gothwalk: (hunh?)
( Jul. 21st, 2005 12:11 pm)
I got a phone call from my father this morning, and after some back and forth, [ profile] inannajones and I will be headed to a wedding in Skeaghvosteen, Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny, on Saturday. We'll be off from early on Saturday, and we'll be at an airshow in Cashel on the Sunday, so we'll be offline for pretty much all of the weekend.
gothwalk: (Default)
( Mar. 15th, 2000 12:04 pm)
Here's something I wrote after we got back from Clifden, about trains. Yeah, label me geek.

Trains, and how they're better.

I really enjoy traveling in trains. Part of this, I'll freely admit, is a delayed childhood thing - I don't remember being in a train until I was about 11. At that point, one of the things I most liked about going to Dublin on my own or with my brothers was the train journey - especially the last part, along the DART line, where the train goes along the top of a cliff, and you can see sun on the water, or more likely, rain coming in in great sweeps off the Irish Sea.

I like trains more than any other form of transport for a number of reasons. The main one is comfort. Train seats are easier to sit on, more legroom, less in the way of cramp. If I want to stretch my legs, I can wander up and down the aisle. In cars and buses, this just isn't a possibility. I appreciate the tables as well, and the lack of swaying and bouncing you get on a bus. And standing in a train station gives me much more a feeling of going somewhere than bus stations, or getting into a car. And the English, whatever else they did, left us with a wonderful network of rails and stations.

The trouble here, though, is that in this country, I was born a hundred years too late to get the best of the trains. Soon after independence, the State did away with some of the best lines. The Harcourt Street line, in Dublin, which continued out through Wicklow, passing near places such as Tinahealy and Shillelagh. And the line from Galway to Clifden, without which you have to endure a one-and-a-half to two hour bus journey over some of the worst roads in the country.

I like the old feeling of some of the rail stations, especially in the country. Gorey and Enniscorthy have brickwork buildings, Killarney has wonderfully complex Victorian ironwork in the roof beams. Rathdrum, in Wicklow, might have been taken directly from an Agatha Christie novel, and I'm amused by the fact that the stop for the Curragh, in Kildare, consists of a sign and some steps down to the track.

However, it seems that there is less and less emphasis placed on trains as methods of transport. We build better roads, we introduce trams, lay on private buses, and remove old lines, building over them in many cases. It's a pity. I like trains.


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