Irish Place Names: Bantry
In 1883, the Canadian Pacific Railway built Bantry station about 90 kilometres northwest of Medicine Hat, and, according to historian Merrily Aubrey, railway officials looked to Ireland for their inspiration in naming the station.
It was named after Bantry Bay in Ireland. Alberta's Bantry was not much of a place. Of it an old-timer in the area said, "Well, it was just a dugout in the hollow in the north side of the track." It was about 8 feet by 10 feet, and contained a stove and some benches. Railroad ties and slabs were used to construct it, with a ceiling of slabs and dirt on the top for warmth. This place was used by the section men for many years, as a place to get out of the wind and cold to eat their lunch
It was built out of the sight of passing trains so as to not be an eyesore to the railway officials.
While Bantry Station was not much more than a hole in the ground, its Irish namesake was not so unassuming.
It is a long inlet of the Atlantic Ocean on the southwest of County Cork, Ireland. It separates the Caha and Sheepshead Peninsulas. The town of Bantry is at the head of that Bay, and it was a strategic place during some of the many wars that occurred in that area of the world.
During attempted invasions in 1689 and 1796, the French used Bantry Bay as an entry point.
The name of Bantry, Alberta now applies to a nearby reservoir, which is sometimes also called Tymko Lake.
On the Heritage Trail,
I'm Cheryl Croucher.