The Irish Rover
When my father was still with us he and I used to go to Ireland every May for the RPSI International Railtour. We were gradually bashing off all the Irish lines behind steam, which with the exceptions of Howth and Docklands I have now managed to do and all of Northern Ireland as well. The 1993 Irish Rover was undertaken to complete the track bash of the Irish Republic taking into account where we had previously been.
I was working my way through the timetable when Dad phoned to announce he had found a suitable guest house in Limerick and booked it! Back to square one!
We arrived in Dublin on 4 May 1993 and made our way to Heuston to purchase 7 day rover tickets. An easy first day on the 14:55 Heuston to Limerick Junction hauled by 086 followed by 184 on the 16:38 shuttle from Limerick Junction to Limerick (City as some call it).
5 May 1993 saw us heading for Tralee to see if the Tralee and Dingle was in operation. Starting on the 09:35 shuttle from Limerick to Limerick Junction hauled by 177 we then had 072 on the 11:01 from Limerick Junction to Tralee. A walk across town brought us to Tralee Ballyard station where the T&D was running! T&D no 5 took us out to Blennerville on the 15:00 and safely returned us to Tralee Ballyard on the 15:35 from Blennerville. Back across town to the IR station and 182 on the 17:35 to Mallow followed by 083 on the 19:20 Mallow to Limerick Junction and 087 at the head of the 20:18 Limerick Junction to Limerick.
The 6 May 1993 saw us again on the 09:35 to Limerick Junction hauled again by 177 and the 11:01 to Mallow this time hauled by 082. We changed at Mallow for the 11:50 local to Cork with 188 doing the honours and then the 13:00 Cork to Cobh and the 13:45 return with 141 each way. 073 was at the head of the 14:45 to Dublin Heuston and we checked into our hotel and had dinner before sampling the DART. 8130 was the leading unit of the 20:34 Tara Street to Dun Laoghaire from which we had a stroll along the prom back to Salthill and Monkstown from where 8116 took us back to Connolly.
7 May 1993 saw us going north from Connolly to phot the semaphore signals on the GN line before conversion to colour lights. DART 8131 was on the 11:06 from Tara Street to Howth Junction and then 127 hauled us on to Donabate on the 11:39 from Howth Junction. We returned on the 12:10 from Donabate to Connolly hauled by 164 from where we were double headed by 123 and 133 on the 13:20 to Sligo. Only a short stop there and the same locos returned us to Dublin Connolly on the 17:40 ex Sligo.
8, 9 and 10 May 1993 were occupied with the Sean Ri Railtour (q.v.) and on the 11th we had a quick trip from Connolly out to Howth Junction to phot the steam loco returning north. The 09:39 from Tara Street with 8104 returning on the 10:57 with 124 on the front.
So Dad and I had now covered all the passenger track both north and south of the Irish border, plus a few freight only lines as well – Foynes, Navan, Lavistown curve, Ennis – Athenry and Athlone – Mullingar, together with Lisburn – Antrim and, although not a freight line a line with no regular services, Whitehead Excursion platform at the RPSI depot in the north
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