One of the first things you notice about a journey on Irish Rail (Iarnród Éireann) is the space available. Trains operating in Ireland are a wider gauge than those in Great Britain, therefore, carriages feel a lot more open.
On a recent journey from Dublin across to west Clare, I was impressed by the carriage layout on the ICR trains used for most InterCity routes. These trains have large standard seats aligned to the windows, with ample space above and below for luggage storage. Bikes are also accommodated in the sizeable storage rack.
Taking the Luas tram to Heuston station in Dublin, the direct journey was peaceful and calm across to Limerick Colbert station – it is possible to take a more regular service towards Cork and change at Limerick Junction station but this involves a rather bleak wait on this windswept platform.
From Limerick Colbert, there is a connecting service up the recently extended Western Rail Corridor, travelling up through County Clare towards Galway. If you are lucky, it will use a modern ICR train, however, this route is often served by older, less comfortable commuter trains.
If you are in Ireland, crossing the country by rail will certainly give you a feel for how the landscape changes and remind you how calm a rail journey can be.
Author: Liam Henderson