Well done to our local bus service KBS for the recently introduced new daily regular service to and from Tramore from this very neck of the woods and, what’s even better, it’s a seven day service. I have been watching developments since its launch and I’m pleased to report that the news is good with each day bringing new customers as people become aware of this handy new service. There are 8 runs per day in each direction (naturally!) and the course of the route opens up a whole variety of flexible uses/options.
The service, which uses a compact-sized single-decker, wine in colour, begins at Passage/Blenheim Cross as early as 07.15, reaching Coast Cabs office in Tramore by 7.46. The return journey from there heads back in along at 8.55. The route is as follows: Passage/Blenheim, Knockboy, Woodlands, Grantstown PK, Viewmount, WRH, TESCO, WLR, St. Catherine’s, The Folly (Sacred Heart), SuperQuinn, Gracedieu, Halfway House, Esso Tramore, and finally as indicated above, Coast Cabs, Tramore. This same route is then traversed back in the way and does so 8 times each day, 7 days a week. Last bus from this end leaves at 18.30 and from Tramore at 20.00.
The most direct and obvious benefit of this new service is that it gives convenient access for people in Tramore to Waterford Regional Hospital and indeed there has already been a good uptake of the service for this very purpose. This is true not just for residents of Tramore but for others all along that route. Folk from the Ballytruckle/Folly areas for example can now handily access the Hospital/Tesco/Woodlands etc. People hereabouts can hop on this bus heading for SuperQuinn/RSC/Cork Road and the service will really come into its own for young and old come the summer for a La Cois Fharraige I dTra Mhor. The Kenneally Bus Service/JJKavanagh’s are to be complimented for this initiative and I urge folk to use the service when they can to ensure its viability into the future. While I’m at it, can I equally urge the company to look at tying in their long-standing across town service with a convenient/clear ‘stop’ facility at the train station.
Last week I had a quick look back at some of the stories I had covered during the ten years of this column. Some, of course, are workaday pieces on local issues like traffic etc but every so often there have been stories that turned out to be something special, usually because the matter/person in question was special which in turn feeds the creative flow in one’s writing. All this talk above of bus services rekindled for me a story which is surely among my top three ever.
Sometimes when writing a weekly column you have a number of ideas, be it major or minor ones that you want to write about but there are also days when you stare at a blank page which pretty much is reflective of the current content of one’s mind. It was such a Sunday about 6/7 years ago when my muses seemed to have deserted me completely when my idling mind gently drifted back through the years to the Autumn/Winter months of 1972 when I first came to Waterford. During that period I travelled home to Cork nearly every weekend, returning on Sundays on the 6 o’clock bus. This was in the pre-Express service – it was to prove a remarkable and memorable service – the likes of which will never be seen again and certainly not in this PC era. The writing juices really flowed that day and I look forward to bringing you the full flowing story as it emerged that rainy Sunday afternoon on some other occasion. Today I will confine myself to the outline of that special ‘special’ service from Cork to Waterford back then.
Of Song and Story
You see this bus – a regular schedule service, may I remind you – had a conductor who was in himself something special in that he was not only a conductor in the usual bus sense but as it turned out a conductor of all things musical. The man was blessed with a great voice – ranging from baritone when required to tenor when he had to. Things used to progress normally enough till we got passed Youghal, though one picked sweet humming undertones as Jimmy clicked his way around the bus. Then off the main road we’d go heading for the lovely Ardmore as our man picked up the tempo.
First time out when I was a mere novice on this route I was amazed on reaching this resort that everyone alighted from the bus and into the pub there for a pint or two (except the driver, of course!). We’ll move on and now with everyone with a greater sense of bonhomie and fellow traveller feely about things, our Jimmy got going too and all the great songs of male popular opera leads were given a full lash with great gusto from the maestro himself, conducting for all his worth. Over the mountain road we would go, the bus full of song and story and no little joy, even the odd tear. Dungarvan would be our next stop and stop I mean, for we all gleefully piled into a nearby tavern again for a wee libation and another bar or two – of song, of course! Then it was a blast of Goodbye, Goodbye from the White Horse Inn that the great Joseph Locke would have envied as we bid a musical farewell to Grattan Square. There was another brief detour through the village of Kilmac and then finally on into Waterford – the last verse and journey’s end.
For those coming new to this story or had forgotten about it, this lovely man of my memories was Jimmy Madden of Ferrybank who gave a lifetime of service to CIE. Many years later I had good reason to attend his funeral in his beloved Ferrybank. I was pleased to learn later, on the original column being published here, that it was submitted by his son and published in the CIE/Bus Eireann in-house journal. Yes, that one was special and will linger long in the memory. Now that new service to Tramore and back, I promise not to make a song and dance about it, but you can!
Go seachtain eile, slan.
Before we take your leave this week, I would like to refer back to the edition of Nationwide on RTE1 on Monday of last week which focused first on Edmund Ignatius Rice/Callan/Mount Sion/Barrack St Band – a well presented piece indeed which many folk would have enjoyed. The latter half was of particular interest to me, and from many favourable comments I heard, to many others as well. Here, we were presented with many attractive images of our city – the sunshine does help of course. The focus was the grand plan to develop the Viking Triangle of the city of Waterford with Reginald’s Tower at its apex. This area is truly over a thousand years old, with parts going back a few hundred years earlier. The plans and other 3D imaging on display contain much promise and we look forward to what the future holds for our past.
We are indeed rich in antiquities of our past which when fully and coherently developed and packaged will become a valuable and attractive amenity for both residents and visitors alike. I am given to understand that the premises still known to many as the ‘Reg’ has been acquired by the Council for development as part of this overall project. Sounds good to me.