1729 Turnpike Trust.  1822 Cork, Skibbereen and Kinsale Turnpike (Toll Road), Tolled to 1843.  1839 Funding by Commissioner of Public Works, Loan to Trustees of Cork, Skibbereen and Kinsale Turnpike,  For road from Castletownbere to Dursey Island, For a Railway From Certain Bogs to Supply Cork with Turf.

In the early 18th. century the Irish roads were generally of a very poor quality.  The Turnpike Trust was an attempt to improve by sponsoring private Acts of the Irish Parliament for new or to maintain existing road schemes. These were to be funded by the users.

Another Northern European country, Denmark, not invaded by the Romans and not having their roads, also had a major road problem in the mid 18th century.  An Irish Engineer based in Denmark produced a recent paper on the subject.  In the case of Denmark, the King brought in French Engineers c 1750 to lay out a national road system, which lasted to the 1960s.  The French planted  trees alongside the roads something happily replicated in the Irish Motorway Network post 2000, in the autumn the colours are amazing.

Simultaneously the Cork Grand Jury continued piecemeal improvements, added to by the great arterial schemes of Sir Richard Griffith and Nimmo in the 1820s.

The turnpike road to Skibbereen seems to coincide with the mail coach road of 1832 (ROAD PLANNING IN IRELAND BEFORE THE RAILWAY AGE By J. H. ANDREWS Trinity College, Dublin).

Before very long, in any case, the railways were beginning to distract attention from the problem of the trunk roads. In 1857 all the surviving turnpike trusts were liquidated on the ground that, since long distance traffic was now virtually monopolised by the railways, the roads could reasonably revert to county charge.  Four years later the mail coaches, now reduced to a mere 238 miles, made their last appearance in the postal section of Thorn’s annual directory: 

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Cork Turnpike Road Legislation


1731, Cork-Kilworth Mountain to Co. Tipperary border, tolls intended to last to 1752.

1779-80, tolls increased

1798, road privatised

1798, tolls on stagecoaches doubled

1799, tolls increased.


1731, Newcastle-Limerick-Cork, tolls intended to last to 1753.

1745, tolls increased road to go via Charleville.

1826, new Act.


1747, Listowel-Cork, original tolls to 1809

1767, adjustment of position of turnpike gates


1765, Kanturk-Fair Lane (Cork), tolls intended to continue to 1826 but only short length constructed


1790, Charleville to Cork City


1812, Cork-Tralee, tolls to 1833.


1822, Cork-Skibbereen-Kinsale, tolls to 1843


1825, Cork-Ballyhooly, tolls to 1846.


1830 Extension of Waterford-Cork, provisional only.


1857, all existing turnpike roads in Ireland abolished with effect from 5th April 1858





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