By 6:30 am, we were at the Hueston train station opened in 1844 headquartering the Great Southern & Western Railway. Checking in for our IrishRail tour Ron received a senior discount of 30%, so he had to go to a special window to get his ticket. Mine was included in our packet. We had fifteen minutes to get coffee before boarding, but once we had it in our hand, the rep from the tour office came running over to say we needed to board immediately.
The trains are modern and well appointed. Most seating is a four seat plan with two-two facing seats and a table in between. IrishRail had the entire last two cars reserved for them, so it was open seating. Two cars was overkill; the entire group could barely fill one coach, yet different tours were all traveling together, but getting off at different points. Our destination, Cork was a 2 hour fifty minute ride, the end of the line for this train.
Travel sights include grass green pastures, forest green trees, lime green flowers, emeraldIreland. Bordering the town on the right are the Slieve Bloom Mountains. Other towns we zipped through were Templemore and past Loughmoe Castle last occupied in 1760. Thurles is the next stop followed by Limerick Junction, but the latter is only five lines long and good for a laugh since it is close to Tipperary and not to Limerick. green sheep. What? That’s not right, but anyway, what you will see is every shade of green you can think of. We passed through Monasterevan where the claim to fame is a convergence. This is where the Barrow River, the Grand Canal, the main road to the south, and the railway all come together. Portlaoise, the first stop, is the home to the only maximum security prison in
As we approached Cork, we followed the Martin River with the foothills of the Boggeragh Mountains finally going through Ireland’s longest railway tunnel, a short 1.2 km long. In Cork we were hurriedly boarded onto a bus; this was a blessing, because the rain was torrential. As the Irish like to say, all of this rain is what makes the country green, but my response was if I watered my plants this much all I would get is root rot. We kind of blazed through Cork in one direction and returned via a different one. What the guide shared was rather depressing. The entire country has been victimized by gang wars when gangs never existed before, crime has sky-rocketed, and businesses are having to pay protection money. Again, he reiterated that Ireland went from one of the richest countries in Europe to one of the poorest.