MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: Destination: Refreshment (Dublin 1979)

AllAboutBuses invites you to banish the Monday morning back-to-work blues with a spot of time travel . .

This week we jump back in time to 1979 in Dublin.

D826

Heineken had a very eye-catching and cleverly designed advertising campaign running on CIE buses at the end of the 1970s – wrapped around the destination display of double-deckers with the strapline “Destination: Refreshment”

The bus displaying it here is D826, one of the final batch of VanHool MacArdle bodied Leyland Atlantean AN68s delivered to CIE in 1977/78, following a gap in production as the Spa Road plant built double-deckers for South Yorkshire and A1 Motor Services.

These last Dublin-built buses differed from the earlier VanHools in having a revised lower frontal section made of fibreglass, and also originally sported the more modern square VanHool badge. Over the years they gradually lost these features, and ended up identical to the bulk of the VanHool fleet, which had been delivered between 1974 and 1976.

D826 is seen here heading inbound on the south quays (in the days before the traffic flow was reversed) and with a hopelessly mis-set destination display, the top blind being halfway between the outbound route 25 and 37 displays, and the lower displaying “via City Centre” which would be more commonly used on cross city routes – “via Chapelizod” would have been more appropriate for the 25.

 

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Southwest photos

Coaches & Buses in West Cork and Kerry in July 2008, including Bus Eireann, private operators, rural transport scheme and island operations. All photos by Gabriel Conway

VC116 parked in scenic surroundings on the Beara peninsula

VC116 parked in scenic surroundings on the Beara peninsula

The Beara peninsula is one of the lesser-known treasures of Ireland, just as pretty but far less spoilt than the nearby Ring of Kerry. The Cork/Kerry border runs along the middle of the peninsula, with the western end being wholly in West Cork.

For such a remote area, it is well served by public transport, with Bus Eireann services on both sides of the peninsula, a long established private operator on the Cork side, and a well-developed network of rural transport services that reach right to the end, and even out to the largest island off Castletownbere.

The photo above, taken on the southern side, on the road from Glengarriff to Castletownbere, shows Bus Eireann VC116 parked around 4-5km west of Glengarriff. There is often a schoolbus parked at this location, though I suspect that VC116 has been working a regular service.

In the background can be seen Bantry Bay and the Sheeps Head.

VC116 a few miles south of Glengarriff

VC116 a few miles south of Glengarriff

A closer view of VC116 – the VCs are the mainstay of many services in the area, though they are being slowly cascaded to schools work now.

New SC235 departs Killarney Bus Station on the 270 to Kenmare

New SC235 departs Killarney Bus Station on the 270 to Kenmare

Over the many years that I have visited Kenmare, I have seen generations of buses come and go on the Kenmare/Killarney service (these days numbered 270).

In the mid 70s Leyland Leopard E14 was the main bus, with E69 sometimes doing duty as a backup. In the late 70s and early 80s, C27 was the only bus on this service for a long time, until replaced by new KR97 in 1985. This was to be the last new bus that the route received for many a year, as a succession of midlife coaches followed when the KR was eventually relegated to schools. There was a PL for a while in the late 90s, and then VC60 became a regular, up until about a year ago, following which a variety of VCs have been used, with VC109 appearing often.

SC235 is the first brand new vehicle I’ve seen on the route since 1985, and is seen here departing from Killarney Bus Station for Kenmare (irish: Nedin) on an early morning journey.

VC86 waits at Killarney

VC86 waits at Killarney

Also at Killarney, VC86 waits to take up duty on the 040 express service linking Tralee and Killarney with Cork and Waterford.

Spot the door - SP104 parked at Killarney

Spot the door - SP104 parked at Killarney

Also fairly new, SP104 is seen here at the part of Killarney Bus Station closest to the Outlet Centre. These coaches are very sleek looking, and have the most flush fitting doors of any I have seen.

SP108 in the coach parking area near Killarney Station

SP108 in the coach parking area near Killarney Station

Sister vehicle SP108 seen in the coach parking area near the bus station.

Bernard Kavanagh's 06-KK-2534 in Brendan Tours livery

Bernard Kavanagh's 06-KK-2534 in Brendan Tours livery

A variety of independent operators coaches can be seen at Killarney throughout the year, and there is almost always several varieties of Kavanaghs on display!

Galvins VanHool 05-C-7085 heads into Killarney town centre

Galvins VanHool 05-C-7085 heads into Killarney town centre

Galvins of Dunmanway are often seen around Killarney on tour work.

VC28 at The Square in Castletownbere, about to work to Kenmare

VC28 at The Square in Castletownbere, about to work to Kenmare

Back to the Beara peninsula, and VC28 is seen at The Square in Castletownbere, ready for the 1100 departure to Kenmare on route 282. This is a magnificant trip, which involves crossing the mountains to the nothern side of the peninsula and into Co. Kerry, with some spectacular scenery and narrow roads. In the summer, two round trips a day are operated Monday to Saturday, while in winter months a shorter version runs once a week from Ardgroom to Kenmare.

VC28 arrives at Kenmare where VC109 is about to head for Killarney

VC28 arrives at Kenmare where VC109 is about to head for Killarney

An hour an a half later, VC28 has arrived in Kenmare and dropped off its passengers, some of whom will continue on to Killarney on VC109 on the 270.

The buses are seen at the top of the main street in Kenmare, where a dedicated Bus Eireann stop is in place. CIE and Bus Eireann buses have used the main street as a stopping point for almost 50 years, however a local politician has launched a campaign to have the bus stop moved to a different part of town, in order to make 5 further car parking spaces available in the main street.  This despite the fact that the new location would involve considerable disruption for the bus services, forcing them to navigate the one-way system twice for some departures, and would be less convienient for the passengers.

VC109 at the disputed stop in Main Street, Kenmare

VC109 at the disputed stop in Main Street, Kenmare

During the summer, two buses are needed for the 270, so VC109 is working the service as well as SC235 – it will be interesting to see which one is retained for the one-bus winter timetable!

The early afternoon departure that the VC is about to work takes connecting passengers from both the 282 Castletownbere service, and the West Cork 252 route, formerly the 044 expressway.

VP331 arrives at Kenmare on the West Cork 252 service

VP331 arrives at Kenmare on the West Cork 252 service

Since the late 1970s there has been a summer-only service from Cork through Bantry and Glengarriff to Kenmare, until this year always running on to Killarney.

Originally an Expressway service, recently numbered 044, it has this year been downgraded to a stage service, numbered 252, and does not run beyond Kenmare.

When started in the 70s, the route used to take the scenic Molls Gap road to Killarney, though in recent years it has used the quicker Kilgarvan routing. It remains one of the few services in Ireland to operate through a hand-carved mountain tunnell, between Glengarriff and Kenmare.

Buckleys 06-KY-3289 at Kenmare

Buckleys 06-KY-3289 at Kenmare

Buckleys is an operation connected with Kerry Coaches of Killarney. One of their luxury minicoaches is seen here at the triangle in Kenmare.

78-KY-676 a well-preserved Leyland conversion

78-KY-676 a well-preserved Leyland conversion

Here is an interesting and very well-preserved import to these shores. Possibly a former postbus from the UK, this Leyland vehicle now seems to be used as a private camper van, and was in Kenmare for the fleadh weekend at the end of july.

SP18 overnights at Kenmare

SP18 overnights at Kenmare

SP18 seems to be a regular overnight visitor to Kenmare, on CIE touring work.

A pair of minibuses belonging to O'Donoghues of Castletownbere

A pair of minibuses belonging to O'Donoghues of Castletownbere

Back to Castletownbere, and here we see the very long established private operator O’Donoghues, who operate bus services from Castletownbere to Bantry and Cork. Their base is right in the centre of the town, at the main square.

The ferry to Bere Island

The ferry to Bere Island

A few miles off Castletownbere in Bantry Bay lies Bere Island, which is connected to the mainland by two car-ferry services, one of which leaves from the centre of town.

The ferries are very small, and have room for just six cars. The trip out to the island is well worth the time, although reversing down the slipway and up the ramp onto the ferry can be nerve-wracking, particularly when it is at an angle as seen here!

There Bere Island ferry can carry 6 cars - or 1 truck!

There Bere Island ferry can carry 6 cars - or 1 truck!

Trucks are also carried to and from the island, though only one at a time. And buses too, as I was to find out when I arrived out on Bere Island . .

Rural Transport Scheme bus at Bere Island harbour.

Rural Transport Scheme bus at Bere Island harbour.

A Ford Transit minibus of the Bantry Rural Transport scheme is seen at the harbour on Bere Island. Because of the way it was parked against a wall, the only possible front shot was this one, from the ferry slipway with zoom lens!

Bantry Rural Transport provide services on and from the island.

Bantry Rural Transport provide services on and from the island.

The minibus provides transport both on and off the island, with regular services being operated to and from Castletownbere via the ferry, and a twice-weekly evening service to Bantry. This is just one of a network of buses operated by West Cork Rural Transport, with government funding, covering the areas of the Beara and Sheeps Head peninsulas that Bus Eireann do not reach.

Bere Island itself is delightful, with few cars, quiet roads, and a huge amount to see. The size of Manhatten island, it is somewhat less densely populated, though you will find two pubs, a great coffee shop and a resturant as well as other facilities alongside the quiet hill walks and miles of empty laneways.

Pics around the N18 / Shannon

An evening ramble out the N18/19 from Limerick to Shannon Airport.

I’ve been based in Limerick for the past few days, attending a work-related training course.

Surprisingly I have seen nothing of the Bus Eireann city fleet, despite the fact that I have to cross the city from Ennis Road to Raheen every morning – the particular route I taken has no local service, even though the N69 out of the city passes through many industrial areas.

So, bored in the hotel this evening, I decided to take a spin out the Ennis Road in the Shannon direction, to see what I could see.

An Ayats / DAF touring coach at Twomilebridge, parked in a roadside hotel.

Shannon Airport was empty at just after 7pm, and the sun was in any case very badly positioned for the main bus stops, so I didn’t wait around. I did however manage to snap this car=park shuttle bus, operated by a local independent under contract to the Airport Authority.

Another Solo – these are becoming quite popular in Ireland these days!

On my way back in, I called in to Bunratty, where the Castle & Folk Park are a big draw for coach parties.

In the car-park, a UK-based Setra on Globus tours sits beside Bus Eireann’s new SP119 which is in CIE Tours livery.

Rear/Side view of SP119, showing the new livery on this years CIE Tours deliveries.

Also at Bunratty was this Vanhool T915, operated by Cronins of Cork.

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.