Commuter hell: ‘My daily commute is affecting my mental health’
Commuter-belt living is fruitful for some, but the majority are dismayed by transport links
'I used to live (rent) in Bray, and could take the Dart from there to what was my workplace, on Merrion Road.' Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
We asked our readers to share their commuting stories after the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland warned homebuyers were being forced to live further and further away from their place of work because of price pressures in the Dublin property market.
In response to our call-out we heard many tales of commuting woes, but also some stories of domestic bliss from those living outside of Dublin.
In its housing market monitor, the banking lobby group highlighted a significant increase in house sales in Dublin’s commuter belt counties – Louth, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow. It said this was because prospective buyers were being priced out of the Dublin market.
Here is an edited selection of our readers’ personal stories:
We moved out to Sallins, Co Kildare early in the year as we could no longer stay in our cramped one-bedroom apartment without working heating. Rents were so high when we looked for a two-bedroom in Dublin that we decided to make the move out to Sallins.
It looked like a good move on paper, with the train line going to Heuston and Connolly, but the transport links are incredibly poor and have left us feeling stranded. Monday to Friday the trains are packed to the point that it is not only impossible to get a seat for the entire journey, but often impossible to even hold on to anything.
The trains on these routes are not made for commuting, there are no handles for standing passengers to hold on to and the windows don’t open, leaving people stumbling and stifled. Trains on Sunday are every two to three hours starting at 11:30am, with the last train back from Dublin at 7:30pm, meaning we can’t go to family occasions in Dublin on Sunday evenings.
There are bus routes to and from Naas. However, the most frequent bus does not pick up or drop off in Sallins except on Sundays and bank holidays and the other service doesn’t take Leap Card and frequently doesn’t show up at all. We have problems with other logistics also.
Pharmacies and doctors are closed before we get back in the evenings, often leaving us stuck if our toddler gets sick unexpectedly. There are no doctors in Sallins willing to take on children under six as they are oversubscribed. We cannot avail of childcare in the area because the creches don’t open early enough, or close late enough, for us to drop off or pick up our daughter, meaning we’re taking her on to the packed, airless train to Dublin with us every day.
We had envisioned a fresh start outside of Dublin and Sallins is a picturesque village so we were hopeful about the move, but spending 20 hours a week commuting on a transport service that is not fit for purpose has us regretting our choice. – Laura Guilfoyle, Co Kildare
Nearly four years ago my wife and I moved into a granny flat in my parents’ house in Co Meath for what we thought would be six months. Since then our second child was born and the space feels smaller and smaller. We are saving for a mortgage and are getting closer. We really hope we can get something closer to town. Our dream is to reclaim some time so we can start living our lives again.
We are luckier than many, but I lose nearly four hours a day to commuting. Nearly 20 hours a week. The Bus Éireann service is okay, but underfunded. Often buses don’t show up because none are available. The drivers are decent and usually apologetic. They, like us, are caught in a bad system. The real killer is all the time spent sitting in traffic. Bus lanes are few and far between on the route in and they tend to stop and start. It is time public transport was prioritised over cars. Bad housing policy and bad transport policy are the bane of commuters’ lives. Sustainable social and environmental policy would deliver decent and affordable public transport and housing. Instead, profit driven development places burden after burden on working families. – Shane Faherty, Co Meath
I commute from Navan, Co Meath, to Booterstown, Dublin, every day by car or bus; we have no train line. A usual day is to get up at 5.45am for a shower and if driving I am now leaving at 6.15am to try and get to work for about 7.30am. Due to additional traffic I now have a 10-15 minute delay at Kilmoon Cross on the N2.
This is due to the installation of traffic lights for Tayto Park several years ago. By the time I get to Finglas traffic is at a snail’s pace. I used to go down Gardiner Street but due to installation of a cycle lane on Butt Bridge there can be another 10-minute delay.
Many mornings I head down East Wall road and cross to the south side via the toll bridge. Twelve months ago my commute would have been 75 minutes. Now it is usually 90 minutes and can be longer on a bad wet morning. If I left at 6.30am it could take two hours plus! Returning home I usually stay in the office till at least 6.30pm and travel home via the M50, a one-way journey of 75km.
Some days I go via east link, port tunnel and M3. This involves three tolls costing €6 each way! How a train to Navan would ease congestion and reduce our stress levels! – Martin Casey, Co Meath
I live in Dalkey and commute to Dublin 1 for work. The quickest way in is cycling 30-40 minutes door-to-door, depending on conditions. It’s a nice cycle with beautiful views. I get the train when the weather is a bit dodgy, it takes about an hour door-to-door, only about 35 minutes on the actual train. I drive in very rarely as traffic makes it the slowest option, so I only do that when a need to go somewhere in the car arises immediately after work.
Everything has got busier since the recession. There’s more bikes, way more cars on the road and it’s standing room only on the train from Dalkey at rush hour even though it’s only the fourth stop. I’m lucky to have a job where I can stagger my start/finish time to miss the peak rush hour jams, dealing with that is like a pure rat race.
Cycling in after 9am is ideal. Nice to work in an office with great shower facilities and a towel service too, those two things make cycling very practical. –Robbie Payne, Co Dublin
It seems like destiny that you should request commuter stories after my debacle last night trying to get home to Maynooth, Co Kildare. I left work in the north city centre at 16:20 but did not get home until around 18:30. I spent almost 50 minutes standing on Wellington Quay waiting for a single bus to stop and pick up passengers.
No less than seven buses were full to bursting point while passing the stop on Wellington Quay, including an express bus that originated at Westmoreland Street, with my stop meant to be its second route stop. Having struggled with a Dublin commute since the summer of 2017, I have reached the point where my daily commute is now affecting my mental health, being on the verge of tears most evenings standing in the cold watching my lift home pass me by.
I have sent numerous comment forms and emails to Dublin Bus regarding the level of service to the commuter belt areas, but have seen no improvement or even a hint of any intention to address the issues affecting so many people. – Bernie Byrne, Co Kildare
The Government wants us to use public transport. If you live in Midleton and had to be in Dublin for a meeting at 9am you would have to get the 6.15am train from Cork city which seems okay. But to get to the train station in Cork using public transport the first bus leaves Midleton at 7.24am so you can’t use that.
The first train leaves Midleton at 6.15am so you can’t use that. So to use public transport only you need to leave Midleton the night before and stay overnight in Cork city. This kind of a stupid transport system in this day and age is ridiculous. Public transport in other countries runs 24 hours so that it can actually be used by those who need it. – Keith McCarthy, Co Cork
I have the misfortune of having to use Bus Éireann to commute from Drogheda, Co Louth, to Leeson Street, Dublin. I have a plethora of stories I could share about my commuting hell . . . I am more than frustrated . . . but understandably. It has provided me with some hum-dingers of stories on occasion though, I’ve had many a laugh from years commuting.
That being said, if I could work closer to home, I would gladly say goodbye to the smelly red and white capsule in which I spend far too much of my life. – Jenny, Co Louth
Living in Killester, Clontarf or Raheny for the past 14 years (and finally settling in the latter), I have used the Dart and happily continue to do so – frequenting Connolly, Tara and Pearse to and from work. Being a culchie (my partner is an honorary culchie), I don’t like apartments and like a garden which to some degree I have always had.
On the north side, no matter where I lived or in the city centre, no matter where I worked, from door-to-door, it always seems to take just over one hour including 20 minutes on the Dart. I have never seen commuting as wasted or dead time as I enjoy walking to and from stations to stay fit and as I absolutely love reading, the time on the train allows me to indulge. As a bonus, my current company pays for travel. While some may find commuting boring, when not reading, I enjoy observing people’s behaviour and reactions (including my own) to interesting situations.
Every so often, something unexpected will happen: be it the novelty of seeing a commuter ferry a tiny pooch in a rucksack or duffle bag; camaraderie and humour found in a shared circumstance such as suffering a loud phone calling fellow commuter; looking on as people scrum into an already jammed train despite the driver announcing that there is a train two minutes behind; hearing people rant to themselves about bankers with golden parachutes . . . observe the compassion and professionalism with which Irish Rail employees have dealt with very trying anti-social situations.
Thanks to having to commute an hour each way, I get to stay healthier, read daily and (mostly) see the best in people which, after a tough day at work, can help renew my faith in humanity. I also get some time to myself to think and even meditate. Living too far from work, and I’d probably have to drive, miss much of the above and probably gain a different, albeit more lonesome, experience. Living too close and I’d probably miss it all including the garden! – Jason Dolan, Dublin
Recently moved to working in city centre and commuting by bus instead of by car which I have done since 2004. I find the headspace and the extra walking I’ve been doing having a really positive affect on me and my work attitude.
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My aggressive driving style and volumes of traffic on the M50 were really affecting my happiness unnecessarily. I am really supportive now of public transport improvements for all areas and feel this should be a key priority ahead of any other road projects in Dublin city and give people no other option than to leave the car at home or at the perimeter of the city/park & ride – Alex McDwyer
I live in Dublin 15 and work in Trinity College. We are spoiled for choice in my neck of the woods as we have a bus route and the Maynooth train line nearby. However I have chosen to get on my bike, and for the last 15 years have been happily flying in and out of work every day without delay, stress or injury. The 11km route takes me about 30-40 minutes, depending on wind and weather, but not on traffic as I gently pass those lost souls stranded in their vehicles. On the few occasions when I do drive, it takes about one hour 20 minutes for the same journey.
I sit there trying to empathise with other motorists, wondering how bad it has to get for them to leave the cars behind. Even when I take public transport, I can’t help observing the awkward coping strategies commuters have developed to survive their journey in the company of their fellow travellers. In any case, I feel cheated if I can’t ride my bike.
I get to work wide awake, unstressed and generally happy, and I’ve probably saved a fortune. There is one less car on the road, less CO2 in the air and less junk in the trunk too. Better cycle lanes would probably help entice more people out on their bikes. But even so it is so much faster and better than any alternative I can’t understand why more people aren’t cycling every day. – Chris Murray, Dublin
I am a civil servant living living outside Dublin but working in Dublin city centre. I have two young children, my wife works full time (civil servant too) and had to move down here years ago due to failed “decentralisation”.
Both of us in financial mess from properties in Dublin that are still in massive negative equity. One is in the process of being handed back to the bank with massive unsustainable debt (and possible bankruptcy), the other mortgage has been taken over. Both of us have good jobs with good pay but we don’t have a penny due to our costs and my travelling to Dublin. We break up the trip by staying in Dublin at times but that causes difficulty for my wife with home pressures being left to her. – Civil servant
I worked in the service industry in Dublin. I had lived close to the city centre in college (worked full time to afford it), but the apartment I had been living in was “renovated” and the rent pushed up to unaffordable level.
I don’t drive and am an avid cyclist. Always thought it seemed costly and unnecessary and like most of my friends living in or near the city I had little interest [in driving]. I had to move back in with my mother in a village outside Naas, Co Kildare, called Caragh, after I couldn’t find an affordable place. My nightly routine was (in all weather) a cycle (usually between 12:30am and 3:30am) from the city centre to the Red Cow. Then wait for the airport link (went every hour but could often be late). I would ride this with my bike underneath in the hatch for 30-plus minutes to Naas.
After getting off I would have another 8km cycle to my home. The combination of vigorous physical exercise and waiting in the cold would often make me fall ill, despite trying to have the correct equipment. During the day I could take the train or bus directly into the city centre (although the average time it takes the 126 from Naas to the city centre during the day is close to two hours and Bus Éireann has also begun to add a €10 charge for putting your bicycle in the hatch on a bus where no one takes luggage).
After 11pm there are very few transport options out of the city centre to major satellite towns, which makes it difficult for people in the large service sector (or any late working jobs for that matter) to commute or survive. I had to work in the city centre because it was the only place that could provide the wine training I have now completed.
I am a US citizen so first chance I got I emigrated and now live in Brooklyn relatively cheaply in respect to my wages (I work as a wine buyer). Most of my social life was in Dublin and I want to eventually raise a family in Ireland but I don’t think its tenable to move back for at least 10 years. – Fergus McArdle, New York, US
Three or four times a week I make the trip from Co Laois to the far side of Dublin city centre, down by the Docklands. I get a train from Portarlington station at 7.13am (a two-minute drive from my home or a 12-minute walk away). I get a seat each morning, as does everyone who gets on the train so far from Dublin. I arrive in Heuston for 8am where I use my €25 per annum Dublin Bikes card to get a rental bike from one of the five depots at Heuston to cycle across the city to the source of the Grand Canal.
It takes 15 minutes on the bike (12 minutes if I cycle as fast as possible, 15 minutes taking my time). I walk into work at 8.20am having left the house at 7.10am potentially. Returning home, I leave the office at 5pm, then cycle down the quays to catch the 5.25pm Limerick train, which stops once in Kildare on the way to Portarlington, arriving at the station (a few minutes delayed generally) for 6.05pm. Daily, I’ll cover 70km quicker than my colleagues travelling 7km to Castleknock, be it by bus or car.
A house price in Portarlington is less than €200,000 for a three-bed semi-detached and is probably €25,000 cheaper than an equivalent home in Monasterevin, which despite being closer to Dublin and Heuston has a longer average train journey (and less frequent) than trains from Portarlington.
I enjoy my commute. I’ve got a decent data plan on my phone to watch video content or listen to podcasts. I’ve a coffee drip on a timer, so I leave the house for the station with a fresh thermos of coffee to enjoy on my way and I can take out my laptop and get some work done in advance of reaching the office. The commute works out at under €200 per month with the tax saver ticket and aside from having to stand for half of the journey on the way home half of the time from lack of seating, I really wouldn’t change it other than asking for increased carriages in the morning as soon as they’re available. – Ciarán Fallon, Co Laois
There are seven apartment blocks and housing estates beside Portmarnock train station. In the past two years 350 new builds were added and there are several hundred houses and apartments either approved for planning or already under construction.
There are hundreds of people packed on to the platform every morning and evening. Commuters were dismayed last year when Irish Rail took the decision to remove all diesel commuter trains from servicing Portmarnock. This coincided with the introduction of the “10-minute Dart” timetable change which benefited almost every station except Clongriffin and Portmarnock – arguably two stations with an ever increasing catchment of commuters.
Locals complained and managed to secure the restoration of a small number of diesel commuter services, but ultimately Portmarnock and Clongriffin have seen a reduction in the number of services despite the huge increase in people living beside the train stations.
This makes no sense. To my knowledge there are no new apartments being built next to other train stations. Clongriffin and Portmarnock are prime examples of stations that deserve additional services. I’m gobsmacked that Irish Rail took this decision. I live one minute from a train station but now drive to work. Only in Ireland. – Alan Kenna, Dublin
After 14 years of living in and enjoying London, and reading the Irish Sunday papers available locally, I learned in 1999 of the streets being paved with gold back home. This was a complete turnabout of the old song Mountains of Mourne. After decades of social decay and lack of opportunities , the “banana republic” was now booming. My wife and I decided to move back to family and provincial Ireland. We bought a beautiful house near Ardee, Co Louth, and obtained a good job in Intel. All was great . . . [fast] forward a few years and I started working in Dublin and the daily commute on the M1/M50 was very doable. After the crash the continual increase in road traffic was causing motorway traffic jams at Donabate and the Port Tunnel.
The only practical option for commuting was by private bus operator as trains were packed from Drogheda and car travel and parking was a nightmare. Now in 2019 road congestion and bus lanes along the north quay is markedly worse . We need a decent integrated rapid public transport system in our capital with radial links and large park and ride car parks. I believe the suffering will only get worse. It takes 1½ hours for my commute . . . and getting worse!! – John, Co Louth
I commute every day via train for the past 15 years. I actually love living in the country and working in the city (which I am from originally). I moved principally for house prices and family connections. I love the quality of life in the country. Mullingar is a great town. I also enjoy the commute and the train gives me the space to read and listen to music every day, while avoiding traffic. There is a community of fellow travellers and all nice people.
If I was to criticise, there needs to be an additional line after Maynooth. Having to wait because another train is delayed can be frustrating. The Irish Rail staff on the train and in Mullingar are very friendly. The service however is often late and rarely runs to schedule.
There is no real time arrival display at stations, and communication is very haphazard, when it works. – Tony Hutchinson, Co Westmeath
I was lucky enough to be in a position to buy a property. I’ve lived in Bray, Co Wicklow, most of my life and work there now, however the property prices were far too high for myself and my partner. We moved to Rathnew, where we could afford a house that should suit us as a forever home and its only a 30-minute commute by car to my job (one way).
Unfortunately we cannot afford a second car at the moment so I am at the mercy of the Bus Éireann 133. I honestly feel like I’m wasting my life commuting on it. The first bus to Bray in the mornings is 9.15am. If I’m lucky that will arrive 10-15 minutes late every day. If I’m unlucky, I’ll be waiting until the 10.10am. If I miss the 6pm bus, I’m stuck until the one at 7.42pm. Again, that’s if I’m lucky enough for the bus to turn up on time instead of late or not turn up at all. Myself and many others are often left waiting anywhere from 10 minutes to two hours for a bus.
Its an absolute disgrace considering how many new houses and developments are being built down in Wicklow. All across the country, we are being penalised for owning cars but the Government is doing nothing to improve public transport. It’s either completely impractical or extremely expensive. I’m paying over €50 a week for a service that rarely shows up on time and often doesn’t show at all. Commuting in this country is getting harder and harder. Something has to be done. But will they ever think of the average person? Probably not. – Rachael McCracken, Co Wicklow
I live in Kinnegad, Co Westmeath. I commute to work everyday to the city centre. It takes me more than two hours each way. I drive to the Maynooth train station. Park the car in the parking area, catch a train to Dublin and then walk to work. The drive to Maynooth is about 30 minutes and the train journey another hour. The train service is very good.
There are a good few trains leaving from Maynooth in the morning. The parking area at the Maynooth station is hell. It is dark, narrow and driving through it is a scary experience. The situation has improved slightly with the addition of 40 spaces on the other side of the track. However, this parking area is in dire need of improvements: more lighting, better line markings and paving. – Sandeep Vaidya, Co Westmeath
I travel frequently from Cork to Dublin on Irish Rail. Rather than rely on the woeful Dublin Bike scheme at Houston Station (there are rarely any bikes) I tried to bring my own bike with me on the train, but alas Irish Rail make it so difficult as you have to book ahead.
You cannot just show up with your bike at the station like every other European city. If there is no room on board then I of course take that risk. My schedule is always uncertain and hence I always buy an open 30-day return which gives me maximum flexibility to travel as necessary at short notice (which you can only buy at the station and not online – another oddity from Irish Rail). Accordingly when I arrive at the station to buy my ticket, I cannot bring my bike on board, as I haven’t booked ahead online. As far as Irish Rail is concerned I can be flexible but not my bike. – Pearse Sreenan, Cork
I live in Glasthule, Co Dublin, working in Park West. The stress and anticipation of sitting in aggressive, congested traffic and being a prisoner in the car is affecting my mood. A journey that should take 25 minutes regularly takes more than an hour unless I leave home before 7am.
Public transport is an option, but will take even longer than the worst case car scenario as it involves a Dart to Grand Canal, then a frustratingly slow train via the city centre, loop around the north of the city, through Heuston and on to Park West. Door-to-door the public transport option takes one hour 25 minutes. I have made the decision to move to Cork in the medium term to get away from this rat race hell. – Mark, Co Dublin
As first-time buyers earlier this year we were delighted to land our dream home only 30km from the Red Cow. With my husband working in Citywest and I just off the M50 in Sandyford, we’d be in work in no time – the joy of a city job and the smugness of finally getting on the property ladder! Fast forward six months and we face a 90-minute trip to complete both drop-offs in the morning. We car pool to gain some back time together.
The real joy, however, must be the M50 in the afternoon, where one is lucky to drive for 30 metres without coming to a complete stop. It’s easier to count the days where traffic is not at a standstill between Junction 13 and Junction 9. Spending an hour to get through this 11km stretch is often akin to the Hunger Games, the hard shoulder is a free for all and God forbid you leave a safe driving distance between you and the the car in front. That space will be taken by an eager commuter whose time is more valuable than yours. – Deborah Kinsella, Dublin
I used to live (rent) in Bray, and could take the Dart from there to what was my workplace, on Merrion Road. The Dart is so frequent, it worked quite well, even if I didn’t always get a seat (I have a slipped disc and having to stand up and keep from moving while the train speeds up or slows down really makes the back ache).
The realities of buying a home meant that I had to move to Dublin 15 and this turned the commute into hell. Commuter trains, unlike Darts, are not very frequent. On the Maynooth line, they are also packed to capacity before ever reaching my stop. The number of people I witness fainting on a regular basis – especially on hot days, or in virus season – is crazy. In addition to the crowded and infrequent trains there was the issue that only a couple of trains would go past Pearse and I would have to change to a Dart to get to Merrion Road.
Each way took about one hour 15 minutes on days without delays – far from the worst commute in Dublin, but still 2½ hours I could have spent with my children, or going to the gym, etc. Eventually, I took a new job in the city centre, and now I take the train some days . . . and cycle on others.
Cycling along the quays can be a really terrifying experience. The cycle lanes are in bone-shakingly bad condition, strewn with potholes and slippery manhole covers. There are eejits of every stripe on the road, cyclists included, but we are so exposed and people are in such a rush to gain a half a second here or a couple of feet there, that it’s scary to think of what might happen. I imagine someone calling my wife, the kids having to come see me in hospital or worse. All because our transport infrastructure is so bad that unnecessary numbers choose the car. We have become so insular and litigious as a society that we could not begin to even contemplate a car-pooling initiative, or anything similar, to relieve the problem.
This BusConnects scheme has done nothing to help, every bus still going from D15 takes a route that seems to pass through each housing estate on the way. Until the Maynooth train line is electrified (supposedly that is the plan), the infrequent and packed trains will be a problem. You can cycle from the city to Castleknock, and from Coolmine to Maynooth – but there’s no way on the canal from Coolmine to Castleknock so it’s not viable to use that.
The city centre cycle infrastructure is a mess and I’ll believe in this 5km quays cycle route when I see it. For now, all I can do is hope to stay in one piece on the bike, fight for a spot on the train and work from home when I can! – Graeme Carter, Co Dublin
Commuter hell meant I had to go back to college, retrain and set up my own business. Financially I am not as well of at all, but mentally I am way better off. I moved to Banagher-Birr, Co Offaly, from Dublin where I was born and raised.
I worked in the IT industry over 12 years with big Irish brands. I carved out a very successful career. On paper, everything looked great – amazing salary, great perks, working alongside and learning from talented individuals. My commute was 30 minutes into work by bus or car and my social life was brilliant. Friends and family would joke that I was living the Sex In The City lifestyle: work hard, play hard and always socialising, eating out, shopping, exercise classes after work etc; and I loved it all.
Fast forward to 2017 when I moved to the Midlands to be with my partner, while retaining my career in Dublin. I would drive up on a Monday morning, back down Thursday evening and work remotely on a Friday; a perk of working in the IT sector. The average Monday meant the alarm going off at 5.20am, on the road by 6am and then it would take about two hours 20 minuts to get to work, then face into a nine- or 10-hour day, wrecked! Lack of well-linked, reliable public transport meant that wasn’t an option.
Thursday would come along [and] I’d be in the office early to try and get out early to avoid the really heavy traffic on the N4. Usually it would take about two hours 30 minutes to get home. If there was a accident on the way up to Dublin or on the way home it could easily take three-plus hours. Exhausting – mentally and physically. Jobs in IT . . . were sparse in the midlands so after 18 months it was time to assess what I really wanted and make decisions – a long commute, with good money, living out of a suitcase and being tired all the time, or something else?
I chose something else. Earlier this year I went back to college at weekends, quit my job and set up my own business. I still travel to Dublin every second week for work because that’s where my network is which is helping to build my business, but I schedule meetings to avoid peak travel times because being self employed, I now have flexibility. Financially I took a big hit but I have just one wardrobe and now the suitcase is saved for holidays only. – Gillian Lennox, Co Offaly
I commute from Glenageary, Co Dublin, to Dublin Pearse on a daily basis. I am in my 50s and have chronic heart disease, which among other things means that I get fatigued on a regular basis . Not all disabilities are visible and often at times I struggle when standing on packed Darts.
I endeavour to take later trains in the morning and evening to avoid the rush but quite often the trains are packed during school term. I realise that there are designated disabled seats but as my disability isn’t visible I have in the past been shouted at for occupying a “reserved” seat.
I would love to see the introduction of “I have a disability” badges along the lines of the “Baby on Board” ones that have been recently introduced. In the main my journeys are fine but sometimes can be hell, especially in the evening when I am tired. – Derek Darcy, Co Dublin
I run commute. It’s a great way to keep fit, train for the Dublin Marathon, and beat the traffic on the Blackrock Road any day, 10km each way. Shame there is no Run 2 Work scheme to offset the cost of the running gear, because running is not free! – Ultan O’Broin, Dublin
My daily commute is over three hours. Celbridge is not too far from Dublin but it takes at least one hour and 30 minutes to get to Merrion Square. The buses are packed and uncomfortable with the train station beyond walking distance outside the town.
There is a feeder bus but it is tiny and only comes at certain times. The train usually takes 45-50 minutes just to reach Pearse station. We have a long way to go as a country as regards public transport. – Alan Hall, Co Kildare
I lived in Dublin city from 1994 until 2010 and would love to have been able to afford a house in the area I was living. But this was the end of the Celtic Tiger and house prices were at a premium. I grew up in a small town so moving to Ashbourne was appealing and affordable. I am about 10 miles outside Dublin, but as I work on the north side of the city, I can get to and from work in about 40 minutes, each trip.
Ashbourne is on the edge of Meath countryside which is extremely picturesque and full of tourist attractions. I frequently visit the coffee shop by the hill of Tara, which has amazing views . . . As Blanchardstown and Drogheda are a 20-minute drive away, I find myself travelling into the city less and less. Buses regularly leave the town for the city centre so leaving the car behind for a trip into Dublin is very doable.
My 20-something self could not have envisaged living outside Dublin but my 40-something self would now prefer to live in the commuter belt where, I believe, my husband and I have the best of both worlds. The city is on our doorstep and the countryside is a five minutes drive away. – Paraic Elliott, Dublin
I lived in Dublin for many years before I got married. My husband and I moved to Mayo 10 years ago for a better quality of life for our children. The downside to moving away from the capital has always been a lack of decent career options.
This is changing. Remote working and co-working spaces are providing choices for individuals/families to live and work in their hometown or move out of the capital. I work in a co-working space in Castlebar as a graphic designer, I can walk my children to school and then continue on to my office which is just off the main street. It may not have the buzz of a large city but it’s my domestic (car-free) bliss! – Eileen Basquille, Co Mayo