Donnybrook's former WV52 is seen operating Route 111 to Loughlinstown Park on Rochestown Park on the 18th April 2014.
Route 111 was introduced on the 2nd February 1986, as a DART feeder service. The DART feeder services were an interesting concept, an attempt at a hub and spoke system whereby the new electrified railway would be the hub and these feeders would be the spokes. A much more detailed description of the DART feeder concept can be read here. The 111 is quite an unusual service in that it has since its introduction been a short Route 7, between the Loughlinstown area and the town of Dún Laoghaire, with a small deviation to terminate closer to the station than the 7 went. However, as noted in the historical account of DART feeder services, the 111 was destined to be the primary service that would eventually replace the bulk of route 7 services. The DART feeder concept never proved successful, and hence the 111 was more of a short helper service to the 7, albeit never interworked or timetabled together.
The initial routing was Dún Laoghaire Station to Wyattville Road. The terminus at Wyattville Road was at current stop 3320, which it shared with Route 7, buses performing a u-turn on the Wyattville Road. The route followed Route 7 to George's Street Dún Laoghaire, serving Churchview Road, Rochestown Avenue, Pearse Villas, Sallynoggin and the Glenageary Road. In Dún Laoghaire a one-way routing was employed with buses serving George's Street Lower towards Dún Laoghaire, utilising Clarence Street to Crofton Road, where Route 111 terminated directly outside the station. The route was extended to Loughlinstown Park in May 1988, its current terminus, along with Route 7.
At the beginning of the millennium, Dún Laoghaire county council embarked on a renovation of the town centre. Key to this was the main street, George's Street. At this time it was a two-way street, with heavy traffic. A series of traffic calming measures were constructed, requiring the road to be closed for traffic for some time. The first works began on the 13th October 2000, with buses diverted down Marine Road. This saw Route 111 serve Marine Road in both directions. The diversion was initially temporary, but eventually the new terminus on Marine Road became official, buses turning at the roundabout outside the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Terminal. Thus when the road reverted to its current form (late 2002/early 2003), which allows buses to traverse George's Street Lower in the direction the 111 used to operate, the 111 did not revert to its original routing.
WV52 is seen at the 2nd stop on Marine Road, outside the shopping centre, operating Route 111 to Loughlinstown Park on the 7th October 2014.
The final route 111 routing change was around Pearse Villas Sallynoggin. As shown in the map, a one-way system was utilised by buses in this area, buses traversing these roads in an anti-clockwise direction. The 7A had used this routing arrangement for terminating in Sallynoggin for a number of years up to the 80s, the pull-in still in sitiu on Pearse Villas opposite current bus stop 3232. This required buses to make two right turns, one from Pearse Villas to Rochestown Park outbound and another from Pearse Villas to Pearse Street inbound. The current routing was introduced in late June 2003, which only requires one right turn, from Pearse Villas to Pearse Street towards Dún Laoghaire, as the flow of traffic gives priority for traffic from Pearse Villas to Rochestown Park in the outbound direction.
WV52 is seen operating Route 111 on Pearse Street Sallynoggin heading to Dún Laoghaire on the 14th September 2015.
The 111 was originally a 7-day service, and quite frequent, with 61 sevices from Dún Laoghaire Monday-Friday, 48 on a Saturday, and 34 on a Sunday. With the DART feeder concept not being the success expected, the 111 lost its Sunday service on the 3rd March 1991. However, the high-frequency remained on the other days. Frequency was cut back over the years, however by the major route cutbacks of 2009, the 111 still had 36 departures from Dún Laoghaire Monday-Saturday. From Monday 25th May 2009, Route 111 became peak-hour only Monday-Friday, utilising only a single bus and a single universal duty, a saving of three buses. It was suprising that it has survived through the recession, local groups and politicians being a major part.
2 peas in a pod, Routes 7 and 111. GT9 on Route 7 is seen passing WV52 on Route 111 on Rochestown Avenue on the 18th April 2014.
However, what's not gone can always recover, and this is the case with Route 111. In July 2015, Dublin Bus and the NTA had a Network Review of the Sallynoggin/Loughlinstown area. As part of this plan, the 7 was to be taken out of Pearse Villas/Sallynoggin, heading directly via the Sallyglen Road. The 111 would be withdrawn, leaving Pearse Villas without a service at all. This plan saw much opposition, the result being a retention of half the 7 service through Pearse Villas in the form of the 7A, the other half via Sallyglen Road as Route 7, and the 111 was also retained through Pearse Villas, operating all day, 6 days per week (Monday-Saturday) to compensate for the reduced service through Sallynoggin on the 7s.
These new changes were introduced on 13th November 2016 (see feature here), which also saw the end of Route 8. To compensate for this change, the 111 was also extended beyond Dún Laoghaire to Dalkey, with a corresponding new routing through Dún Laoghaire. The full routing was Dalkey to Brides Glen via Dun Laoghaire and Pearse Villas.
Donnybrook's former WV52 is seen at the Loughlinstown Park terminus of Route 111 on the 14th September 2015.
The 111 and the 59 provided a 30min interlaced frequency from Dalkey, travelling via Ulverton Road, Glasthule Road and Georges Street to Dun Laoghaire. From there buses continued down Marine Road and onto Crofton Road. These buses were heading towards Brides Glen and Salllynoggin, but did not stop at the main Marine Road stop served by Route 7 buses heading to the same place. This continues to be an oversight with this service, with it being easily possible to loop buses at the end of Marine Road. From Crofton Road, buses continue onto York Road, then Glenageary Road Upper, serving the Tesco at Honey Park. It then rejoined its former route at Sallynoggin Road, via Pearse Villas and Killiney Shopping Centre to Churchview Road. It then looped into Loughlinstown Park, looped onto the N11 to serve Loughlinstown Hopsital, before finally heading to Brides Glen.
The journey time was 60mins, with two buses providing a 60min frequency Monday-Saturday. The 111 was interworked with the 59 as part of the 59 bill; this route having been shortened as part of these changes (operating Dún Laoghaire - Killiney Hill only). This saved one bus which went onto the 111, another bus being added to provide the full service required. As can be seen, the route is very long, with many meanders, but it does provide links throughout the Dún Laoghaire area; routes such as this being an important part of making core services more direct.
The 111 changed operators on the 21st October 2018, moving to Go-Ahead Ireland as part of a large transfer of orbital routes at the end of 2018/start of 2019 (see feature here). This comprised 10% of the Dublin Bus fleet, but the changes allowed for expansation of retained Dublin Bus services, allowing a 10% increase, while also allowing these orbital services to be increased in frequency. For the 111, this meant the reintroduction of a Sunday service, some 27 years after it had originally been lost.
Route 111 has also been interesting in terms of its allocation, being principally a single-decker route. It began in 1986 operated by KC-class buses, KC80-84 being the initial allocation. The route transitioned to principally AD-class operation with the arrival of the VL-class in Donnybrook in 1997, Dublin Bus' first and ill-fated class of low-floor buses, which took over from AD-class buses on Route 3. By the mid-2000s, a number of duties began to be VL-operated. These buses were still in regular, as much as could be, operation on Route 111 up until the cut backs of May 2009, when they were all finally withdrawn.
After this, Route 111 was operated by both WV-class single deckers and AV-class double deckers, the 111 being a good place to catch a WV as there number dwindled. WV52 was generally the bus that would be allocated towards the end, it having more difficulty with the steep hills to Glencullen on the 44B (hence why so many of the photos in the feature are of WV52). With the arrival of the WS-class, one was allocated to the 59 or 111 most days. Upon take over by Go-Ahead, single-deckers were allocated, Streetlites like the WS-class, but much longer. They are allocated Monday-Saturday, with a few departures an exception, while Sunday service is operated by double-deckers due to interworking with other Dún Laoghaire routes.
Photos of Route 111 on the internet are rare. Pat Losty's KC-month on Dublinbus.cc has an excellent shot of KC91 operating Route 111 in the early 90s. Pat Losty also has an excellent shot of VL4 at Loughlinstown Park operating Route 111 on his flickr page. Kevin Horgan also has an excellent shot of VL3 at Dún Laoghaire station, and another of VL2 on George's Street Dún Laoghaire under the caption "ultra rare", which was true for VL2. VL2 was also the subject of a comissioned model bus operating on Route 111, a photo of which has been uploaded by Derek Farelly onto his flickr page. Fred Dean also has some rare VL shots, with VL1 and VL2 both in Dún Laoghaire. WV48 has also featured on Pat Gill's flickr page operating Route 111, while WV41, WV49 and AV387 have all appeared on these pages previously operating Route 111. Cathal O'Brien has also featured Route 111 on this Off The Beaten Track website, taking in a number of photos from the 1st July 2015, when true to form, WV52 was allocated.