ONE IN TWELVE – Killarney by Doubledecker

To celebrate the 12th anniversary of the founding of the site, every day during November I’ll be bringing you one of my favourite photos from the past 12 years.

Today’s photo is from 1998, looking at a short-lived double-deck operation in Co. Kerry.

The Killarney Tour was operating with this double-decker in 1998

The Killarney Tour was operating with this double-decker 78-KY-601 in 1998

Although the site originally focussed mainly on Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann vehicles, independents were included as and when I came across them. At the time the site started, and up until June 2000, I was living in the UK, so the opportunity for pictures outside Dublin was limited.

Visiting Kerry over the Easter weekend in 1998, I was surprised to come across this independently operated sightseeing tour in Killarney using what looks like an ex West Midlands Fleetline (possibly Roe bodied, though if it is ex-WM it would be more likely to be MCW).

The Killarney Tour operated a couple of trips a day, taking in the town and environs, as well as Muckross and the Gap of Dunloe – a stunning journey in a double-decker, and I was sorry that I didn’t have the time to take a trip on it while I was there.

By the next time I came to Kerry in 1999, the operation had vanished, and I haven’t seen it since.

I wonder what became of the bus – there can’t be that many Kerry-registered double-deckers around?

Kerry Coaches adds to young fleet

Killarney based Kerry Coaches continues fleet renewal and builds golfing brand.

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(click on any picture for fullsize version)

The last 10 years has seen a significant change in the Irish coaching industry from using mainly midlife imports from the UK to a situation now where operators large and small now buy new most of the time.

More recently, there has been a considerable movement up the scale in quality terms to the more highly specified end of the market, with the corporate coaching market growing rapidly.

Killarney based Kerry Coaches are a good example of the new face of the industry, having worked hard to build up a good fleet of luxury coaches with a low age profile, usually adding between 4 and 7 new vehicles to the fleet each year. The operator is based in a modern depot on the outskirts of the town, and leverages the depot for extra income by providing overnight parking, refuelling and servicing facilities for the many coaches from operators around Europe who pass through Killarney in the tourist season.

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The company caters for inbound tourism and hires with its own fleet, and also the corporate sector, and has been particularly successful in the golf tour market, where it has developed its “Jerry Quinlans Celtic Golf ” brand. Coaches used for this are highly specified, with full aircon, catering, entertainment systems, leather seats etc. Seen above is 08-KY-555, one of a couple of new VanHools bought for the golf tours this year.

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In 2007 Kerry added significantly to their main fleet with a mix of Setras and Vanhools – three of the 07 Setras are seen above.

Like most of the operatorsw at the quality end of the spectrum, Kerry Coaches have enjoyed the boom years, but are confident that they can continue to do well despite uncertain times ahead by investing in their people, vehicles and delivering a quality product to the customer.

Long may they continue.