In 1889 there were no light railways in Great Britain, or practically none. Except in Ireland they are of modern growth. What really constitutes a light railway it is not easy to say. Commonly it is thought to be a matter of gauge, but that is not so. Mr. Acworth says: “such a definition is in the nature of things impossible,” but that, “a light railway must be something simpler and cheaper than an ordinary railway.” Mr. Cole says that “the natural demand for a definition must he frankly met with the disappointing reply that a hard and fast definition, at once concise, exact, and comprehensive is not forthcoming, and that a partial definition would be completely misleading.” As such authorities are unable to furnish a definition I shall not attempt it, and will content myself with suggesting that the most recognisable feature of a light railway is its light traffic.
Thought not a golfer myself, never having taken to the game in earnest, or played on more than, perhaps, twenty occasions in my life, I may yet, I think, in a humble way, venture to claim inclusion amongst the pioneers of golf in Ireland, where until the year 1881 it was unknown. In the autumn of that year the Right Honourable Thomas Sinclair, Dr. Collier, of “British History” fame, and Mr. G. L. Baillie, a born golfer from Scotland, all three keen on the game, set themselves in Belfast to the task of establishing a golf club there. They succeeded well, and soon the Belfast Golf Club, to which is now added the prefix Royal, was opened. The ground selected for the links was the Kinnegar at Holywood, and on it the first match was played on St. Stephen’s Day in 1881. That was the beginning of golf in Ireland. Mr. Baillie was the Secretary of the Club till the end of 1887, when a strong desire to extend the boundaries of the Royal game in the land of his adoption led him to resign the position and cast around for pastures new. Portrush attracted him, engaged his energies, and on the 12th May, 1888, a course, which has since grown famous, was opened there. About this time I made his acquaintance and suggested Newcastle, the beautiful terminus of the County Down railway, as another likely place. On a well remembered day in December, 1888, he accompanied me there, and together we explored the ground, and finished up with one of those excellent dinners for which the lessee of our refreshment rooms and his capable wife (Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence) were famous, as many a golfer I am sure, recollects. Mr. Baillie’s practised eye saw at once the splendid possibilities of Newcastle. Like myself, he was of an enthusiastic temperament, and we both rejoiced. I remembered the shekels that flowed to the coffers of the Glasgow and South-Western from the Prestwick and Troon Golf Courses on their line, and visions of enrichment for my little railway rose