Alexander Dennis Enviro400-bodied Volvo B9TL, EV6, is seen crossing the new Samuel Beckett Bridge over the river Liffey on its then new city centre routing on the 27th December 2009. The harp of the bridge provides a fitting backdrop to one of the more modern buses in the fleet. EV6 entered service in Ringsend Garage during September 2007, originally on Routes 1 to 3.
The current Routes 74 and 74A were incepted in 2007. They were introduced to serve a new development in the Ballycullen area of South Dublin, an estate built towards the end of the Celtic Tiger era. From their terminus in the South Dublin Docklands they pass through the city centre before serving St. Stephen's Green, Rathmines, Rathgar and Terenure. From there they differ with the 74 serving Templeogue and Firhouse and the 74A serving Rathfarnham and Scholarstown before terminating in the new housing area on Stocking Avenue (Ballycullen).
Route 74 has had four different forms whilst Route 74A has been involved in the last two of those variants. However, even with these multiple instances, the 74 has remained a lesser used number. In the 64 years since the number 74 was first applied it has been used for less than 7 years in total.
The first variant of Route 74 was as a summer holidays service to the Pine Forest in the Dublin Mountains. It was originally operated by the Dublin Bus Company, but was transferred to the DUTC when they acquired the Dublin Bus Company on the 1st December 1934; this being the last privately owned bus company in the city to be acquired.
Alexander ALX400-bodied Volvo B7TL, AV11, is seen at the Stocking Avenue terminus of Route 74A on the 30th September 2007, the date of the introduction of a seven-day service on Routes 74/A. It had just operated the first outbound service of the 74A that Sunday morning. AV11 was delivered as part of the first batch of AV class buses to Ringsend Garage where it has operated for nearly ten years.
The 74 operated from Aston Quay to Pine Forest via Patrick Street, Harold's Cross and Rathfarnham. It operated on weekends and Bank Holidays during the summer season. The Pine Forest is located on the R116, about 6km from Rathfarnham, lying between the Cruagh and Kilmashogue mountains. Also known as Tibradden Wood it is a very scenic place and was very popular with day trippers wishing to escape from the city. It was renumbered Route 57 in 1939.
In 1939 the second variant of the route was introduced operating from City Centre to Fortfield Drive via Kimmage. It operated as follows:
City Centre, Lord Edward Street, Patrick Street, Clanbrassil Street, Harold's Cross Road, Kimmage Road Lower, Fortfield Road (terminus (junction of Fortfield Drive)).
Routes 74 and 43 were amalgamated later in 1939 to form a new route 54A from Killester-Fortfield Drive. After 1939 the number 74 went over 50 years without use. The number was then used upon the opening of The Square in Tallaght, Ireland's then largest shopping Centre, with the number 74A being first used. The timetables are shown below:
Scans of the original 74 and 74A timetables. (Thanks to Pat Losty for providing them)
The routings were as follows:
Route 74: Tallaght Shopping Centre (The Square), Blessington Road, Belgard Road, New Road, Tower Road, Ninth Lock Road, Lucan Newlands Road, Neilstown Road, Coldcut Road, Fonthill Road, Lucan Road, The Old Hill, Main Street, Newcastle Road, Esker Road, Arthur Griffith Park.
Route 74A: Tallaght Shopping Centre (The Square), Blessington Road, Belgard Road, New Road, Tower Road, Ninth Lock Road, New Nangor Road, Bawnogue Road, St. Cuthbert's Road (terminus roundabout on New Nangor Road).
The routes were introduced on Monday 22st October 1990, but were unsuccessful and last ran on Saturday 27th April 1991, just over 6 months after their introduction.
Bombardier Double-Decker KD118 is seen operating Route 74A to Bawnogue at The Square Shopping Centre Tallaght on the 26th January 1991. The modern glass pyramid on top of the centre provides a nice backdrop to KD118 while the clothes worn by those in the photo are just 90s-tastic. This journey seems to be reasonably busy, however in general, the 74/A were not successful hence their quick withdrawal. KD118 was part of a 10-bus batch KD115-24 delivered to Conyngham Road in February/March 1982 displacing the last of the RAs. The final RA to operate in Conyngham Road was RA138 operating route 23 Ballybough – Drimnagh on the 27th March 1982. Clontarf operated RAs for another 6 days until the 2nd April. KD118 would spend its whole operating life in Conyngham Road giving 14 years service. It was withdrawn in the late summer/early autumn of 1996
The number 74 was not used again until Monday 21st May 2007, when it and the 74A were introduced as peak time only routes to the newly expanded Ballycullen area of Dublin. The routings were as follows:
Route 74: Eden Quay, D'Olier Street, College Street, Grafton Street, Nassau Street, Kildare Street, St. Stephen's Green, Earlsfort Terrace, Adelaide Road, Richmond Street South, Rathmines Road Lower, Rathgar Road, Terenure Road East, Templeogue Road, Old Bridge Road, Firhouse Road, Ballycullen Road, Stocking Avenue (terminating prior to roundabout at Dalriada Estate).
Route 74A: Eden Quay, D'Olier Street, College Street, Grafton Street, Nassau Street, Kildare Street, St. Stephen's Green, Earlsfort Terrace, Adelaide Road, Richmond Street South, Rathmines Road Lower, Rathgar Road, Orwell Road, Zion Road, Rathfarnham Road, Willbrook Road, Ballyboden Road, Ballyboden Way, Scholarstown Road, Stocking Lane, Stocking Avenue (terminus prior to roundabout at junction of Ballycullen Road and Stocking Avenue opposite Route 74).
Alexander ALX400-bodied Volvo B7TL, AV104, seen operating Route 74A on the first day of the new route, the 21st May 2007. The scene typifies the Celtic Tiger era. Vast apartment complexes can be seen behind the bus, while diggers in a new construction site can be seen ready to build even more. Cars and vans of those in the trade are parked in the distance. To rear of the photo AV104 has lifted up a pile of dust that covers the road, typical of those Celtic Tiger building areas of the day. However in all that dust, AV104 just glistens in the sun, the modern Dublin Bus image on a modern Dublin Bus route. There is part of the old in this photo as well, the silver handrails would not have long left in the fleet as the yellow handrails were rolled out to improve accessibility. AV104 was part of a 14 bus batch delivered to Conyngham Road (AV92-AV105) in the mid winter 2000 and along with AV101, AV102, AV103 and AV105, was in Cityswift livery, the rest of the batch being delivered in fleet standard. AV104/AV105 transferred to Ringsend in late 2001 from Conyngham Road.
The return routings were as above except in the city area. From Rathmines Road Lower, the routing was:
Camden Street Upper, Charlotte Way, Harcourt Street, Hatch Street, Earlsfort Terrace, St. Stephen's Green East, St. Stephen's Green North, Dawson Street, Nassau Street, Suffolk Street, Church Lane, College Green, Westmoreland Street, Fleet Street, Townsend Street, Tara Street, Eden Quay.
Alexander Dennis Enviro400-bodied Volvo B9TL, EV5, is seen crossing Portobello Bridge heading to its Stocking Avenue terminus on Route 74 on the 22nd May 2010.
There were 6 departures on each route in the morning inbound. There were also 6 outbound departures on each, except this time it was three departures in the morning peak and three in the evening peak.
Then on Sunday 30th September 2007 there was a major review of services in the Knocklyon, Ballyboden, Ballycullen and Whitechurch areas, which saw a much expanded Route 15 timetable, Route 15B extended to Whitechurch, Route 15C withdrawn and Route 74 and 74A becoming all day Monday-Sunday services.
The city centre terminus also changed, with the routes being extended to Macken Street. The routings were as follows:
Route 74/A: Macken Street, Pearse Street, College Street and as per previous routings to Stocking Avenue. Returning as per previous routings to Townsend Street, Hanover Quay, Creighton Street, Sir John Rogerson's Quay, Cardiff Lane, Macken Street.
Alexander ALX-400 bodied Volvo B7TL, AV9, is seen at the original Macken Street terminus operating Route 74 on the 30th September 2009. AV9 had the distinction of operating the very first 74 (or 74A) departure on the 21st May 2007 at 07:15 from Stocking Avenue to Eden Quay. The other buses used that day were AV12, AV104 (shown above), AV318 and AV319. It is seen here again on Route 74 on the first day of the expansion of the routes to 7 day all day service on the 30th September 2007.
On the 23rd December 2007 Routes 74/A changed terminus to the opposite side of the Macken Street. The city centre routing then became:
Macken Street, Hanover Street East, Sandwith Street Lower, Pearse Street, College Street and as per previous routings. Inbound it was Townsend Street, Sandwith Street, Pearse Street, Macken Street.
Alexander Dennis Enviro400 bodied Volvo B9TL, EV6, is seen at its Britain Quay terminus in the south Dublin Docklands on the 24th May 2010. The South Dublin Docklands is another area that underwent major development during the boom times. Brand new offices are everywhere, with other features such as the new theatre. However, many of these office blocks and apartments remain without occupants. As can be seen from this photo the street is generally deserted.
On Sunday the 18th January 2009 the city centre terminus again changed this time to Britain Quay. The routing became:
Britain Quay, Green Street East, Sir John Rogerson's Quay, City Quay, Lombard Street East, Sandwith Street Lower, Pearse Street, College Street and as per previous routings. Inbound it was Townsend Street, Pearse Street, Macken Street, Sir John Rogerson's Quay, Britain Quay.
On the 11th December 2009 the new Samuel Becket Bridge was opened in Dublin which caused Routes 74/A to be changed again. This was because the right turn from Cardiff Lane to Sir John's Rogerson's Quay was banned. The outbound routing was unaffected, however the inbound routing became:
Townsend Street, Tara Street, Butt Bridge, Custom's House Quay, Samuel Beckett Bridge, Sir John Rogerson's Quay, Britain Quay.
Alexander Dennis Enviro400 bodied Volvo B9TL, EV1, seen operating Route 74A on Custom House Quay on the 27th December 2009. EV1 was the first Enviro400 to enter service with Dublin Bus allocated to the 2/3 on the 14th August 2007. The allocation of the EVs was very strict for the first two years of service in Ringsend being solely on the 1/2/3, before they began to appear on routes such as the 49 and 74s.
However, at weekends and for early morning departures (all departures before 7am) the terminus is Ringsend Garage. The reason quoted for the weekend use of Ringsend was because of parking in the Britain Quay area, not that this author has ever seen this problem. The routing becomes:
Outbound: Ringsend Garage, Pearse Street, College Street as per previous routing.
Inbound: Townsend Street, Tara Street, Butt Bridge, Custom's House Quay, Samuel Beckett Bridge, Sir John Rogerson's Quay, Cardiff Lane, Macken Street, Pearse Street, Ringsend Garage.
Alexander ALX400-bodied Volvo B7TL, AV20, is seen on Rathmines Road Lower operating a Route 74A service from Stocking Avenue to Britain Quay on the 7th May 2010. AV20 was delivered in September 2000 as part of a 16 bus batch (AV6-21) delivered in fleet standard livery. AV1-5 were allocated to Broadstone in Cityswift livery and designated fleet expansion buses but spent their initial days in Ringsend mostly on driver training but also in regular service before finding use in other garages in their early days. AV1-5 would eventually join AV6-21 at Ringsend. AV20 was temporarily off service in Ringsend for a number of months in 2007 after a small fire in its engine bay.
In terms of the early morning departures this makes sense as there is currently no way of getting to Britain Quay with a vehicle as big as a bus without going around by Tara Street and Custom's House Quay or via Mayor Street Upper and New Wapping Street. Either way it is very awkward.
However this current city routing is listed on the timetable as being temporary (diversionary). When works on Misery Hill are completed buses will be able to travel more directly from Pearse Street to Britain Quay and this may well lead to the routing via Custom's House Quay being dropped.
Alexander Dennis Enviro400-bodied Volvo B9TL, EV5, on Route 74A on Sunday the 27th December 2009. The destination says Britain Quay, but given this is a weekend shot the bus actually terminates in Ringsend Garage. As can be seen above once the bus exits off the bridge it turns right onto Macken Street continuing on to Pearse Street and Ringsend Garage. The harp structure of the Samuel Beckett Bridge sweeps out behind EV5, a scene with long shadows and low, sharp winter sunshine.
Special thanks for this article must be given to renowned bus photographers Gavin Ward and Patrick Losty for their excellent pictures. Gavin Ward formerly ran the Irish Decker site. The site is still there but has not been updated since late 2009. However Gavin has recently launched his Flickr site. On it you will find a growing selection of Gavin's excellent bus photography, with some unusual and older blue/cream livery shots. Well worth a regular visit. Patrick Losty has, in collaboration with Dublinbus.cc, and formerly dublinbuses.com, created a series of online features covering year by year of Dublinbus' 23 year existence. Entitled Wheeling in the Years it amasses a fantastic historical account of the companies existence through its vehicles. Pat has also compiled a series of 31 photos for a KD-month celebration on dublinbus.cc. Pat followed up his excellent KD month with his KC month, again in collaboration with dublinbus.cc. Like the KD feature the photos are top notch and pull together to provide a historical and highly informative piece on these quintessentially Irish buses.
The End of the 74/A
Ringsend's AV20 is seen on the Ballycullen Road having just departed Stocking Avenue on Route 74 on the 16th December 2011.
Four and a half years since their reintroduction, the 74/A met their maker on the 17th December 2011. They were never busy routes, the expected expansion in the Stocking Avenue area never materialised. Strangely, since their demise, the Stocking Avenue area has seen a major increase, as has the south Dublin Docklands and the vast majority of the 74A route.
Ringsend's AV199 is seen at the Stocking Avenue terminus of Route 74A on the last day of the route's existence on the 17th December 2011.
The rerouting of the 15B to basically become Route 74A is bizarre to say the least. The 74A was not a well utilised service, however the 15B is a very frequent replacement. Shockingly it is every 10mins in peak along roads such as Bushy Park Road, a road which for all my years of travelling I have never seen anyone board or alight. It serves the old 15B stomping ground of Anne Devlin Park, but this only represented a small percentage of the 15Bs former passenger base, with the majority of passengers gained in Templeogue Village, Templeogue Road and Terenure, all areas which the frequent 15B now avoids. One can't help thinking that the low frequency 65B would have been better suited to Bushy Park Road and Rathfarnham Road, keeping the frequent 15B in Templeogue.
Ringsend's AV15 is seen on Zion Road (the only Dublin Bus served road begining with 'z') following the road right onto Bushy Park Road on the last evening of Route 74A, the 17th December 2011.
The south docklands terminus of Routes 74/A, and their convoluted routing via North Quays inbound and South Quays/Pearse Street outbound is retained. This area is also much underpopulated, with many empty units, and the 74/A were not successful here. However the 15A/B now serve the area with a 10min frequency. This says more about Dublin Corporation's plans to rid the city of buses as opposed to any real want from Dublin Bus I'd imagine.
Ringsend's AX484 is seen at the Stocking Avenue terminus of Route 74 on the last day of service, the 17th December 2011. The high rise residential blocks behind are in complete contrast to the unfinished site behind AX484.
Ringsend's AV252 is seen on Stocking Avenue on Route 74A on the 16th December 2011. Again the large residential units are in complete contrast to the wild and untended fields that were once part of significant development plans.
What the future holds for the route number 74 is unclear. If one day Dublin Bus embarks on a route renumbering plan, it may once more be used. However, if Dublin Bus number routes in sequence, will there even be 74 left after the vast cutbacks seen in Network Direct?
Ringsend's AX495 is seen rising Stocking Lane on Route 74A with Dublin rolling out behind, the iconic chimneys clearly in view.