Routes 20/A/B:

Van-Hool bodied Leyland AN68, D685, is seen operating Route 20B on Talbot Street on the 8th April 1993. As can be seen from the photograph the chicanes had yet to be put into Talbot Street and this stop was closer to Connolly Station than it is now. D685 was delivered to CIE early in 1978, and would go on to have a long operation history in Summerhill Garage. It soldiered on till the end of Summer 1995, the only blistering hot summer in this author's lifetime, when it was withdrawn and kept at the BMS Inchicore. Its replacement came in the form of RA242-8 delivered to Summerhill. It returned as an open-top sightseeing tour bus for the 1996 season, finally being withdrawn in the Summer of 2002, again replaced by RA-class buses.

The 20B is a north-east city route serving the areas of Fairview, Donnycarney and Beaumont. It has a long and detailed history, being a DUTC tram route in its earliest form as route 20. The 20A was another derivative of the route operating to Donnycarney North, though it and the 20 have long since disappeared from the city’s streets leaving the 20B as the sole survivor.

The number 20 was first used on a variant of the 19 tram. The 19 tram operated from Glasnevin to Rialto. It was an amalgamation of two former horse tram routes, one being the North Dublin Street Tramway Company’s route to Glasnevin, the other being the Nelson’s Pillar - Dolphin’s Barn line.

The Glasnevin line was opened on the 10th December 1876, operating via Berkely Road, Phibsborough onto Glansnevin Hill, terminating at the junction of Botanic Avenue. The trams were housed in a depot in Phibsborough, near Doyle’s corner just behind Dalymount Park. In fact one of Dalymount Park’s stands was called the Tramway end until recently when it was sold on for redevelopment. The North Dublin Street Tramway Company merged with the Dublin Central Tramways and the Dublin Tramways Company to form the Dublin United Tramways Company (DUTC) in 1880. The Dolphin’s Barn line opened much later, as late as February 1896, as a spur off the main Rathfarnham line. Trams operated via Dame Street, Aungier Street, Camden Street, Harrington Street and South Circular Road to Dolphin’s Barn.

Alexander R-bodied Volvo Olympian, RV369, is seen on Eden Quay operating to the Ardlea Road terminus of Route 20B on the 6th December 1997. Arriving in the early Autumn of 1997 as part of the batch RV353-85, RV363 would spend just over 11 years in Summerhill garage. Upon delivery it was fitted with a modified scroll of white text on a blue background. This did not prove popular or become standard in the fleet, Summerhill instead going for dayglo blinds (see later picture).

The two lines were amalgamated when both were electrified, the first trams running from Glasnevin to Dolphin’s Barn on the 4th December 1898, less than 3 years after the commencement of the Dolphin’s Barn line. The northside terminus was extended slightly to the Holy Faith Convent opposite Ballymun Road. The line was extended to Rialto on the 20th May 1905 to a terminus just short of where the current Luas tram tracks meet the South Circular Road. The symbol for the route was brown diamond. In 1918, the Glasnevin-Rialto line was assigned the number 19.

The 20 began due to bus competition on the Rialto section of the line. A private operator, or ‘pirate’ as they were colloquially referred to, operated along the South Circular Road to Rialto running in parallel to the tram line but instead operated via Harcourt Street and St. Stephen’s Green to the city. This route via St. Stephen’s Green proved popular and took passengers away from the tram line, so much so that the tram company began diverting some of the Rialto trams via St. Stephen’s Green. These trams were given the number 20. The routing was as follows:

Glasnevin Hill (Junction Ballymun Road), Botanic Road, Prospect Road, North Circular Road, Berkeley Road, Blessington Street, North Frederick Street, Parnell Square East, O’Connell Street, Westmoreland Street, College Green, Grafton Street, Nassau Street, Dawson Street, St. Stephen’s Green North, St. Stephen’s Green West, Harcourt Street, Harcourt Road, Harrington Street, South Circular Road, Rialto.

The 20 began around 1930, most authors of tramway literature stating 1930. There is however some reason to think it may have just been slightly earlier than this. It definitely had not commenced before the summer of 1928 but it had begun by end of 1930. The DUTC issued a notice of trams running during the Catholic Emancipation during June 1929. In this they quote each of their lines in turn, by noting the two termini of each route without mentioning the route numbers. This was quite common for the DUTC, who regularly referred to their routes without numbers especially in their in-house records. Of note is that two services are stated, one being listed as Rialto to Glasnevin, the other noted as Glasnevin to Rialto. No other route is listed twice and this would imply a second route with the same termini, i.e. Route 20.

Bombardier Double-Decker KD89 is seen on Amiens Street awaiting a filter light onto Talbot Street on the 5th April 1996. KD89 entered service on Routes 20A/B / 54/A upon delivery in 1981, as part of the batch KD71-91 (see photo of KD76 later on). It would remain in Summerhill Garage until withdrawn only a few months after this photo was taken in the autumn of 1996 replaced by transferred KD259 from Ringsend.

The route lasted until at least the takeovers of the independents bus operators. It was operating up to the acquisition of the Carmel Bus Company on the 2nd June 1934. This was the company that operated the competition bus service via St. Stephen’s Green, what was to become route 73 in the DUTC network on acquisition. No further reference can yet be found for Route 20 after this point, though timetables for the period 1934-38 were not available to the author.

This might suggest that the bus service which was kept running may have ousted the 20 tram, the DUTC seeing no reason for the duplication. However this duplication reason, though logical, is undermined by the fact that the DUTC did operate bus and tram services over mostly the same routings, routes such as the 8 and 56 to Dalkey and the 58 and 30 to Dollymount coming to mind. In any case by 1937 it had definitely been removed from the timetables the routes being listed as Route 19 (Glasnevin to Rialto) and Route 19A (Glasnevin to Dolphin’s Barn) with no mention of the 20 tram.

By February 1938 the Rialto to Dolphin’s Barn Section was closed, with cars running only from Glasnevin to Dolphin’s Barn, which was denoted by the DUTC as Route 19A in their timetables from the era with no mention of Route 19. The line was finally withdrawn on 5th March 1939 replaced by buses.

Van Hool bodied Leyland Atlantean AN68, D616, is seen operating a Route 20A service to Donnycarney North at Beresford Place on the 28th March 1992. D616 had a long career in Dublin. It was part of the first batch of Van Hools delivered to Clontarf in 1974. It was transferred to Summerhill late in 1987, and was withdrawn in June 1992, less than 3 months after this photo was taken, being put aside to be used as a driver trainer. However, Christmas 1992 saw a fire at Summerhill Garage which destroyed KD84, 285 and D705. D616 was quickly brought back into service. It soldiered on right up to the end, being withdrawn in October of 1995. However, due to vehicle shortages within Summerhill it was returned to service in November 1995. It and DF760 were the last in revenue service (i.e. non-tours) being withdrawn just before Christmas 1995, when KDs 150/2/4 were transferred from Donnybrook to Summerhill. It should be noted however that Donnybrook returned Leyland Atlantean PDR1A/1 D464 and Van Hool DF603 back into service in tours livery, using them for a short period on 48A and 17 during morning rush in Donnybrook during operation freeway Christmas 96. D616 would be made open-top for the 1997 tours season, finally being withdrawn from the Dublin Bus fleet in December 2001 after 27 years of service.

The 20’s next reincarnation was as an amalgamation of two former independent services obtained during the DUTC’s mass acquisition of all Dublin city bus services, except for those run by the GNR(I), in the mid-30’s. The routes were Route 73 from Burgh Quay to Bulfin Road and Route 81 from Eden Quay to Donnycarney. The 73, as noted previously, was run by the Carmel Bus Company, the Carmel being noteworthy in that it was owned by a Mrs Clerkin, wife of a Mr Andy Clerkin who owned the Blueline bus company which ran buses to Killiney, Bray and Dalkey. The two routings were as follows:

Route 73: Burgh Quay, Pearse Street, Westland Row, Merrion Square West, Merrion Street Upper, Merrion Row, St. Stephen’s Green North, St. Stephen’s Green West, Harcourt Street, Harcourt Road, Harrington Street, South Circular Road, Suir Road, Goldenbridge Avenue, Southern Cross Avenue/Bulfin Road.

Route 81: Eden Quay, Beresford Place, Store Street, Amiens Street, North Strand Road, Annesley Bridge Road , Fairview, Malahide Road, Collins Avenue (Junction Belton Park Road).

By 1939, the 81 had been extended further up Collins Avenue to a terminus at the Corner of Celtic Park Road. A new route 20 began operating in August 1939 from Collins Avenue (Celtic Park Avenue) to Bulfin Road, operating out of Lime Street garage the routing being:

Collins Avenue, Malahide Road, Fairview, Annesley Bridge Road , North Strand Road, Amiens Street, (Talbot Street, North Earl Street returning Lower Abbey Street, Beresford Place, Store Street) O’Connell Street, Westmoreland Street, College Green, Grafton Street, Nassau Street, Dawson Street, St. Stephen’s Green North, St. Stephen’s Green West, Harcourt Street, Harcourt Road, Harrington Street, South Circular Road, Suir Road, Goldenbridge Avenue, Southern Cross Avenue (Returning Bulfin Road).

Alexander ALX400 bodied VolvoB7TL, AV112, is seen on the chicaned Talbot Street operating Route 20B on the 7th July 2007 (070707). AV112 was part of the batch of AV109-115 and AV130 delivered in core livery in the year 2000, primarily being used on the 20B. This was a novelty for the 20B, usually being allocated the oldest buses in the fleet save for a couple of new wedding buses since the delivery of KD71-91 in 1981. AV112 is still allocated to Summerhill and can be seen quite often on the 20B still.

This new route removed the convoluted routing of the 73 via Westland Row. This routing would survive for many of Dublin’s routes, such as the 46A, 47, 48 etc... for many years after. The routing came about from traffic problems within Dublin City. The DUTC laid the blame solely at the hands of the private bus companies, the solution inherently protecting their tram system. The solution was the prohibition of buses from Grafton Street, Nassau Street, Aungier Street, South Great George’s Street and the majority of O’Connell Street (except for the section between Abbey Street and the quays). This lead to the Westland Row routing for southbound bus routes. By 1938/9 Dublin’s Tram system was in decline and the DUTC had begun their widespread replacement of the tram system with buses. With these replacement services buses once again ran down these streets.

The 20’s garage would change in February 1941 to Ringsend, before transferring to Clontarf before the decade was out.

World War 2, or the ‘Emergency’ as it was referred to in Ireland, caused widespread shortages of materials required for the operation of bus services, mainly rubber, oil and diesel, but also towards the end spare bus parts with many buses being cannibalised for spares. It was such shortages which lead the DUTC to make widespread changes in April 1942. The main change was a night bus curfew which saw the last buses leaving the city at 10pm, from the 11pm curfew set a few months prior to this. Other routes were curtailed, while others were withdrawn altogether.

At the beginning of April 1942 the DUTC announced that the 20 would operate between Abbey Street and Bulfin Road only. However the 20 got a reprieve, the Donnycarney section being retained when the 10pm curfew came in on the 27th April 1942. It was however cut slightly back to terminate at the junction of the Malahide Road and Collins Avenue instead of Celtic Park Road. That said it did see a reduction from a service level of every 6-8mins to a service level of every 12-13mins during the daytime. The 20 was not the only curtailment announced that was eventually reprieved. The DUTC had announced that Sunday morning services would also be removed prior to 3pm from this date, but this did not occur.

Alexander R-bodied Leyland Olumpian RH129 is seen turning onto Eden Quay operating an evening peak service from St. Stephen's Green on the 22nd April 2005. RH129 was delivered in February of 1992 to Summerhill Garage primarily on Routes 33 and 41. It would then operate Route 13 after this route had transferred from Donnybrook in 1994. The 13 and the 36 bus routes to Ballymun were merged in November 1997. This saw many of the older RH buses being repainted from core-livery into CitySwift livery for the service. This was out of practice, with new buses generally being placed on new CitySwift services. Instead the newer batch RV353-85 would remain mostly on the 41s. It would be withdrawn about 4 months after this photo was taken. It is now an opentop sightseeing bus in Cork, having originally operated for Dualway of Rathcoole.

At some point between April and August 1944, the 20 was once again extended to Celtic Park Road though only during peak hours. A separate timetable was published in the timetable book indicating the Celtic Park services, which operated from Celtic Park between the hours of 8 and 9am in the morning peak, and between 1730 and 1830 from Abbey Street in the evening peak, though the services were mostly through services to and from Bulfin Road.

On the 26th November 1945, the 20 returned fulltime to its previous terminus on Collins Avenue (Junction Celtic Park Road). Daytime service levels didn’t increase at this point, though a 13min frequency peak hour service was introduced between the City Centre and Donnycarney from this point effectively doubling the frequency on that section. From here on the 20 would always have a large proportion of its services only operating the northern leg of the route, terminating in North Earl Street before picking up passengers on Lower Abbey Street . The pick up point on Lower Abbey Street was were the LUAS stop is now, between O’Connell Street and Marlborough Street.

In June 1948 Route 20A began, serving the then recently constructed council estate of Donnycarney North operating between Lower Abbey Street and Clanhugh Road. Routing was as follows:

Lower Abbey Street, Beresford Place, Store Street, (returning Talbot Street, North Earl Street (set-down), O’Connell Street) Amiens Street, North Strand Road, Annesley Bridge Road, Fairview, Malahide Road, Collins Avenue East, Clanhugh Road, Killester Avenue, Donnycarney North (using the triangle of roads formed by Killester Avenue/Park to turn about in an anti-clockwise direction, terminating on the northern section of the triangle where a bottle bank now stands. A pull in was provided.)

GAC single-decker KC30 was used by Summerhill Garage for the Airport Shuttle in the 1980s. It is seen here heading for Eden Quay to operate Route 20A to Donnycarney North on the 8th April 1992. Note that it carries no GAC badge on the front. KCs 1-68 did not have this badge being only applied to the remainder of this class. The buses assigned to the 20A were generally KC in the 90s. Note the conductor standing in the window. The 20A/B was one of the last conductor operated routes in the city, having a high proportion of conductors right up to the mid-to-late 90s, with a few being around for much longer. You may also noted that the photos of D616 and KD89 also have conductors in shot as will a couple more of the images within this feature.

In the second half of 1949 (sometime between August and December) the 20 was extended further up Collins Avenue to a new terminus of Collins Avenue (junction Grace Park Road). The terminus was in fact on the Beaumont Road, buses reversing into Yellow Road to turn about.

In the late 1940s/early 1950s Dublin city centre underwent large scale road resurfacing/repairs that caused wide spread disruption to the city bus services. The first notable diversion to Route 20 was between the 10th February and the 10th November 1948. This saw North Earl Street and a portion of Talbot Street closed. The south bound diversion for route 20 buses was Amiens Street, Talbot Street, Gardiner Street, Beresford Place, Lower Abbey Street, O’Connell Street. On the 10th November it reverted back, with the then new Route 20A to operate southbound via Talbot Street and North Earl Street. The 20A was incepted during this diversion, so it must have followed the same route as the 20, but then used Marlborough Street to access Eden Quay as the 54s did at this point, before turning right onto O’Connell Street and Lower Abbey Street (terminus), this routing being possible in 1948.

The summer of 1951 saw the most city bus diversions, something that would eventually bring about a few permanent changes. The first major change took place when Nassau Street and Grafton Street (lower section) were being resurfaced. From the 20th April 1951, the 20 was rerouted away from Dawson Street to operate inbound via Grafton Street. This was the first time that buses had travelled along this principal shopping thoroughfare since a ban on them had been placed on the 1st October 1925. Buses operated northbound via St. Stephen’s Green, Grafton Street, Suffolk Street, Church Lane, College Green, Westmoreland Street while on their southbound journey they operated via D’olier Street, College Street, Grafton Street, Nassau Street, Dawson Street.

On the 4th June 1951, the diversions became southbound via Westmoreland Street and Grafton Street, St. Stephen’s Green; northbound via St. Stephen’s Green, Dawson Street, Nassau Street, Westland Row, Lincoln Place, Pearse Street, D’Olier Street, O’Connell Street. By the 4th July, the Grafton Street and Suffolk Street diversion on the northbound journey was the only one still in place.

CIE Metal Sections bodied DAF re-engined Leyland Atlantean PDR1A/1, DF453, is seen here operating a Route 20B journey to Bulfin Road on Collins Avenue. DF453 was one of the last buses in the fleet to be in the tan livery, retaining it until its withdrawal at the end of 1988.

On the 6th July, resurfacing of O’Connell Street brought about a ban of the right turn onto Lower Abbey Street. The 20 therefore turned from O’Connell Bridge to Eden Quay, with a stop on Eden Quay between Marlborough Street and Beresford Place, a change that would repeat itself exactly 37 years later. Route 20A remained at the Lower Abbey Street terminus.

By early August, the major resurfacing of O’Connell Street, Westmoreland Street, College Green, Grafton Street, Nassau Street and Dawson Street had been completed. The roads had all been relayed and the improvement in road conditions was seen as a major step in improving Dublin’s traffic situation. Some of the diversions put in place had worked quite effectively and from August 7th 1951 a new traffic scheme devised by Dublin Corporation came into effect which affected many of Dublin’s cross city bus routes. The main points to it was the diversion of some cross city routes via D’Olier Street, some termini relocations, buses permitted to use Grafton Street southbound between St. Stephen’s Green and Suffolk Street (where they had previously been banned) and a ban on buses travelling northbound on Grafton Street between Suffolk Street and College Green (where they had previously been permitted).

Route 20 was altered on its northbound journey to serve Grafton Street, Suffolk Street and College Green on a permanent basis. On its southbound journey it was diverted away from an overcrowded Westmoreland Street to serve D’Olier Street and College Street with Routes 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 13 instead. This is quite a surprising move, given that the 19s remained on Westmoreland Street, and the 20 shared much of its southern route with them. However during the summer road works, it had always been considered separately to the 19s, its need to travel via St. Stephen’s Green always requiring a different diversion than that placed on the 19s. As of Tuesday 7th August 1951, Route 20’s City Centre routing was as follows:

Southbound: Amiens Street, Talbot Street, North Earl Street, O’Connell Street, O’Connell Bridge, D’Olier Street, College Street, College Green, Grafton Street, Nassau Street, Dawson Street, St. Stephen’s Green North, St. Stephen’s Green West, Harcourt Street, Harcourt Road, Harrington Street.

Northbound: Harrington Street, Harcourt Road, Harcourt Street, St. Stephen’s Green West, Grafton Street, Suffolk Street, Church Lane, College Green, Westmoreland Street, O’Connell Bridge, O’Connell Street, Lower Abbey Street, Beresford Place, Store Street, Amiens Street.

Bombardier Double Decker KD76 at the Maryfield Road (just off Ardlea Road) terminus of the 20B on the 30th August 1996. KD76, like KD89 shown previously within this feature, was part of a 21 bus batch delivered to Summerhill in 1981, KD71-91. Having spent most of its working life in Summerhill, KD76 along with KD72 moved to Ringsend in early 1998. It would last about one year there before being withdrawn early in 1999. This photograph was recently part of the excellent Bombardier Feature/Month by Patrick Losty in association with It is a complete chronology of the KD class, in picture form, and has one picture from each batch of KDs delivered within CIE. It is a must read.

In the early 1940s, provincial bus services in Dublin departed from Aston Quay. The Quay wall was lined with corrugated bus shelters, providing passengers with limited protection from the weather, and being a great eyesore in their own right. The newly formed CIE saw the construction of a provincial bus terminal as fundamental to its future bus services within the state. The main areas considered where the Custom House and Smithfield areas of Dublin. In 1946 work began on the new bus terminal at Store Street in Dublin.

The Smithfield site had many backers mainly because much of the area around the proposed terminal lay derelict, and traffic consultants had argued against building a bus terminal in Store Street, something that has proved quite founded in the years proceeding. CIE had drawn up agreements to sell the Store Street building to the Government, and to build on the Smithfield site. The Government announced that it planned to use the offices at Store Street for Department of Social Welfare offices. The Store Street site was sold to Government in 1950, with a decision made for the bus terminal not to proceed.

Sean Lemass, Minister of Transport of the Fianna Fail government in the early 1950s advised CIE that his wish was for them to rent as much space as was required within the Store Street building. Bus Áras finally opened on the 20th October 1953; seven years after its construction had begun. Of note is that only the CIE part of the building is called Bus Áras, the building itself is called Áras Mhic Dhiarmada.

Before the early 1950’s Amiens Street was connected to Beresford Place only by Store Street. All traffic, including buses in both directions went via Store Street. Beresford Place ended just after the junction with Store Street at an entrance to the Customs House. With the influx of provincial buses that was planned with the opening of Bus Áras it was clear that the road network as it stood would not suffice. Therefore a road was constructed between Amiens Street and Customs House joining Beresford Place and along the east side of Customs House to Customs House Quay, now known as Memorial Road. This road was opened on the 25th September 1952. Buses to the North East of Dublin then avoided Store Street by using this road to access Beresford Place, travelling in front of Bus Áras on their inbound ourneys. Outbound buses however continued to use Store Street until the 12th March 1955 when they were instead routed via Memorial Road to Amiens Street, thereby causing a minor change to the 20/A northbound routings.

Alexander R bodied Volvo Olympian, RV603, is seen on College Green operating a St. Stephen's Green evening departure of Route 20B on the 25th May 2001. RV603 had been delivered to Clontarf Garage in the winter of 1999, hence the Clontarf Route 27 flyer branding. It was however transferred to Broadstone for peak hour duties when the 103/4 changes came into effect in April 2001. It is is seen here soon after. This bus would then move to Harristown upon the opening of this garage on the 31st October 2004. It is still operational in the Dublin Bus fleet, though nowadays in Ringsend Garage having been transferred in the first quarter of 2008.

The 1960s were a troubling time for CIE. Dublin’s chronic traffic problems lead to unreliable schedules and dwindling usage of bus services. In order to combat the traffic problem within the city centre Dublin Corporation began a process of converting traffic blackspots into one-way systems. The first such scheme was implemented in March of 1964.

Important roads converted to one-way were D’olier Street, College Street, Wesmoreland Street (forming the triangle as is case today), Talbot Street, Abbey Street, Beresford Place and the city Quays between O’Connell Bridge and Grattan Bridge.

The D’olier Street changes required all traffic travelling south across O’Connell Bridge to use D’Olier Street. As stated previously, the 20 had taken this routing since 1951. It retained this routing until at least the early 1960s. However, literature published by CIE at the time of the changes indicates that the 20’s southbound route was changed to serve D’Olier Street and College Street at this point. This may be an error, or more likely the 20 did revert to using Westmoreland Street for a short time before the 1964 changes. Otherwise the 20/A were not affected by the new one-way system.

On the 25th March 1965, St. Stephen’s Green was made one-way, with a clockwise traffic arrangement. This meant that Route 20’s northbound routing was unaffected but its southbound routing became:

Grafton Street, Nassau Street, Dawson Street, St. Stephen’s Green North, St. Stephen’s Green East, St. Stephen’s Green South, Harcourt Street.

A very battered looking DF837, a DAF re-engined Van Hool bodied Leyland Atlantean, seen here in Westmoreland Street in the twilight days of the Van Hools in normal operational service on a St. Stephen's Green evening departure of Route 20B on the 6th July 1995. It was the second last Van Hool to enter service, working from Conyngham Road from the first quarter 1979. It moved to Phibsborough as part of a reasonably large batch of Van Hools in Spring of 1991, the first Van Hools to be operated from there. It was received in Summerhill in the Summer of 1995, this photo being taken not long after its arrival. It was withdrawn about October 1995.

Earlsfort Terrace is a well used bus thoroughfare in Dublin. However back in the 60s it had no buses on it and had not had a bus service for about 20 years. The reason for this was no doubt due to a low bridge on Adelaide Road which carried trains into Harcourt Street Station. Though the 47 would use the Earsfort Terrace and Adelaide Road in the late 20’s and 30’s, it was alone in doing so with the main body of tram and bus traffic using Harcourt Street. The 47 itself would use Harcourt Street from about the mid-1930s.

The bridge itself was removed very soon after the closure of the Harcourt Street line in January 1959, but this in itself did not herald a new city centre route. In the end CIEs hand was forced with the implementation of a one-way system within the area. On Wednesday 25th May 1966 Harcourt Street was made one way northbound, with Earsfort Terrace being a complimentary street one-way southbound while Adelaide Road was one way westbound between Earsfort Terrace and Harcourt Street as is their current arrangement.

However the rest of the road network in this area was slightly different than it is today. Significant redevelopment of the Kelly’s Corner, Harcourt Street area took place in the late 80’s/early 90s to create the large building that houses the Camden Court Hotel and offices. With this development came Charlotte Way which joins Camden Street and Harcourt Street running in parallel to Harcourt Road. But the development removed Charlotte Road, a road well traversed by buses, especially after the 25th May 1966. Charlotte Street ran from the Camden Street Upper, heading southbound it was a fork to the left of the Bleeding Horse Pub and ran in a straight line to meet Charlemont Street.

On the 25th May 1966, a one was circus was created using Charlotte Street, which forced many of the city’s buses to use it. The one-way circus was formed by the triangle of Camden Street Upper, Charlotte Street and Harcourt Road (section between Camden Street and Charlemont Street) with traffic flowing clockwise. The 20’s south-city routing thus became:

Southbound: Grafton Street, Nassau Street, Dawson Street, St. Stephen’s Green North, St. Stephen’s Green East, Earlsfort Terrace, Adelaide Road, Harcourt Road, Harrington Street.

Northbound: Harrington Street, Camden Street Upper, Charlotte Street (which required a hairpin turn off Camden Street Upper at the Bleeding Horse Pub), Harcourt Road, Harcourt Street, St. Stephen’s Green West, Grafton Street, Suffolk Street, College Green.

Alexander R bodied Leyland Olympian, RH158, seen awaiting its time on Eden Quay on the 14th June 1997 just before the major shake-up of Routes 20A/B that reduced the frequency on both routes quite substantially. RH158 was new in the Autumn of 1993, delivered to Clontarf as part of a batch of 13 buses (RH155-167). It transferred to Summerhill for just less than a year, being received in the Autumn of 1996, before returning to Clontarf. It would operate from Donnybrook Garage also before its eventual withdrawal in the Summer of 2006. It was kept in fleet livery as a driver trainer, being used to provide refresher courses to licensed drivers. It was finally sold on from the fleet in 2008.

On the 12th June 1967 two further one way circuses were implemented, this time on the north of the city. The first was formed by Buckingham Street, Killarney Street and Amiens Street. Traffic inbound was unaffected as the section of Amiens Street between Portland Row Buckingham Street was one way inbound, while outbound traffic turned off Amiens Street, onto Buckingham Street, Killarney Street and behind the Five Lamps if continuing onto the North Strand Road.

The other was formed by Annesley Place, Poplar Row and North Strand Road (section between Poplar Row and Annesley Place. Again the traffic flow was clockwise and hence only the northbound traffic was affected. This was to last one way system to affect Route 20/A and to clarify their routes were as follows:

Route 20 Southbound: Beaumont Road, Collins Avenue, Malahide Road, Fairview, Annesley Bridge Road, North Strand Road, Amiens Street, Talbot Street, North Earl Street, O’Connell Street, O’Connell Bridge, D’olier Street, College Street, College Green, Grafton Street, Nassau Street, Dawson Street, St. Stephen’s Green North, St. Stephen’s Green East, Earlsfort Terract, Adelaide Road, Harcourt Road, Harrington Street, South Circular Road, Suir Road, Goldenbridge Avenue, Southern Cross Avenue

Route 20 Northbound: Southern Cross Avenue, Bulfin Road, Goldenbridge Avenue, Suir Road, South Circular Road, Harrington Street, Camden Street Upper, Charlotte Street, Harcourt Road, Harcourt Street, St. Stephen’s Green West, Grafton Street, Suffolk Street, Church Lane, College Green, Westmoreland Street, O’Connell Bridge, O’Connell Street, Lower Abbey Street, Beresford Place, Amiens Street, Buckingham Street, Killarney Street, North Strand Road, Annesley Place, Poplar Row, Annesley Bridge Road, Fairview, Malahide Road, Collins Avenue, Beaumont Road (reverse Yellow Road).

GAC Single-Decker, KC2, turning off Marlborough Street onto Eden Quay on Route 20B on the 3rd December 1994. Note again the conductor standing in the window. KC2 was new to Capwell Garage. It was the first of the class to be built at the Shanon bus building factory. This factory was opened as a collaborative effort between Bombardier of Canada and General Automotive Corporation (GAC) of Michigan, USA. However at the end of 1983, Bombardier pulled out of the agreement, selling its share of the enterprise to GAC. KC2 was built prior to this and hence received a Bombardier badge like the KD class had. This is the black square to the left of the grill. The rest of the buses were built under GAC ownership. KC2 is also notable in that it was the only KC with an ASI number plate. It transferred to Phibsborough Garage along with KC9 and 92 for the OPO conversion of the 40 group in October 1988. Prior to this the 40 group were Double-Deck operated but on OPO conversion became KC operated. With the P-class buses finally entering service on the 40s in 1994 Phibsborough had no requirement for the KCs. The majority of their KCs transferred to Clontarf but KC2-4 went to Summerhill coinciding with the 36 transferal from Conyngham Road. It is seen here not long after entering service. It would be withdrawn towards the end of 1997.

Route 20A Northbound: Lower Abbey Street, Beresford Place, Amiens Street, Buckingham Street, Killarney Street, North Strand Road, Annesley Place, Poplar Row, Annesley Bridge Road, Fairview, Malahide Road, Collins Avenue East, Clanhugh Road, Killester Avenue, Donnycarney North (using the triangle of roads formed by Killester Avenue/Park).

Route 20A Southbound: Killester Park, Killester Avenue, Clanhugh Road, Collins Avenue East, Malahide Road, Fairview, Annesley Bridge Road, North Strand Road, Amiens Street, Talbot Street, North Earl Street (set-down), O’Connell Street, Lower Abbey Street.

Bombardier Double-Decker, KD284, in Lower Abbey Street waiting its time on Route 20B on the 13th July 2000. The KDs in this picture are in their twilight days, with only 5 months of service left. It is passed by a then modern low floor bus DL1, an Alexander ALX400 bodied Dennis Trident. This bus had been trialled by Dublin Bus in Donnybrook Garage on the 46A. However the trial ended when Dublin Bus order a sizeable order of Volvo B7TLs instead, though they did eventually order 10 delivered in 2003. This bus was then sold on to Alan Martin Coaches, who it is seen operating for in this photo. KD284 is notable in that it operated the very last timetabled service by a KD when it filled in on an evening peak duty of the 16/A on the 15th December 2000. KD353 operated a farewell run on Route 11 in January 2001, when it did take fare paying passengers, however it had been stored for a while prior to this final run. KD284 is also notable in this photo for the dayglo blinds it was fitted with. These were quite common in Summerhill in the late 90s on the older KDs and KCs.

Between the 16th September 1968 and the 9th February 1969 Route 20 was extended to Beaumont Road (Coolatree Road) joining the 51A there, the buses turning right off the Beaumont Road to use Coolatree Road in an anti-clockwise direction, before stancing on the Beaumont Road facing towards the city. This was just after the construction of the Elm Mount Park section of the housing shemes in this area, though estates such as Ardmore and Whitethorn were still not constructed.

In the 1970s low levels of automation in the city’s port still meant large amounts of labour, coming mainly from the surrounding area of East Wall and other working class areas. A service from Cabra to the North Wall had started as early as 1951. In the summer of 1970, a new service on Route 20A from Donnycarney North to the North Wall began departing at 0735am. There was no return service in the evening peak.

With Dublin’s expanding population in the late 1960s there was a growing need for a new bus garage. Summerhill was so overcrowded that buses were outbased in Broadstone. In 1969 CIE began construction of a new depot on the Broadstone site, adjacent to the provincial bus depot. However on completion in 1971, a large period of industrial disputes began over agreements previously made with regard to the depot. After four months of internal wrangling the Phibsboro Bus Depot finally opened on the 20th June 1971. This allowed for a complete reallocation of the city bus routes, and from this date the 20s moved from Clontarf to Summerhill depot which had lost many of its routes to Phibsboro.

A packed and lobsided DF703, a Van Hool bodied Leyland Atlantean, operating a 20B service to Ardlea Road seen on Amiens Street on the 26th July 1991. The KC to the right is operating Route 90 and it is turning right for the ramp at Connolly Station. Also note the KR to the left. This is parked up on the footpath at the side , a quite common occurance as these buses awaited their time for their provincial workings from Bus Áras. This bus had previously operated from Capwell Garage in Cork, being transferred to Dublin Bus in the Spring of 1988. After a quick repaint it was put into service. This photo is taken not long after it was re-engined with a DAF from withdrawn PDR1A/1 Atlantean DF476. It would eventually be withdrawn in October of 1994.

CIE’s engineering works was located at Inchicore. There bus and rail carriage building had been undertaken for many years. In 1974, the bus building division was given to Van Hool McArdle, at which point began the construction of the Van Hool-bodied Leyland Atlanteans. The bus body section had 248 staff at this point which all came under control of Van Hool at this point, while many more staff worked in the overall CIE works.

In the first half of 1975, sometime between February and June, a new morning only service to Inchicore Works started on Route 20, departing Beaumont at 0708 and returning from Inchicore at 0750. The return service would not last too long, but the Inchicore service was a constant up until the 1990s.

The one-way system in the North Strand proved unpopular. It was somewhat misplanned, in that the widest section of Amiens Street was one way, which fed into smaller roads such as the North Strand Road and the part of Amiens Street at Connolly Station that were much narrower and two-way. The first of the one-way circuses to go was the Annesley Place, Poplar Row diversion, with the corresponding section of the North Strand Road becoming two-way on Thursday 3rd February 1977. The Amiens Street section would be replaced later, becoming two-way on the 25th April 1979. Thus with these two changes the 20/A had much more direct routes northbound along the North Strand.

Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL, AV108, seen heading for its Eden Quay terminus to start a working to Ardlea Road on the 24th November 2000. AV108 was delivered to Broadstone for Euro duties but along with AV106/7/8/9/10 were loaned to Summerhill in October/November of 2000 pending delivery of Summerhill's own batch thus allowing for the withdrawal of the aging KDs on the 20B. This bus would transfer from Broadstone to Harristown upon its opening in October 2004.

By the mid-1970s the green fields that existed beyond the Coolatree terminus had been filled in with the construction of the Ardmore and Whitethorn estates. However it was a number of years before the 20 was extended up Skelly’s Lane to serve them. The extension came in the form of Route 20B (Ardlea Road – Bulfin Road) , which began sometime between March 1979 and February 1980. The Beaumont terminus at Coolatree Road was still retained for Route 20 services, which still operated on certain services Monday-Friday peak hours. Sunday services operated as Route 20B (Ardlea Road – Lower Abbey Street only) and Route 20 (Beaumont Road – Bulfin Road). The 20B’s routing from Collin’s Avenue was as follows:

Collins Avenue, Beaumont Road, Kilmore Road, Ardlea Road, Maryfield Drive (terminus – returning directly to Kilmore Road on return).

In order to encourage people back into the city and to promote the shopping areas of Dublin, the Corporation decided to make North Earl Street and Grafton Street pedestrian only. These measures had been first proposed in the early 70s but there had been opposition from local traders. The first to be made pedestrian only was North Earl Street on the 8th December 1980, just before the run up to the Christmas period. The 20/A were therefore rerouted on their inbound journeys as follows:

Amiens Street, Talbot Street, Gardiner Street, Sean MacDermott Street, Cathal Brugha Street, O’Connell Street, Lower Abbey Street (20A) / D’Olier Street (20B)...

Van Hool bodied Leyland Atlantean AN68, D694, is seen operating Route 20B on Beresford Place on the 31st August 1993. Note the stop on the left denoting that the 27/A/B/42/43 did not stop there. Currently at this stop routes 27B/42/43/128 do not stop there but there is no helpful sign. D694 was sent by Van Hool McArdle as a Demonstrator to England. It visited Southampton, Portsmouth and Brighton on the south coast. This bus was acquired by the National Transport Museum upon its withdrawal in 1995 and is part of their collection.

The 20A at this point terminated in Cathal Brugha Street, with buses departing from this point. It would be another two years before Grafton Street was made pedestrian only on the 1st December 1982, less the section between College Green and Nassau Street which is still used by traffic. Traffic flow on Dawson Street was reversed such that it went Northbound, while Kildare Street had its traffic flow also reversed such that it went southbound. The only other notable change was that Nassau Street between Dawson Street and Grafton Street became two-way again. The 20/B’s South City routing then became:

Southbound: D’Olier Street, College Street, College Green, Grafton Street, Nassau Street, Leinster Street South, Kildare Street, St. Stephen’s Green North, St. Stephen’s Green East, Earlsfort Terrace.

Northbound: Harcourt Street, St. Stephen’s Green West, St. Stephen’s Green North, Dawson Street, Nassau Street, Suffolk Street, Church Lane, College Green, Westmoreland Street.

Alexander R bodied Leyland Olympian, RH137, seen loading on Eden Quay on the 18th July 1998 after receiving the new fleet livery at that time. Delivered to Summerhill along with batch RH136/8/9 in March 1992, and was part of the batch that ousted D616 the first time. It became a driver trainer upon withdrawal in July of 2005, before being sold on to Dualway for use on their Kilkenny City Tour.

On the 17th June 1984, the 20 disappeared except for the early morning service to Inchicore Works which retained this number. This service was extended to Ardlea Road with an earlier departure of 0705am. Otherwise Sunday services were operated as Route 20B (Ardlea Road – Bulfin Road). As of this date the 20A was also amended to have departure times from Lower Abbey Street as opposed to Cathal Brugha Street, though the buses did still set-down at this point.

On the 1st of July 1988 the right turn from O’Connell Street to Abbey Street was banned and a right turn from O’Connell Bridge, previously not allowed, was brought in to replace it. This was part of a wider regeneration of O’Connell Street and it was seen as an effective method of reducing traffic on the street. Thus from this point the 20A/B used Eden Quay instead of Lower Abbey Street.

Wright Pulsar Gemini bodied Ford Puma 2.5l engined VDL DB250 hybrid bus, WH1, is seen at the Ardlea Road (Maryfield Drive) terminus of Route 20B on the 16th November 2009. WH1 spends most of its time on Route 16, however it can quite often operate Route 20B especially during the evening peaks.

The new Dublin Bus went about restructuring its route network. As part of this many cross city routes such as the 14/A, 54/A and the 20B would lose their cross city status. On and from Sunday the 16th October 1988, the 20B was withdrawn from Bulfin Road with the 19/A extended from Rialto to terminate at the Bulfin Road terminus. The city centre terminus was then Eden Quay, with peak hour services on the 20B operating to St. Stephen’s Green. The city centre routings were as follows:

Route 20A/B to Eden Quay: Amiens Street, Talbot Street, Marlborough Street (set-down), Eden Quay (terminus), Beresford Place, Amiens Street.

Route 20B to St. Stephen’s Green: Amiens Street, Talbot Street, Gardiner Street, Sean MacDermott Street, Cathal Brugha Street, O’Connell Street, D’Olier Street, College Street, College Green, Grafton Street, Nassau Street, Leinster Street South, Kildare Street, St. Stephen’s Green North, St. Stephen’s Green East (set-down), St. Stephen’s Green South (Iveagh House was also a place where buses would set-down), St. Stephen’s Green West, St. Stephen’s Green North (terminus), Dawson Street, Nassau Street, Suffolk Street, Church Lane, College Green, Westmoreland Street, O’Connell Bridge, Eden Quay, Beresford Place, Amiens Street.

This convoluted routing via Cathal Brugha Street to St. Stephen’s Green would continue at least until the mid to late 90’s, possibly in 1997 when the new duties came in on the routes, maybe even later. The buses would then travel via Talbot Street, Marlborough Street, Lower Abbey Street, O’Connell Street until LUAS works in 2004 brought about the current arrangement where 20Bs go via Marlborough Street and Eden Quay onto O’Connell Bridge on their St. Stephen’s Green southbound journeys.

Van Hool bodied Leyland Atlantean D698 is seen operating a city bound Route 20B on Talbot Street in early 1993. This photo is interesting as it shows Talbot Street before it was made pedestrian friendly, which of course lead to be bus passenger unfriendly. The width of the street is notable, the bus having ample room to negotiate its way if needs be. The store gutted behind D698 is Hugh Forkins Decoration Centre, a famous Dublin store, which was gutted on the 28th January 1993.

During the late 1980s, a significant development was the roll-out of One Person Operated (OPO) services. The 11 was one of the last crew-operated routes that saw into the 90s. Unions and Dublin Bus finally agreed in July 1990 that OPO services could begin on Routes 20A/B but that all remaining conductors could continue to work but would not be replaced on retirement. When the new OPO bill for Routes 20A/B was devised, Route 20 to Inchicore Works was finally dropped. Its last day of operation was Friday the 12th October 1990.

The next drastic change occurred on the 20th June 1997 when the 20A was all but withdrawn and the 20B cut back. Two departures from Donnycarney North ran as Route 20A Monday-Sunday, while certain 20B services also diverted to serve Donnycarney North. From studying the duty sheets from the time, the following departures were via/to/from Donnycarney North:

From Eden Quay: [M-F] 1230 (via 20A), 1510 (20A), 1610 (20A), 1825 (via 20A), 2315 (via 20A – omitted from timetables shown as 20B only) [SAT] 1305 (20A), 1407 (20A), 1750 (via 20A), 2305 (via 20A) [SUN] 1120 (via 20A), 1250 (20A – shown as 20B incorrectly), 1555 (via 20A – omitted from timetables – shown as 20B only).

From Donnycarney/Ardlea Road: [M-F] 0755 (via 20A), 0937 (via 20A), 1055 (via 20A), 1235 (via 20A), 1540 (20A), 1640 (20A), 1915 (via 20A) [SAT] 1040 (via 20A), 1225 (via 20A), 1335 (20A), 1437 (20A), 1520 (via 20A), 1850 (via 20A) [SUN] 1015 (via 20A), 1220 (20A), 1320 (20A), 1630 (via 20A).

Bombardier Double-Decker, KD239, is seen on Beresford Place operating Route 20B to Ardlea Road on the 5th September 1998. KD239 was part of the batch KD237-241 which went to Summerhill Garage in 1982 being used on the Swords routes initially. Upon delivery of the RH class Olympians, a new type of bus to Dublin, RH2 was loaned from Phibsborough to Summerhill in exchange for KD239, being returned upon delivery of Summerhill's own RH buses. KD239 had not long left operating in Summerhill before it was once again transferred to Phibsborough Garage were it operated until withdrawal.

The situation was a drastic reduction in 20A services. The diversion saw Route 20Bs via Route 20A operating as follows: Malahide Road, Collins Avenue East, Clanhugh Road, Donnycarney North 20A terminus, Clanhugh Road, Collins Avenue East, Collins Avenue Operating likewise on the reverse. The diversion was a mistake, the 20A had been withdrawn due to the close proximity of the Donnycarney North to the trunk Malahide Road corridor. The set up then became unreliable compared to the 20A, thus making it more likely that nobody would board the bus on the diversion. Even if someone wanted to use the 0755 service on a Monday-Friday peak, it would most definitely be full by the time it reached Donnycarney North thus making the diversion completely pointless as it could pick no passengers up.

The 20A in this form soldiered on for another two years until it was withdrawn on the 12th June 1999, with route 42A diverted to serve Malahide Road and Collins Avenue East on its way to Blunden Drive. Clanhugh Road, a long serving terminus of the Dublin Bus network was then devoid of a bus route and is now home to a bottle bank.

The final change to Route 20B came on the 4th July 2004 when the traffic flow on St. Stephen’s Green was modified due to the LUAS Green Line. The routing around St. Stephen’s Green became Kildare Street, St. Stephen’s Green North, Merrion Row (set-down), Ely Place, Hume Street, St. Stephen’s Green East, St. Stephen’s Green North (terminus).

A real gem of a shot, 3 Van Hool Atlanteans in convoy through Fairview on the 11th August 1993. An occurance such as this would have been rare, in the Bombardier dominated fleet of the time. D710 was new in the Summer of 1975, operating from Capwell Garage in Cork. It was transferred from Cork to Dublin in 1988, and underwent an extensive overhaul before entering service towards the end of the year. It was one of the last Van Hools in active service in Summerhill before being withdrawn in October 1995. It went on to be an open-top city tour bus for the 1996 season.

Special thanks for this article must be given to eminent bus photographers Darren Hall, Kevin Horgan and Patrick Losty for their excellent pictures without which this article would be nothing. Darren Hall, in collaboration with Johnathan McDonnell and Ian Molloy, has published two books celebrating the 20th anniversary of Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann in 2007. Both books are mandatory in any Irish Transport collection. Kevin Horgan runs to prominent website on which more of his excellent photos can be viewed. Patrick Losty has, in collaboration with, and formerly, created a series of online features covering year by year of Dublinbus' 23 year existence. Entited Wheeling in the Years it amasses a fantastic historical account of the companies existence through its vehicles. Pat has also (April 2010) compiled a series of 31 photos for a KD-month celebration on

The End of the 20B

Summerhill's Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL, AV268, is seen at the 20B terminus on Maryfield Drive (off Ardlea Road) on the last day of service, the 6th August 2011.

The 20B was withdrawn and replaced by an extended Route 14 on the 7th August 2011, with the last 20Bs running on Saturday the 6th. The 20s had been a long servant to the area of Donnycarney/Beaumont, the 20 first being introduced there in August 1939 after the amalgamation of the 81 and 73. Exactly 72 years later in August 2011 the route was withdrawn to be replaced by an extended Dundrum 14 service. The 20B was introduced in 1979 as an extension of the 20 to Ardlea Road, it finally replacing Route 20 five years later. Thus the area of Skelly's Lane had been served by the 20B for 32 years.

Summerhill's Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL, AV115, passes the old Coolatree terminus of the 20 service on the Beaumont Road on the 31st July 2011.

The reality is that all that has changed is the number. The 14 covers the exact routing to Maryfield Drive, something that was not proposed when the Network Review Changes were first announced. The 14 was supposed to terminate in Santry, but the large passenger base who use the service between Collins Avenue/Beaumont to Artane Shopping Centre appears to have been enough to keep the 14 along the full 20B route.

Summerhill's Wright Gemini bodied Volvo B9TL, VG34, is seen operating Route 20B on the Malahide Road on its last day of operation the 6th August 2011.

One might ask therefore, with the route being almost exactly the same, what difference is in a number. For some reason, and this extends beyond the rhealms of bus enthusiasm, a number is very important to the human physcy. Its a brand, you've grown used to its quirks, the lenghts of time it takes to your stop etc... But its also a point of reminiscence, something that will always be remembered. It will take some time before the 14 becomes as accepted as the 20B was.

Summerhill's AX627 worksing into town on Route 20B on the Beaumont Road is passed by one of the stallworths of the route, AV110 on the 31st July 2011. The camber of the road makes the buses lean away from each other to create a V-shape, reminiscent of the Last Supper painting of Leonardo DaVinci. Is this a reference to the godlike nature of the 20B ;-)

The people of Beaumont will begin to appreciate the cross city nature of the new 14, even if the bus does become slightly harder to predict. However, its not like they have been void of a cross city service. The 16s have long served the area, while the 20B itself retained peak hour cross city status right till the end, being formerly a full cross city route to Bulfin Road till the last 80s. During peak hours Route 20B extended to St. Stephen's Green, which always had a significant customer base.

Summerhill's Pulsar Gemini bodied VDL DB250 hybrid bus, WH1, is seen operating an evening Route 20B service from St. Stephen's Green to Arlea Road on the 9th May 2011.

The 20B had the same schedule for 14 years, since the days of the 20A/B route merger, though they had always been interworked. This meant that 20Bs were often unable to meet their running times during peak periods which saw a few universals required during the peaks. These were so called late pull outs, and often times if WH1 hadn't been used on its usual 16 board, it would appear for an evening gallop on Route 20B.

Summerhill's AV270 is seen operating Route 20B on Amiens Street on the last day of service the 6th August 2011.

Summerhill's AV110 is seen operating Route 20B on the Kilmore Road on the 31st July 2011.

There is something about night shots that finally register that the final death knell of a route has been rung. The last night of the 20B was quite strange. Having been operated by VG47, AV270 and VG34 for the day, with AV268 and AV112 coming out to help, only AV270 was left on the road after 9pm with two buses in three not operating. AV270 also managed to disappear at some point, replaced by EV49 which operated the last ever 20B departure.

EV49, about to depart on the last ever Route 20B service from Eden Quay to Ardlea Road on the 6th August 2011. A few seconds after this photo EV49 departed and Route 20B faded quietly into the night.

WH1 awaiting to return to the city on one of the evening universals on Route 20B on Maryfield Drive back in February 2011. The headlights twinkle as night takes over. Will we see this bus once more at Maryfield Drive. One would imagine possibly not...

N.B. This website is not affiliated with Dublin Bus. The information contained herein is intended for enthusiast reference. For all current timetable and route information please refer to the official Dublin Bus Website.