The excitement here at the Manor yesterday was palpable.

A letter arrived in the post.  No shit from the election mob.  No bills.  Nothing to add to my growing pile of Irish Water demands and threats.  Just a plain long envelope with my name typed on it.

It was my free bus-pass!

This is the moment I have been waiting for all my life.  This is the ultimate goal of my existence.  This is freedom on an unprecedented scale.

I am now entitled to travel free gratis on any bus, train, Dart or Luas anywhere on the island of Ireland, including Norn Iron.  Well, I can't travel on the Luas or Dart outside Dublin but you know what I mean.

I started planning journeys hither and thither and I began to get a sneaking suspicion that things weren't quite so straightforward as I initially thought.  You see, I can only travel to places where there are bus routes which narrows things down a bit.  And the fact that our rail network is not exactly comprehensive cuts down things even further.  So with a little bit of thought I began to realise that I couldn't go anywhere without using at the very least three or four bus routes and a couple of trains, which means a lot of walking and even more waiting around in the cold.

Herself can travel with me using my pass, but reading the regulations I think I may have to keep her on a leash.  And if she wanders off she won't ever be able to get home again.  I'll have to think about that one?

And they don't allow dogs.

Well, they do, but Penny would have to travel in the guard's van, but she couldn't get that far because she isn't allowed on the bus, to get to the station.

I also hear they don't allow smoking upstairs in buses any more and that trains and even the fucking platforms are no go areas, which is crazy because platforms [and airports] and always cold and windy even on a calm hot summer's day.

Therefore the bottom line is that if I want to take a day-trip anywhere I have to quit the pipe, abandon Penny, get lumbered with Herself and then spend all day getting there leaving no time to get back home again.

Anyone want a free bus-pass?

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Freedom is not as free as I thought — 10 Comments

  1. Hello,


    I am also a grandad but live in rural South Somerset; I enjoy your blog very much but you seem to have got this bus stuff very wrong. Our house sits beside a main road and I have watched buses pass by my window every half hour for about 25 years (except Sundays) – almost all are empty – the point of the bus is to give the driver something to do – the point of the bus pass is to give a clerk some work; you are not involved.

    • Welcome, Richard J.  That does clear up a little mystery all right.  They used to run one of those tiny buses [they called it The Imp] past my place.  It was always empty.  It has since been replaced with double-decker buses that are also always empty.  I cadge a lift off it sometimes from the village if I'm too knackered to walk.  He never charges a fare, so that proves your explanation.  Thanks.

  2. Over here you can get a bus pass, if you request it, at age 65.  Unless you live within the city limits of Harrisburg it's all but worthless.  Outside the city the bus routes are twice a day.  Once in the morning and once in the evening.  The bus system is for people who work downtown.  It's a car-centric world we live in.

    • Here anyone is entitled to a pass at age 66.  I don't know why it isn't 65, but 66 is when the state pensions and other benefits all kick in.

      The Irish public transport system seems to assume that everyone wants to travel to or from Dublin, so motorways and rails all head out like spokes.  This means that if I want to go just about anywhere [apart from Wexford] I have to go via Dublin.  It means a lot of changing buses and/or trains, and if I want to go by car I have to suffer the horrors of the M50 Dublin ring-motorway. 

      Sure I'm happy where I am up the mountains anyway!

    • Unfortunately not.  I can travel to and from Belfast but if I want to use Ulsterbus or their railways I can apply for a [free] card.  It's unlikely I'd use it so I won't bother.  So it doesn't cover GB or the ferries.  Alas.

  3. hi grandad here in victoria we only get free travel saturday and sunday in melbourne and surrounding suburbs. once a year we can travel return to the victorian border .check on the dog rules as i twice saw a dog sitting quite happily upstairs on the leixlip line where my brother lives this was only 8 months ago .look forward to my daily read of headrambles cheers Eamonn

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