July 18, 2024

On the right track: Train ride through Kilkenny listed among Europe’s best rail journeys

A scarcely used railway line which travels through Kilkenny kissing the River Suir has made it onto an esteemed list of best rail journeys in Europe.

“A dramatic entry” is how the Guardian’s travel writer Nicky Gardner gushed about pulling into Waterford’s Plunkett Station after travelling through Kilkenny.

So taken by her less than two-hour journey on the much-maligned track between Waterford and Limerick Junction, Gardner felt compelled to put it on her Top Ten list of “Europe’s best rural train journeys.”

With all the talk of the North Quays Development and Plunkett Station moving one thing has been forgotten in all this, and that is the train and the line.

The unfortunately rarely used service has its issues – it only runs twice a day at times that do not suit workers, nor can be used to connect to the far more frequently used Dublin service.

But Gardner, not perturbed by such trivialities of everyday life, found beauty in her time on that train which follows a path through Tipperary’s Golden Vale, through the shadows of the Comeragh’s and Slievenamon, to race the Suir through Kilkenny and down to Waterford’s Quays, so much of it she felt she had to share it.

“Travel by train around Ireland and you’ll eventually end up changing trains at Limerick Junction,” Gardner said.

“However, only a handful of people change on to the train that rattles east along the branch line to Waterford.

“In a country blessed with many wonderful railways, this rural route is one of the finest, following the beautiful Suir valley for much of its length, and concluding with a dramatic entry into Waterford.

“Water meadows, castles and a medley of attractive towns make this the perfect diversion,” Gardner concluded.

Listed at number five, the Waterford line sits amongst Alpine passes at Chamonix, sun-drenched Atlantic ambles in Portugal, or journeys to sap towns in old Eastern Europe.

It even represents good value according to Gardner (who is getting paid to do this), at just €6.30 one-way.


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