I am delighted to include Paula Dornan's driving tour of Munster and Leinster and wish to thank her most sincerely for writing it. While I have titled the page "Leinster tour", she does spend some time in Munster as well.
Wicklow by DART
Paula Dornan’s tour of the south-east reminds me that there is still lots to see and do in Ireland, even in Dublin! They saw fantastic scenery and visited various attractions, including some unusual features. She also reminded me that Bray, Co. Wicklow, can make an unusual day out, not least because of the DART journey. The section of line between Pearse (Westland Row) station and Dun Laoghaire is the oldest in Ireland and runs alongside the Irish sea for much of its course. Dun Laoghaire is historical since it is still an international port, although not so much freight is carried nowadays. Continuing southwards towards Bray, the line passes through cuttings to get to Dalkey – this was also part of an historical line, being originally driven by atmospheric carriages! The stretch between Dalkey and Killiney is spectacular, hovering on the cliff edge with good views of the Irish Sea and Dalkey Island. This is an exclusive part of Dublin and many millionaires live in this area. After Killiney the line moves inland a little and following Shankhill, it finally reaches Bray.
The DART trains terminate at Greystones but this section was only electrified recently. I remember when the DART was opened in 1984 that we decided to take some young nephews and nieces for a day to Greystones. They were quite impressed by the electric trains (we thought they would love the push-button doors, a complete novelty in those days!). At Bray we transferred to a diesel-hauled train known locally as the shuttle. The rolling stock was quite antiquated and they had installed red plastic bucket seats. There was no air conditioning and the windows could be opened while the diesel engine noisily pulled the train up the gradient towards Greystones. I’ll never forget the excitement and the looks on their little faces as we entered each of the four tunnels! This section of the line is spectacular, perched halfway up the cliff face for much of the way. But the kiddies didn’t notice that so much – they were enthralled by the sound of the engine, combined by the sudden darkness of the tunnels.
You can try and impress children with high-tech attractions or features but sometimes it is the low-tech which wins!
Leinster tour index