The First Class section of the Dart is now equipped with sleeper cars.

Which is nice.

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First Class

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Feel the


Me fluffy arse…

Thanks Iarnrod Eireann for another fun trip.

You’ve upped your game again.

What could be more fun that being squashed in a packed, old, smelly train with hundreds of grumpy commuters?


I’ll tell you what, what don’t you get them all to get off at Connolly and join the hundreds of grumpy commuters already crammed into another packed, old, smelly train?

Bridge strike?
Bridge strike me arse.

Them bridges, they must have a fierce pugnacious union…

Well, at least I’m not the one who stepped skidded into a creamy one between one packed, old, smelly train and another packed, old and now smellier train…


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Heroic shopping



Desperate times…


Desperate measures…


No, Phidelma is not off her trolley.


it’s just that the weight of the shopping bags was hurting her hands…


But then she remembered the Tesco promotion: one free shopping trolley with every family pack of cheese and onion Kings.

The lad from Iarnrod Eireann (spoilsport!) had to ruin it all and forbid her from taking her new-found workhorse on board…


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Irish Rail don’t do Monday mornings…


… but if they did, they’d probably be the poxiest Monday morn…

Hold on a second. They actually do!


Even by Monday morning standards, this morning was a cracker…

Went for my 07.45 daily cattle train (AKA Dart) from Monkstown to Kilbarrack today.

I usually purchase my 7 day adult ticket from the machine (they cannot process visa cards at the “manned” ticket counter).

Was delighted to find out that the fare went up from EUR23.50 to EUR30.30 (29% – not quite sure they are as zealous at identifying internal savings…) Typed my security PIN. The machine made some noise but instead of spitting out the over-inflated ticket, I got an error message saying that it could not print the ticket and that I would not be charged for the transaction.

Fair enough, these things happen.

I try the second machine. Same story, but this time I was fast enough and took a photo with my phone as I was going to board a train with no ticket (although the ticket inspectors tend to favour the off-peak trains as they seem to like their comfort).


Being a docile little sheep for the shearing, I thought that I would buy the ticket (New! Improved! Now 29% more expensive!) at my destination.


I got the same error message from the machine in Kilbarrack (I did not try the fourth one, the laws of probability etc.)


I did speak to the guy at the ticket counter who told me that there were problems with Bank of Ireland cards today, but not the other banks. I told him that I bank with TSB.

He rectified to “Bank of Ireland and TSB cards, but not the other banks”. And smiled (I used to teach him in secondary school 20 years ago…)

I photographed the screen again (with proof of date) as I was going to board another train with no valid ticket (I had EUR1.70 in cash on me).

When I got to work I thought that I would check my bank balance as I had little faith in the promise not to be charged for the transaction from the faulty machines.

I was right to be suspicious.

It turns out that there are four transactions pending on my card for EUR121.20 (4 times EUR30.30, the new extortionate price of my 7 day ticket)

My bank cannot cancel these, it can only be done by Iarnrod Eireann’s merchant bank.

Looked up the Customer Service number of the Irish Rail website which connects to an embarrassing voice activated menu (Please speak out the service that you require “customer service”, is this correct? “correct” etc. You have to speak up loud so that all your colleagues can overhear you talking like a robot at the speech therapist…)

But you eventually get transferred to Customer Service… and the line goes dead. I know, I filmed it the  second time….

Had no choice but to log the online form (no email address, oh no, so that you cannot keep a record). And wait eagerly for the automated response. Which somehow contained a different number.

Tried that one. Accounts Payable was one of the options. It rang for 20 minutes before I gave up.

Tried again, opting for Customer Service (Let Me Laugh Out Loud) this time, expecting to be transferred again to the line that goes dead.

I did speak to someone though. Who is either very good at getting things sorted. Or very gifted at pretending that she will get things sorted. I gave her the 4 transaction IDs asking her to please please please have the transaction cancelled by the merchant bank before the EUR121.20 get debited from my account.

I wouldn’t want to tell my kids that Santa got them invisible 7 Day Adult Tickets instead of toys this year…


art, dublin, funny, ireland, photography

The very unlikely spy


“Keep reading. Keep reading. Do not look to your left. Pretend that there is nothing out of the ordinary.

Keep reading. Some spy, hey… Look at that… Winter jacket for sub zero temperatures… In a packed Dart carriage, with no opening windows nor ventilation.

Keep reading. And that woolly hat. With the acrylic faux-fur… And that fake red beard. Blending in with the rest of the Dublin commuting underclass…

Blending in my arse! A spy, that’s what he is. He is a spy. I’d bet he works for Pakistan Railways. They stole all their overcrowding techniques and capacity reduction policies from Iarnrod Eireann…”




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My train of thought


To: (a No Reply address as I found out straight after sending this, a one way system to send their copy & paste drivel and close a case…)

Good afternoon Nicole,

Thank you for acknowledging my complaint and for pasting the standard reply in your response.
However, I do not feel that my concerns regarding health and safety have been addressed.

Does all communication with the Operating Managers have to be routed through yourself in Customer Care or are you in a position to provide their contact details?

I have a few specific queries that I would like to see answered:

1- Are there published guidelines on the safe number of passengers that can be accommodated in each type of carriage (I think that you operate three different types)?
2- What are the means for the driver to determine if maximum capacity has been reached?
3- What is the time frame for the monitoring of the (not so) recent alterations mentioned in your email?
4- Has a comprehensive cost reduction plan been published by Iarnrod Eireann and is it available to the public?

If I look at the Irish Rail 2011 and 2012 annual reports, I notice that the Payroll and Related Costs have decreased from EUR223,486,000 to EUR218,587,000. Iarnród Éireann is doing some effort to reduce its wages bill and should be commended for it but a decrease of just 2.3% means that the bulk of the savings are identified elsewhere, at the expense of the customer.

I need to stress that cost savings that have a direct effect on the safety of the passengers are not acceptable, and in direct contradiction with your own mission statement.

From the 2012 Iarnród Éireann Annual Report:

Our customers will value us for providing safe, reliable,
consistent and competitive customer focussed [sic] services
which are easy to buy, easy to use and which offer a quality
and value for money experience that is the preferred
option for the travelling public.

Beliefs & Values:
Safety and caring for our people, our customers and
our environment.
Working together for our customers.
Accountable for our actions.
Ambitious and cost effective in everything we do.
Acting with respect, integrity and pride.

I look forward to a reply to points 1 to 4 above.

Thank you and regards,


If anyone is in possession of actual email addresses within the Iarnrod Eireann fortress, I’m interested!
I’m not angry but I am determined and methodical and I don’t let go.