Local Services: Éire

Bus service provision in Éire is changing with more private operator involvement. The time when it all was done by the state operator CIÉ is long gone and recent tendering of Dublin bus routes to Go Ahead is enough proof of that as has the expansion of private company operation of express coach routes around the country.

All this change may help with rural transport too for there is only so much that a unionised monolith can achieve, a fact that is clear when you see how its network thins out as you go further away from Dublin. Organisations like Local Link and Local Link Kerry are working to address these gaps on behalf of Transport for Ireland and it looks as if their efforts are bearing fruit with a mixture of scheduled and demand responsive services that serve places that have not seen regular bus services for years. The fact that Transport for Ireland has a journey planner on their website makes it easier to discover these extra services and those provided by other companies.

Even with the above developments, I will continue to build what you find here as and when I find something new to add. Since I am always open to suggestions, let me know if anything needs adding or correcting. In the meantime, my hope is that what you find here has a use.

16: Santry – Dublin – Ballinteer

Marley Park, the northern end of the Wicklow Way, is near the Ballinteer end of this route and that’s why it is getting a mention here. From there, it’s a short hop over the M50 into the Dublin Mountains for some walking and the chance to continue all of the way south along the Wicklow Way is an option too. In fact, using a bus is probably a better way to start out on the waymarked way because you’ll have no car to worry about along the way.

16 Timetable

44: Larkhill – Dublin – Enniskerry

This next to hourly service from Townsend Street in the heart of Dublin lands you out near Powerscourt, a heritage property nestling in some fine hill country. You can skip Powerscourt and head directly for the hills and the Wicklow Way if you want but there’s no need to bring your car with this travel option.

44 Timetable

65: Dublin – Blessington/Ballymore

Blessington finds itself right beside the Poulaphuca Reservoir (otherwise known as the Blessington Lakes) and beyond those lie the Wicklow Mountains. That makes the sixty minute journey using this bus service worthwhile and there’s so much to explore that you might never run out of places to savour.

65 Timetable

67: Maynooth – Celbridge – Dublin (Merrion Square)
67n: Dublin (Westmoreland Street) – Celbridge – Maynooth (Specified direction only)
67x: Celbridge (Salesian College) – UCD Belfield

There used to be a time when visits to Éire took me to Celbridge at times and these services came in very handy though they have changed a bit since those days. The 67 is the main daytime service and the frequency largely is half hourly with the 67n being a nighttime bus service taking folk out of Dublin. By accounts, the 67x is a university student service that operates at peak times only from Monday-Friday and not on bank holidays; UCD is one of Ireland’s biggest universities.

67 Timetable
67n (Nitelink) Timetable
67x (Xpresso) Timetable

145: Dublin – Bray – Kilmacanogue

The location of the Great Sugarloaf next to Kilmacanogue makes it a great hill to explore when you’ve only got a few hours to spare and its being at the end of a bus route with a decent frequency helps too. The whole bus journey from Mountjoy Square in the heart of Dublin city is scheduled to take 85 minutes so a ride on the DART might be an idea if you want to shorten travel time so long as the walk from Bray’s train station to its main street doesn’t take up too much of your time.

145 Timetable

226: Kinsale – Cork Airport – Cork Bus Station (Parnell Place) – Kent Station
226A: Cork Airport – Cork Bus Station (Parnell Place) – Kent Station

Both of these services are an amalgamation of the previous route 226 from Cork’s city to its airport and the 249 service from Cork to Kinsale. Even with the old state of affairs, there still were plenty of bus journeys serving Cork Airport and I remember seeing buses plying that route emblazoned with self-promoting liveries while I still lived in the city, just as I did with those buses heading off into West Cork.

Cork’s railway gets linked in now that the new 226 and the 226A are in place. Now, it is possible to get directly from anywhere on the Irish railway network to Cork Airport or to destinations on the way to Kinsale too. The latter makes a West Cork getaway using public transport a more realistic possibility, for those in Ireland as much as those from beyond its shores. It also works to the advantage of those living around Kinsale too though Garretstown has lost its occasional bus service in the process.

The new timetable has meant a more regular frequency. Kinsale is hourly on all days of the week and that’s something that puts a lot of British bus services to shame and I can think of a few. Much of the time, Cork Airport has a half hourly service too. What’s also great is that the period of service extends from early in the morning until late in the night and that comment applies as much to the Kinsale service as it does to the Cork Airport one.

226/226A Timetable

236: Cork – Dunmanway – Bantry – Glengarriff – Castletownbere
237: Cork – Clonakilty – Skibbereen – Schull – Goleen
239: Cork – Bandon – Courtmacsherry – Butlerstown

The main reason for bundling together these services is that they all serve Bandon before going on different routes beyond there. In fact, the 239 timetable is a summary one for the others. It is the scenery that is to be found that really makes these routes attractive though the service timings may not make day trips a possibility always. Some places are served at different times on different days of the week so these timetables need studying though there is a reasonable service level for much of that day across all of the week.

236 Timetable
237 Timetable
239 Timetable

343: Limerick – Shannon Airport – Ennis

While the 51 Cork-Galway timetable is a good one, I am adding this local service to complete the picture so that you have the full picture of what bus services are available and there seem to be plenty of possible journeys too. Hopefully, they’ll cut down on the need for car hire for getting about.

343 Timetable

350 Galway – Kinvara – Doolin – Cliffs of Moher – Ennis

This route was made from the combination of no less than three predecessors and runs each day of the week too. There also seems to be a year round core service with extra journeys during the peak tourist season. With the delights like the Cliffs of Moher and Lisdoonvarna in west Clare, that is perhaps not too surprising but it would be great if the locals in the places that are served enjoy some sort of service the whole year around too. The timetable may need some studying if you are use the service but it would not be the only route with that quality.

350 Timetable

360 Waterford – Tramore
360A Waterford – Waterford Institute of Technology – Tramore

When I saw the announcement of this new timetable on the Bus Éireann website, curiosity led me to check it out and the half hourly frequency for so much of the week amazed me; it is only Sunday mornings and early afternoons or later on weekday evenings that see an hourly service. The spread of the day that is cover starts early in the morning and extends late into the night. The 360A operates to and from WIT at peak times from Monday to Friday with the 360 operating at all other times.

360/360A Timetable

419/421: Galway – Clifden (- Westport)

If there is one criticism that can be levelled at Bus Éireann, it’s that they seemed to overdesign their timetables. Something more standardised might be in order rather than what is on offer. You do get to wondering if easier to understand timetables would attract greater ridership because the equivalent Irish Citylink offering (see below) is more likely to see my patronage.

419/421 Timetable

490 Donegal – Killybegs – Glencoulmbkille
492 Donegal – Killybegs – Glenties – Dungloe

Both of these services head into the Donegal Gaeltacht from Donegal town so I have bundled them together here. Though Bus Éireann is the main licence holder for these routes, local firm McGeehan’s Coaches work with them to operate many of the journeys. Very oddly, there seem to more journeys to the likes of Glencolumbkille and Dungloe than there is from them so it looks as if things are set up to meet Expressway services between Donegal and Dublin rather that serving the local area; that may explain the number of evening services starting from Donegal in the evening too. That may explain how timings are not set up for an out and back day trip from Donegal town though the opposite is possible. In a way, that’s a pity because there is plenty of alluring coastal scenery around here with Slieve League being beside the route of the 490 and Dungloe being at the head of a bay with islands at its foot. However, staying longer than a mere day might be warranted anyway with what’s on offer.

490 Timetable
492 Timetable

747: Heuston Railway Station – O’ Connell Street – Busáras (Central Bus Station) – Dublin Airport

When I used to fly to Dublin on trips to Éire, this was a route that I often used though it has changed a little since I was a regular user of the service. Previously, the 747 (it can’t be an accident that it is reminiscent of a certain jet airliner…) terminated at the Dublin’s Central Bus Station, Busáras, and it was the 748 that served Heuston station. That no longer appears to be the case with the 747 being extended and the 748 getting dropped. With the state of the Irish economy and its government’s finances, I suppose that it was inevitable that changes would be made by a state-owned company like Dublin Bus.

747 Timetable

923: Galway – Clifden – Cleggan – Letterfrack

All bus routes in Ireland are supposed to be numbered but there in no sign of one for this one. That does nothing to take from that fact that the timings are useful and there are those valuable extensions to Letterfrack and/or Cleggan too. The Irish Citylink service not only offers a useful way to reach Connemara with connections to Inishbofin possible too. Then, there’s the matter of the timetable being more standardised than its Bus Éireann counterpart.

923 Timetable