All of the services that you’ll find highlighted here are operated by Bus Éireann as part of their commercial Expressway network. However, there are other operators too and you’ll find a few of these included as and when I find them. Some of those companies may think that they can take over from the state-owned operator but little do they seem to realise that it might be harder than it looks. Sometimes, hopes never are meant. We have learnt that the hard way in the U.K.
2: Dublin Airport – Dublin – Arklow – Gorey – Enniscorthy – Wexford – Rosslare
Here’s an admission: I have been playing with the idea of crossing to Dublin from Holyhead and then returning home via a Rosslare-Pembrokeshire ferry instead. Train timings don’t make this work so well but this hourly service makes things a lot easier. Handily, it serves Dublin Airport too as well as places in Wicklow and other parts of Wexford county. All in all, it makes a daft notion workable should I ever choose to make it happen.
13: Limerick – Listowel – Tralee
This service shares part of its route with the Limerick – Killarney Expressway service (14, see below for more on this) between Limerick and Abbeyfeale making for a hourly service along the County Limerick portion of the N21. In County Kerry, the frequency becomes two hourly for much of the day and it extends later into the evening than I had expected too.
14: Limerick – Castleisland – Kerry Airport – Killarney
For the record, this service calls at all the major towns near the N21 in West Limerick and that makes it interesting to me for more than getting between Limerick city and the airport at Farranfore or Killarney. Service frequency is two-hourly and covers a good stretch of the day too. This looks a useful one for those planning a visit to what is a scenic part of the planet.
20 Dublin − Airport − Athlone − Galway
X20 Dublin − Airport − Athlone − Galway
There have been times in the past when I played with the idea of a short dash to Galway and Connemara that featured flying to Dublin Airport and then crossing Ireland by train or coach. For that mad scheme, this hourly service would have fitted the bill. The X20 stops in far fewer places that the 20 so you need to check the timetable carefully if you are planning to getting to some intermediate stopping point. Otherwise, its early morning to late evening coverage of the day is not insubstantial, especially when the full journey time is from three to three and a half hours (the X20 is not as much quicker than the 20 as one might expect).
40: Rosslare Harbour – Waterford – Cork – Tralee
For some reason, I managed to get it into my head that connection between Cork and Killarney were poor but the discovery of this route changes all of that. After all, the service frequency between Cork and Tralee is hourly most of the time so I am wondering quite how I managed not to find the service before now. The next to hourly extension to Rosslare is a revelation too though I have to admit that going to Ireland via Rosslare would make a massive round trip for me. Nevertheless, it’s an option that might need to be considered if arctic weather ever blights Dublin Airport again.
51: Cork- Limerick – Shannon Airport – Ennis – Galway
In my U.C.C. days, there were times during the summer when I made use of the southern section of this service to travel between Charleville and Cork. Then, the frequency was near to two hourly and there were occasions when two vehicles operated some departures from Parnell Place Bus Station in Cork. On one occasion, the second vehicle was an elderly interurban bus mainly used for services to West Cork and it felt a comedown from the more usual coaches. Something tells me that things have moved on a lot since then with the service frequency extended to hourly for most of the timetable. Interestingly, not much distinction is made between Sundays and Public Holidays either. Another change has been the making more of calls to Shannon Airport and my spending several frustrating hours there before Christmas 2010 is what’s caused me to look at what travel options are available from the airport. Unlike my tarnished impressions of Aer Lingus, this service doesn’t look at all shabby nowadays.
64 Galway − Ireland West Airport, Knock − Sligo − Derry
This is one of the more unusual Expressway services that Bus Éireann operates. It is both a cross-country and cross-border service that crosses the counties of Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal and Derry. The timetable may have its eccentricities but there are up to ten journeys each way a day even if not all of those go the full length of the route. Using one of those might be a way of passing through a part of Ireland that I scarcely have seen in the flesh at all.
X12 Dublin Airport − Dublin − Portlaoise − Nenagh − Limerick
This Expressway service may connect two of Ireland’s major cities but the timings are not nearly as regular as I’d have expected. In essence, there’s a two hourly service with the timetable largely having become a clock face one. It very much is a limited stop service nowadays with previous intermediate stops being left for others to serve.