Donnybrook's WV49 is seen operating Route 44B turning right at Lamb's Cross on the 7th October 2011..
Dublin Bus' Route 44B is the most interesting of all the city's bus routes in this author's opinion. Though some may argue that the Ballyknockan service may offer up more exquisite views, the 44B is just incredible. The inclines are steep, the roads are very very narrow and the population index along the route is very low; none of which is very conducive to bus operation. And yet it continues, after round of cutback after cutback, the locals clinging on to a lifeline they hold dear.
Every Dublin Bus enthusiast must take it upon themselves to travel this route. The views of the city below are spectacular. I don't think anyone could ever experience anything like the sounds a WV makes as it struggles up the inclines. In fact, the inclines are so steep that WV9, WV10 and WV11 all met their maker on this route, all going up in a ball of flames. Dublin Bus, being a very safety conscious company, have since invested serious money in fleet-wide modern fire suppression technology that will prevent any such event occurring in the future.
The 44B route departs the purpose built Dundrum Luas interchange, serving the village of Dundrum, passing the front door of the modern Dundrum Shopping Centre. Heading down the Sandyford Road the bus passes the gates of The Central Mint, only a short walk from Sandyford Industrial Estate. The bus continues along the Sandyford Road to Lamb's Cross, passing Sandyford Village on its left and Kilcross Estate on its right. Turning right at Lamb's Cross, it continues a short distance up the Blackglen Road before turning left at Lamb Doyle's Pub. This historic pub offers superb views of Dublin City and its beautiful bay.
Donnybrook's WV47 is seen on the narrow section of road in Barnacullia on the 24th March 2012. The Blue Light is just up the road. This shot took many months of planning, from google street view I'd picked out the bank of earth that would give me the vantage point. With a cottage, a narrow bend, a white line which clearly showed the width of the bus versus the road and finally an incredible view of Dublin and the bay behind this I felt was the best spot. I had been thinking of waiting for a summer's day, but with Saturday's incredible weather I thought there was no better chance. My favourite photo that I have ever taken, may well always be.
The bus enters the narrowest and steepest section of its route as it heads up to Barnacullia on a road cut into Three Rock Mountain. Barnacullia is a quaint little village, with houses seemingly clinging onto the cliff for dear life. There are some old country cottages, incredible to think given it is just a stone's throw from the city. In the village is the Blue Light, another historic pub. Here you will find ample parking and a very fine decked area with benches with stunning views of the city. Sitting here with a pint of Guinness on a sunny summers day is a day well spent, especially if the 44Bs come trundling past.
The bus continues to scramble up the shoulder of Two Rock Mountain up the Ballyedmonduff Road. The bus continues through the colloquially known Kyber Pass, being so called as the pass was cut into the mountain at a time where the Kyber Pass was much in the news. Just before Glencullen the bus reaches its highest point of 1000 feet, the highest point on the Dublin Bus Network.
The village of Glencullen is also rural, actually the whole 44B route after Kilcross is rural. It is often given the title of the highest town in Ireland, having a greater altitude than Wicklow's Roundwood that also claims this fact. Glencullen however is smaller than Roundwood, and importantly doesn't have a post office. In fact it doesn't have a shop, so maybe this is where the argument comes about. There is located one of Ireland's most famous pubs, Johnnie Foxes, "the highest pub in Dublin". Johnnie Foxes is a great place to stop for a rest, with good food and drink. It is a tourist hotspot most days. It also has a piece of bus related trivia. In 2004, when the smoking ban came into effect in Ireland, Johnnie Foxes purchased a 1952 Leyland Puma which they believed would allow their smokers to smoke out of the rain while still being within the new smoking laws. This turned out to be incorrect however the bus was parked in the carpark for many years after.
Donnybrook's KC31 is seen on Hawkins Street having operated a 44B service from Glencullen on the 29th May 1999. Delivered to Donnybrook Garage in late 1983, it spent much of its time in Summerhill having been transferred there in 1984, operating the Airport service. KC31 would have just arrived in Donnybrook back from Summerhill when this photo was taken. I wonder does this explain why no destination was shown, or was it just lazy scrolling. It spent a short time there before its eventual
At Johnny Foxes the bus turns right and heads up about a mile along the Ballybrack Road before calling it a day at a turning circle located around a large boulder. Unfortunately for such an incredibly picturesque route, the 44B doesn't terminate at the most pleasing place in the valley. The 65's terminus in Ballyknockan has to take the accolade for the picture perfect terminus. Continuing along this road (the R116) will bring you to O'Connell's Rock, where the liberator Daniel O'Connell addressed the locals in 1823. The rock has been engraved with his name and the date of this mass meeting. The 44B's terminus at Glencullen is actually on the Wicklow Way, a walking trail through the very heart of the rugged and beautiful Dublin and Wicklow mountains. On the Glencullen side of the terminus there is a road heading down the valley slope. This is part of the Wicklow Way heading to Enniskerry. Following the road brings you down to the bottom of the valley and a nice little river and then up the other side over a mountain towards Enniskerry.
Otherwise heading west from the terminus will bring you along the section of the Wicklow Way over Kilmashogue to Marlay Park. There were many sunny summer days during my college years when I took a 16 to Marley Park (most likely WH1 if I could), took the walk over the mountains, through Ballybrack to Johnnie Foxes. A few quick pints and then back down the hill on the 44B. It's something I'd very much recommend. Route 44B has an interesting history. The DUTC took over this service upon acquisition of the Wicklow Hills Bus Company (formerly the Resident's Bus Company with its depot in Enniskerry) in 1936. It was also numbered route 44, being part of the 44 bill, and did not getting its B designation to 1953.
It began in the early-to-mid 1930s as a Saturday only service from D'olier Street to Glencullen with a morning (bringing shoppers into the city from Glencullen) and an evening departure (bringing the shoppers home). A Church bus also ran on a Sunday morning (at least from DUTC days), up to Glencullen from Eglinton Road, pausing for mass, and then returning back to Eglinton Road. The 44B continued like this until the DUTCs acquisition by CIE in 1945.
The timetable was as follows:
O'Connell Bridge (D'olier Street): 0930, 1630
Glencullen: 1030, 1715.
Church Eg to Glencullen 0730, return 0910.
Donnybrook's WV42 is seen at the Ballybrack terminus of Route 44B on the 14th January 2012.
In the late 40s/early 50s, Glencullen finally received a full bus service, with Monday to Friday services. The Saturday only services still existed at rougly the same times, and these buses continued via Fernhill. Fernhill is on the Enniskerry Road, the Burrow Road being used to access Glencullen as it was by certain services until recent times. At this stage, bar one or two exceptions, all Route 44 buses to Enniskerry also operated along the Enniskerry Road via Fernhill, as opposed to the Kilgobbin Road they use now.
All other services were noted via Barnacullia and Ballyedmonduff as per the current Route 44B routing. Buses had previously turned around in Glencullen Village around Johnny Foxes, however for the first time the Ballybrack terminus was noted. The first service from Glencullen in the morning peak and the last peak hour evening service went to Ballybrack.
By the mid-50s, the Saturday services were rerouted away from Fernhill to operate via Barnacullia and Ballyedmonduff. These services were always noted differently, in that though they shared the same routing with all other services, they were noted only as via Barnacullia as opposed to other services which were noted as via Barnacullia and Ballyedmonduff (there is no way of serving Barnacullia alone), pointing to the fact that these services didn't originally go this way. A later evening peak service was added, also to Ballybrack.
In the early 60s, for a short amount of time, the first service on a Saturday went via Kiltiernan, using the Ballybetagh Road. This road is still used by a Glencullen service these days, an early morning schools service. This explains how WVs can be seen on Leeson Street in the morning peak, generally displaying 118.
Donnybrook's WV41 is seen on the Sandyford Road at Kilcross operating a Saturday departure of Route 44B on the 30th July 2011.
In 1966, the Monday-Friday daytime services were cancelled, the 44B becoming a peak hour only route, with 2 inbound morning peak and two outbound evening peak services, one of which returned. Saturday services remained though the Kiltiernan service had gone, but new was a 11pm departure from the city, returning to Eglinton Road at 1155pm from Glencullen on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. This service was introduced to bring patrons to the three popular pubs on route, Lamb Doyle's, the Blue Light (Barnacullia) and, of course, Johnny Foxes in Glencullen. Also included was a return service at circa 6pm from the city on a Sunday to bring people up to these pubs such that they could be conveyed home by the last service. These services stood out in many ways, clearly not constituting a duty in themselves. However it is known that, for at least some of the years, it was buses off the 47 service that would be used on these 44B departures. It was also at this time that the terminus was consolidated with all services continuing on to Ballybrack.
In the summer of 1967 some of the morning and afternoon Saturday services operated via Camden Street outbound only using Cuffe Street. This diversion struck a chord at the initial purpose of the route as a Saturday only shopping service, similar to the Oldtown service that existed on the Finglas Corridor for so long. Camden Street was a popular shopping destination and by serving there on the outbound, shoppers heavily laden with shopping would not have to make the long walk to Charlemont Street for their 44B. In the mid to late 70s, the number of morning peak services was increased to 3, with a later service more suiting to school children. Two earlier evening peak services were also added outbound, again more suiting school traffic. A route of many oddities, another one was added in the form of a Tuesday only inbound service at 11am from Ballybrack.
The late 80s saw the end of the Sunday service on the route, while during the mid 90s the Camden Street Saturday only diversion was also removed, as was the late service on a Wednesday, leaving a Saturday only late night departure at 2300 from the city and 2350 to Eglinton Road return.
Donnybrook's KC95 is seen loaded a fair crowd on a 44B departure to Glencullen on the 6th March 1999. KC95 was delivered to Cork and spent some time there before ending up in Donnybrook in the early 90s. It was withdrawn late 99/early 2000.
Finally in the early naughties came the most unintelligible timetable that existed on the 44B, which is saying a lot given the number of variants that were included in the timetable over the years. From Glencullen there was a total of 8 possible routes that the bus could take. However though unintelligible from a non-users point of view, the service was designed to fit user demand. Supposedly the timetable was thrashed out at a "town hall" meeting with Dublin Bus in attendance.
Kilcross became a terminus, being used as a short point where a 44 could be connected with. Thus more services could be provided down the hill. Dundrum and the shopping centre was another terminus, mostly used on a Saturday afternoon. Ranelagh was also used as a terminus point, being a focal point in its own right while also being close to Donnybrook garage for duty breaks. Of note was the 0740 from Glencullen which operated down the Kiltiernan Road, operating then as a 63 to the city. This is the service noted about before. In minibus days this bus would then operate a route 3 service from Townsend Street to Belfield, an incredible observation.
The April/May 2009 cutbacks finally saw a consolidated terminus for Route 44B at Dundrum Luas station with an hourly frequency in the morning and evening peak. An early morning and afternoon Saturday service were also kept.
Donnybrook's WV21 is seen at the Dundrum Interchange terminus of Route 44B on the 24th June 2010.
The 0740 ex Glencullen:
Withdrawn WV45 is seen operating the 0740 service ex Glencullen displaying Route 118 on the 24th April 2012.
Glencullen will always be associated with route 44B, however it has been home of a few route numbers over the years, namely routes 46A, 116, 117 and 118 at different times. And all the numbers refer to just one morning departure from Glencullen that disappeared from the timetables a few years back but only stopped operating last year.
The departure was the 0740 ex Glencullen. It was introduced on the 22nd January 2001. This was the date that the 44B got a strange timetable with no less than 6 different termini and many different routes. This timetable was compiled after a meeting with Glencullen/Barnaculia residents, trying to get most out of the limited number of duties that would be assigned to the service. The success of the Stillorgan QBC saw peak hour only services spring up all over the south city. And Glencullen was not left out.
The 0740 was noted as "To Hawkins Street via Kilternan and Route 63". It was minibus operated upon introduction and would usually display 46A, which always made an unusual sighting. This minibus would then take up on Townsend Street as a Route 3 service to Belfield (though this may have been a work "as directed"), again an incredibly unusual allocation. By early 2004, the minibuses were withdrawn in Donnybrook, replaced by the WV midibus class which operated the service until its ultimate withdrawal. More recently the service displayed one of route numbers 116/117/118. This was due to these routes have the D'olier Street terminal point, whereas the 46A was extended cross city to Mountjoy Square initially and then onto Phoenix Park. The route was most like the 117, especially from Kilternan, however this number would soon dissapear from the scrolls. The 118 does serve Kilternan but the routing from there to the N11 QBC was very different, however in the final days of service Route number 118 was almost always used.
The exact routing of the service was as follows: From Glencullen (Ballybrack Terminus), then follow Route 44B to Glencullen Crossroads (at Johnnie Foxes). The 44B turns left at this junction, whereas the 0740 service continued straight on a(as shown in photo above) and headed towards Kilternan on the Ballybetagh Road (R116). The Ballybetagh Road provides the wide junction where the 63 terminates currently, so upon arrival in Kilternan the bus turned left and then immediately stopped at the Blue Church terminus of Route 63. It then followed Route 63 down the Glenamuck Road (not serving Ballyogan). It continued straight onto the Cabinteely Hill Road into Cornelscourt Village, where it turned left onto the Bray Road and then onto the N11. It then followed the N11 into the city to terminate at Hawkins Street.
On the 12th April 2009, the 44B was given a much simpler timetable with services operating between two consistent termini (Dundrum Luas Interchange - Glencullen (Ballybrack)). The 0740 disappeared from the timetable, however it continued to operate, albeit only during schoolterms. Though not interworked with the 44 boards, in the service's latter days the WV used would generally be parked up in Hawkins Street or Townsend Street and would be brought back to the garage by the driver of 1/44 upon completion of this early morning workout. This allowed for some unusual sightings of WVs parked up on either Hawkins Street or Townsend Street prior to the days when Route 44 became a typical WV route. The 0740 service was finally withdrawn in June 2012.
Donnybrook's WV48 is seen on the 0740 ex Glencullen service displaying Route 118 on Leeson Street on the 7th October 2011.