the museum and care for the 1,000 metre railway, it’s engine and cars, are really committed to keeping the story of this unique piece of engineering alive. The idea was originally thought of in Africa by Colonel Lartigue as he watched paniers either side of camels be transported across the dessert.
The museum is great for groups, there is plenty of room to spread out and a number of different exhibitions so that everyone will be busy. There is a short AV presentation with footage of the original train on the Listowel to Ballybunion line. There is also a small piece on communications in general with Bianconi and a piece of the transatlantic cable from Valentia Island.
The highlight of the Lartigue Monorail is by far the trip on the actual train, tow carriages are pulled by the shiny green engine. They all straddle the line so they lie either side of the rail. The journey in the open sided carriage only takes about 10 minutes but it does transport you back about a 100 years in time! There is a stairwell at the end of each carriage so you can cross from one side to the other but this can’t be done while the train is in motion.
It’s a lovely visit as the drivers are all volunteers and have worked in the area all their lives so they are bursting with stories about the locality. There is plenty of time to watch how the train engine is shunted into place and also time to jump on the engine and get your picture ‘driving’ the train!