Bianconi, The King of the Irish Roads
Charles Bianconi was an Italian immigrant who built up the largest transport system in Europe,in Ireland! It opened the country up as never before. Trudging Ireland's country Lanes the idea of a passenger transport system occurred to him, and he never looked back. He had 100 vehicles travelling 3,800 miles daily calling at 120 towns, and 140 stations for changing horses. This is his story. More
The man known to History as Charles Bianconi, and in his lifetime known as the King of the Irish Roads, was born Carlo Bianconi in Lombardy, Italy, in 1786. When he was 16, although his family were well off, he was apprenticed to a seller of prints who was going to England - chiefly to remove him from the village where he was born and brought up to distance him from a young lady to whom he was getting too close and who was engaged to another! So he and three companions travelled with their print seller over the Alps and along the Rhine, eventually arriving in Ireland - at which point he was just 17 years old.
For a year he pedalled prints as his apprenticeship, and then set up on his own, soon moving up the ladder and opening a shop. Trudging the lanes of Ireland had suggested to him the idea of a passenger transport system, as there were not yet any railways. So, as a sideline, he decided to give it a try and bought a Jaunting Car, and then another, and by degrees built an empire on the roads. Eventually he had 100 vehicles travelling 3,800 miles daily calling at 120 towns, and 140 stations for changing horses, some of which were appended to an Inn. These became known as Bianconi Inns, and the cars as Bians.
These services continued into the 1850s and later, by which time there were a number of railway services in the country. The Bianconi coaches continued to be well-patronised, by offering connections from various termini, one of the first and few examples of an integrated transport system in Ireland. But Bianconi hedged his bets, and was also a major investor in railways.
He died on September 22, 1875 at "Longfield House", Boherlahan, Co. Tipperary.
This is his story.