Descendents of one of the first Irish settlements in Wales have unveiled a lasting legacy to their community via an improved coach service from Cardiff.
Former residents of Newtown helped design a plaque on the side of the Eurolines service, which commemorates their past home: "Little Ireland - honouring the community of Newtown, Cardiff". The service is operated by Bernard Kavanagh and Sons, based in Urlingford, Ireland.
The Eurolines service will carry hundreds of passengers between Cardiff, Waterford, Limerick and Cork every week and The Newtown Association hope it will enable a new generation to discover Wales' first Irish community. The service previously operated from Cardiff Gate but has moved into Cardiff Bus Station to make connecting by train or local bus easier.
Newtown was created by The Marquis of Bute during the 1840's to house the large number of Irish families needed to build Bute Dock. The six street community thrived for over a hundred years until the homes were compulsory purchased in the 1960's to redevelop the area.
Eurolines, part of National Express, has produced a booklet about the history of Newtown for each passenger on the coach. It details the origins of the community and provides testimonials from the people who lived and worked there.
Former Newtown resident Mary Sullivan said:
This coach service will help thousands of people from across Ireland and Wales learn about the origins of Cardiff's Irish community. We really hope passengers will take an interest in the history and visit the memorial garden at the site of Newtown.
In March 2005 the Newtown Association Trust unveiled their Memorial Garden on the former site of Newtown. The design is influenced by the topography of Newtown: low curved walls combined with sections of real track incorporated in the floor scape represent the railway lines that once surrounded Newtown. Over 200 names spanning four generations have been inscribed in the stone paving to record the families who settled in the area.
John Gilbert, Managing Director of Eurolines UK, said:
Working with the Newtown Association has been a very rewarding experience. We work closely with Irish communities across the country but Cardiff has a particularly poignant tale as their heritage is no longer standing. The new service will take passengers from across Britain and Europe to Ireland four times per week and every customer will pass the plaque to Newtown as they board.
The Eurolines service will depart from Cardiff Bus Station and fares to Ireland start from £42 return. The service features modern air conditioned seats and toilets on board. All services travel via Irish Ferries and a generous luggage allowance of two medium sized suitcases per person is included.
For more information about the service please visit: Eurolines website