Off The Beaten Track

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Let's Go Round Again...Route 8

Posted by csalem83 on August 6, 2015 at 10:25 AM

A journey undertaken on Dublin Bus route 8 on the 5th August 2015.

This update is a case of deja vu. A few weeks ago, route 15 was covered on this website. It was the first tram route in the city. The last tram route to operate in Dublin was the 8. In July 1949 the last tram ran and the buses took over. Fifty-two years later, in July 2001, Dublin Bus abolished the route 8. However a case taken in the European courts by an Irish politician saw the 8 reinstated in December 2005. Then two weeks ago, in July 2015, Dublin Bus published proposals to change bus routes in the Dun Laoghaire/Sallynoggin/Dalkey area. One of those proposals is to abolish the 8...again. (Another route planned to get the chop is the 111, which was covered a month ago)

With the route under threat and with its historical importance, I set out to record it, starting on July 31st and finishing on the 5th August 2015. After all, July is the most important month in the history of the 8 (The full tram route was electrified in July 1896!). But more history later. First up: the current route. Starting in Mountjoy Square in follows the 7 to Monkstown, passing through Ballsbridge and Blackrock on the way. From there it diverts off the 7 route and travels along Carrickbrennan Road before turning onto Mounttown Road Upper. Going in the opposite direction at the junction, one comes across the terminus of the 4. The route briefly meets the 46A/63/75 on Mounttown Road Lower before turning onto Glenageary Road Upper. The bit on Mounttown Road Lower is interesting as the outbound 8 serves the same bus stop as the inbound 46A and the inbound 8 serves the same stop as the outbound 46A. Not confusing at all. Passing through the Sallynoggin Roundabout the 8 intersects the 7, before continuing on to Avondale Roundabout. It crosses the 59 here and joins Barnhill Road before turning onto Castle Park Road. It briefly runs with the 59 here as far as St. Catherine's Road, but the 59 continues down Castle Park Road to Ulverton Road. Again it joins the 59 here as it runs along Ulverton Road to the terminus at the square in Dalkey. 

The current route the 8 takes is not the same as its historical one. This one started with its revival in 2005. The original 8 followed the 7 through Dun Laoghaire and continued on to Dalkey through Sandycove. In fact originally, back in the mists of time, the 7 (and 7A) began as short workings on the 8 and the 8 was the main route to Dun Laoghaire. In the 1981 timetable, for example, there were 84 departures on the 8 (M-F) while the 7 had 36. By 1994 the situation was 39 departures on the 8 and 83 on the 7. The June 2001 timetable (a month before the 8 was withdrawn) has 36 departures on the 8 and 78 on the 7. Today the situation is 7 departures from Dublin and 9 from Dalkey on the 8, and 74 on the 7. One could say the student has replaced the master. Another difference between 1981 and now is that the last departure from Dalkey every night was 00:10 while today it is 18:40. The major difference between the two though is that now the 8 only runs Monday - Friday.

The day I travelled on the 8 I do not believe the passenger number on board every got above 10. Four of us disembarked in Dalkey. Part of the issue is that bus departs Mountjoy Square at the same time as a 7, so the buses run together for a lot of the journey. One can understand why the route is being removed, especially since the important link between Dalkey and Dun Laoghaire is provided by the more frequent 59. Some of the morning inbound departures on the 8 might do well during school term and the 7D will probably be altered to cater for this demand if the 8 is fully removed. Certain roads will lose their all day bus service if the 8 is removed and bus stops will fall out of use. Although on Castle Park Road there is one stop that does not feature on the Dublin Bus RTPI system, but does appear on the NTA one. Maybe it is a sign of things to come.

The 8 is a route that should be done by bus enthusiasts due to the historical significance of the route number. Nowadays it is a bit of an oddity in the Dublin Bus route network, and as it faces an uncertain future, one shouldn't delay in travelling on it. If the end does come, I will be sure to travel on the last one.

For my page on the 8, click here

For an overview of the route, with some older bus photographs (including KD 1 and KD 2, and buses in all-over advert liveries), click here

For my page on route 7, which has more photographs of the route between Mountjoy Square and Monkstown, click here

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