Gail Thornton
a pictorial archive of horse


The Jaunting Cart

An open two-wheeled passenger car of Irish origins, rarely seen outside of this country,  and drawn by a single horse.  It first appeared in Ulster during the late 18th century and is known by its back-to-back sideways seating.  It can seat two passengers on either side, sharing the same footboard.  The driver sits in front of the seats facing forwards and slightly higher than the passengers.  This postcard is one of the ‘Valentine’s’ series and was used, though not postally, on the 8.11.38. It is also hand coloured but this does not show on the picture.

The passenger seats can often be quite narrow and therefore uncomfortable when seating more than one person either side.  For passengers not used to travelling in this way they could find themselves unseated when driven fast around corners.  Surprisingly these vehicles were fairly sturdy and not easily overturned and were easy to get on and off.  In this postcard the gentleman has chosen to drive from the back of the side seat rather than the driving seat.  The card is one of a series by Marcus Ward and was posted in Belfast but the date cannot be identified.  It has been sent to Miss C L Hill at Downfield, Dundee.

The advantage of the Jaunting car was that it was cheap, light enough to be drawn by a pony and ideal for travelling around the rough hilly roads of Ireland.  Its downfall however was given the weather conditions often left passengers to the mercy of the wind and rain.  In this postcard it is possible to see the sturdiness of the vehicle as the passengers are seated on the same side yet the vehicle does not look to b unbalanced.  As these vehicles were rarely seen outside of Ireland one would assume that this is where this photograph has been taken.  Unfortunately there is nothing written on the card to confirm this.

This is a photograph rather than a postcard and again one can only assume that it has been taken in Ireland.  In this case the driver is seated on the opposite side to the passengers and not in the driving seat.

This card is from the “Yes or No Series” and may have been brought back from a visit to Ireland and then sent on as it has a Sunderland postmark dated May 28th 1905.  It was sent to Southport with a Thank You message. 

It is good to see a lady driver though whether she is one of the party or being hired to drive them around we are unable to tell.  As the postmark is Killarney one can assume that the location is Ireland and the date is given as August 12th 1900.  The card has been sent to Miss D.Madge, 18 Pains Road, Southsea, Portsmouth and reads “Do you know anyone here? I have one on a donkey cart for Aunt M. We leave here tomorrow evening. Love from L.G.”.

Written on the back of this postcard is the following information: “Cork is the only part of the universe where the Jingle or Covered Car is to be found. It is a kind of Coach on Two wheels with a roof and sides and ends. In front it has two small windows. It is entered from the rear by a half door, and canvas curtains are provided to be drawn across above this half door to completely close in the passengers who sit facing each other. The driver sits in the front upon the outside. Cork Photo Card 26/12”

Another example of a Jaunting cart but unfortunately the photograph is rather dark.  It is impossible to say where this was taken as there is no information either on the front or the back to date it or identify its location.  Looking at the ladies clothes however may give you an idea.