Test of new Busconnects route

On Wednesday 16th August, I will be doing an interesting test of the new Busconnects option in North East Kildare to get home from a Heritage Week event in Sallins.

The plan is to get the train from Sallins to Hazelhatch (2005 ex Sallins) followed by the W61 from Hazlehatch to Maynooth. It will be an interesting test of whether or not the connectivity works.



Say wha?

Bard is Google’s AI chatbot and has just launched in the European Economic Area (including Ireland). AI chatbots are at an early stage of development and it could be argued that they are nothing more than enhanced predictive text engines at this point in time.

I asked Bard about the industrial heritage of Ireland and the following is what it told me:

Ireland’s industrial heritage is a rich and diverse one, dating back to the late 18th century. The country’s industrial development was shaped by a number of factors, including its natural resources, its location, and its political history.

Some of the most important industries in Ireland’s history include:

Textiles: The linen industry was one of the most important industries in Ireland for centuries. Linen was grown and processed in many parts of the country, and the industry reached its peak in the 19th century.

Glassmaking: The glassmaking industry was also important in Ireland, with major centers in Waterford and Cork. The industry began in the 17th century, and it continued to thrive until the 20th century.

Engineering: The engineering industry in Ireland grew rapidly in the 19th century, with the development of railways, canals, and bridges. The industry continued to grow in the 20th century, and it is still an important sector of the Irish economy today.

Food processing: The food processing industry is another important sector of the Irish economy. The industry began in the 19th century, and it has grown rapidly in recent years.

In addition to these major industries, Ireland also had a number of smaller industries, such as mining, brewing, and distilling. These industries played an important role in the country’s economic development, and they helped to shape the landscape and culture of Ireland.

Today, Ireland’s industrial heritage is still visible in many parts of the country. There are a number of museums and historical sites that tell the story of Ireland’s industrial past. These sites are popular tourist attractions, and they help to raise awareness of the importance of Ireland’s industrial heritage.

The Industrial Heritage Association of Ireland (IHAI) is a non-profit organization that works to promote and protect Ireland’s industrial heritage. The IHAI organizes events, publishes books and articles, and provides advice and assistance to those who are interested in preserving Ireland’s industrial heritage.

The IHAI is committed to ensuring that Ireland’s industrial heritage is preserved for future generations. The organization believes that Ireland’s industrial heritage is a valuable asset that can help to boost the economy, create jobs, and promote tourism.

As a first attempt, it is middling.


Disused Stations website

My attention was brought to the website – not having a specific interest in the railways of Britain, I didn’t reckon that there would anything of interest thereon but I always wondered how you would go about doing something similar to my Gazetteer for Britain (the concentration of railways was greater than Ireland and the larger landmass results in a massive number of current and former railway stations). The site has a small number of Irish stations (both NI and RoI) but nothing compared to my own Gazetteer.

One I did note was Foynes – what drew my attention to it was the un-permissioned use of one of my photos on their site. Given the paucity of Irish stations on their site, I don’t see the point in following up on this – however, I do have issues with my intellectual property being used elsewhere without my consent.

The majority of photos on this site are taken by me. For the small number of exceptions (Castlecaldwell being the standout as well as some of the photos of Castleconnell and other stations in that area being taken by the late Brian J Goggin), these photos are reused here with the express consent of the takers/owners of said photos.


Senior Manager in Irish Rail in Ukraine

Every so often, something so bizarre comes along that even I take a deep breath.

So it was when I read in the Irish Independent that Irish Rail’s pugnacious PR manager, Barry Kenny, is currently working as a volunteer preparing food for soldiers on the Ukrainian frontline.

Here we have a senior manager in an Irish State Owned Enterprise actively assisting in a war effort against a nuclear power. Someone needs to explain to Barry that Ireland is a neutral State and what that means, in simple English.

One wonders how many Irish Rail employees are volunteering in Syria or Yemen against USA initiated/backed aggression or is State aggression OK if Uncle Sam carries it out?

For the sake of argument, if the war between Russia/Ukraine were to escalate from a proxy war with the West into an actual hot war, how would it look that a senior manager in an Irish State Owned Enterprise was actively assisting in a war effort against a nuclear power?

Let us not forget that during World War 2, when the Free State was neutral, the creamery at Campile in Co. Wexford was bombed by the Nazis, allegedly a “mistake”, however, in all reality, an attack on a food supply for Britain.


Railway map of Ireland

Courtesy of the Donegal Daily website, I became aware of the existence of this website, which shows the location of current and former railways on the island of Ireland. They claim that it is also available on the Irish Rail website, but a check of this led nowhere.

The production is reasonable, but only shows the location of the lines and no further details. For a more detailed set of maps of the current and former railways of Ireland, including stations and a page for each of the latter, my railway maps of Ireland can be consulted. The one aspect where this other site is better than mine is that it also shows city tramways, which I have not included on my site.

As a final thought, the article states that the website was developed with the support of Irish Rail. I thought that the State (which Irish Rail is, as a loss making State owned enterprise) was not permitted to fund projects where private capital (mine) has already funded something similar (see above).


Minor railways in Ireland

I can say with confidence that I know where all “public” railways in Ireland are/were but private industrial/other railways are a different matter as these can be developed and disappear in short periods of time and as such, would not be picked up by organisations such as the Ordnance Survey.

One such line is this one, built and maintained by an individual somewhere in the west of Ireland.


Lucan North station

Whilst out volunteer litter picking* on the Royal Canal between Confey and Clonsilla yesterday, I noticed that either Waterways Ireland or Irish Rail had cleared the overgrowth around the old Lucan North railway station, better revealing the former waiting shelter.

Lucan North railway station and waiting shelter. Copyright Ewan Duffy 2023

* I had a few passers by on the canal towpath thank me for doing litter picking. Whilst this is nice, the thought struck me – if you think that someone doing litter picking is a worthwhile social activity, why aren’t you partaking in the activity?


Hourly train service to Tralee

Radio Kerry reports that Irish Rail are hoping to have an hourly service on the Tralee branch by 2027.

As this service passes right by Kerry Airport, I would suggest that this should be the timeframe for withdrawal of any Public Service Obligation subsidy for flights between Dublin and Kerry as there will be a regular train service connecting to Dublin and Cork by then.


Irish Rail timetable changes

Irish Rail’s new timetable is due to commence on 11th December with small changes overall. On the webpage announcing these changes, IR also listed the main suggestions for service improvements from the public consultation process and the reasons for such suggestions not being implemented – the main one being insufficient drivers.

One of the suggestions which I disagree with (and which IR swiftly and correctly passed over to the NTA) is that Newbridge should be brought within the Short Hop zone.

This is a ludicrous suggestion and would see a commuter in Castleknock (10km as the crow flies from Dublin City Centre) paying the same annual fare as someone in Newbridge (42km as the crow flies from Dublin City Centre).

Some would argue that the distance determinations should be based on actual rail mileage. I would argue against that as modern day commuters should not be punished for engineering and landlord appeasing decisions made over 150 years ago when railway lines were built.

If the NTA were to include Newbridge in the Short Hop Zone, they would similarly need to extend the zone to Drogheda, Wicklow Town and Enfield – not an appropriate definition of Short Hop.

A better use of NTA resources would be to move PSO bus routes in the rail short hop zone that are currently with Bus Eireann/Go Ahead Regional services to the Dublin Area contracts, extending such services into North and East Kildare, thereby standardising bus and rail services in one zone. I will declare an interest here, residing as I do in Kilcock and would therefore be a beneficiary of such a move.


Not possible

People wonder why I don’t like Irish Rail. Things like this are the reason.

I should be getting the 13:32 ex Kilcock to Maynooth to transfer to the 13:45 ex Maynooth to Confey, to undertake volunteer litter picking on the Royal Canal.

However, as is not uncommon for Irish Rail, the first train (from Sligo) is late and there is no guarantee of a connection at Maynooth. The second issue relates to the single track west of Maynooth. The real time departures section of the Irish Rail website is currently reporting an impossibility:

Irish Rail real time information
Irish Rail real time information

The first section is showing an arrival at Kilcock of a train to Sligo at 13:42. However, the second section is showing an arrival of the train I should be on at 13:45. Due to the single track section between Maynooth and Enfield, this is a physical impossibility and the IR website is publishing a lie.