In addition to megalithic sites and ancient traditions being a passion of mine since I was a young child, I have always had a love affair with the railways. Maybe this is partially connected to my herbal and shaman grandfather also being a railway man along with his brothers.
If I do not have passengers to carry to and from Dublin I love to take the train. In addition to getting to see different countryside and culture than on the road its also quite practical. First its great to have someone else drive. You can walk around for a stretch, have a sandwich, some tea, coffee or beverages and do some work on the table with the laptop, these days.
I would love to encourage more visitors on our tours to arrive by train than have us collect them at the airport. I think its adds another wonderful element to an Ireland visit, a side of Ireland than many travellers do not experience. Railway travel in Ireland is also quite inexpensive, under 30 euros return from Dublin to our local Boyle station.
Yesterday, a sample of new trains to be introduced to our railway line in August visited Sligo. I could not go to Sligo myself but those who visited returned wonderful reports.
In appearance they somewhat look like longer versions of the new Luas light rail trains/trams on Dublin. This is far removed from the delights of being in a carriage pulled by a locomotive.
Comforts are much better than the Luas, obviously, and much more than any trains on the Irish Rail network. Leg room is increased, catering is better, more table space for those wanting to work and each seat has a mains power connection for laptops, iPods, mobile DVD players etc.. Most first time travellers will probably be glued to looking out the window, especially as the railway follows the intrigue of the olde worlde Royal Canal and then the majestic nature wonder of the Shannon River.
With the vastly improved bus services from Dublin Airport to Connelly Rail Station to connect with the Sligo trains stopping at Boyle, I hope more of our tour visitors will now opt to take the train to meet us on our tour.
The new trains, running every two hours, now provides a wonderful 2 hour relaxed journey experience after a flight. This is a journey that is much more ambient than a congested road haul out of Dublin and its environs.