Train Service Gets Connected, Wifi with Airappz

DART Station at Tara Street
Creative Commons License photo credit: Let Ideas Compete

FIRST THEY upgraded the trains. Then there was the new seats and the power points (offset possibly by the increase in food and ticket prices for the trains themselves). Now it looks like Irish Rail users on the Dublin – Cork – Dublin service will be able to available of wireless internet access, free of charge, courtesy of Irish Rail and Airappz.

Sure enough, they won’t be the first to offer wifi access on public transport with several coach operators around the country, including Kavanagh’s here in Kilkenny, offering on-board wifi but the development is something that has been long hoped for and though trialling for six months will hopefully stick around and get rolled out across the new fleet.

The trail installation will be for a complete trainset for the duration of the trail. After these 6 months Irish Rail will (together with Airappz) evaluate the usage & performance data and based on this they will decide whether or not to put the provision of a fleet-wide wifi service out to public tender.

I’ve never been one to take long journeys on the bus and up until I started driving I would almost always look to take the train, or a connection of trains to reach my destination. Though the cost of tickets has gone through the roof (I was shocked to pay €32 earlier in the week for a return to Dublin from Kilkenny, let alone the cost of a return from Cork to Dublin – €78.50 monthly return at time of writing), the train is still relied on by thousands of business commuters around the country, particularly those living outside of but working in Dublin.

Watching tweets over the last few months and years from those testing out mobile broadband dongles on the train to much joy / sorrow depending on what mobile operator you’re with and /or where on the map you’re passing through, I could only hope that the wifi service that will be rolled out on the Cork – Dublin line will be strong, consistent and ultimately be taken up by passengers and Irish Rail alike, paving the way for rollouts on other lines.

When I’m not driving, and Dublin bound (like this weekend gone), the train is still preferred. And if I could get a solid connection to work from without having to rely on mobile signal, I’d certainly be a happy traveller.

Congratulations to Evert Bopp, more good news for an Irish company.

Amsterdam In March

Amsterdam

I was away in Amsterdam for the weekend – great city. Heavily overrun by Scottish football fans for the World Cup qualifier on Saturday, but it’s a great city. I was last in Amsterdam around two years ago, some things have changed, a lot of things stayed the same which was a plus and a minus in itself. While we got to spend yesterday playing the complete tourist, including roaring my head off on a short rollercoaster spin through a dungeon, the weekend was good to disconnect, indulge in too much food, revisit a few restaurants I’d been to before, take in the sun and walk around Amsterdam until my legs ached.

Fair play to Aer Lingus too… between a combination of putting the foot down and having the wind at their backs, we had two great flights out of Cork airport. Major kudos too to the Cork International Airport Hotel (blog awards hotel) who lay on a help-yourself continental breakfast from 3am onwards. Chocolate croissants at 4:30am never tasted so good.

For those looking for the photos, there’ll be a bunch live on Flickr likely by this afternoon.

Wing Your Way To A United Game for the Irish Society for Autism

Keith nudged a few of us about a charity auction taking place for the Irish Society for Autism. I’ve done the road trip to a Premier League game. I’ve taken the bus to Dublin, got the ferry, the bus to Liverpool, spent silly money on taxis, the bus back to the ferry, the ferry trip itself, the long road home…

Forget that.

Solicitor to the stars, Gerard Keane has provided a prize of a chauffeur-driven trip to the airport, a private jet to Manchester, overnight accommodation, match tickets to *any* Manchester United game at Old Trafford between now and the end of the season and the same chauffeur and private jet home.

Bidding on the prize closed out yesterday at €1,200 and to make a bid, you’re asked to email Carl at carl@reviseonline.ie before the auction closes on Sunday coming at 8pm.

Keith’s original post…

Back From Dubai, And It’s Cold

Well, i’m back from Dubai and at time of writing there’s a 31 degree difference in temperature from this morning to this evening. Gone is the sun, replaced instead with cold, fog and freezing conditions.

I’ve made it back alive, my wallet virtually empty, sand in my phone, sand in my bags a light colour on my arms but it’s been an unreal time. Seeing the likes of the Burj Dubai, the Burj Al-Arab, the various malls, restaurants, souks, old areas, new building projects… a real eye opener.

I’ve another stack of photos to upload yet from the N95 and thats even before I touch the camera.

Got caught in a sand storm too this morning on the way to Abu Dahbi but I reckon if we can get through that, the fog on the m50 won’t stop me getting to Killenny and getting a pint in.

By the way, I’d recommend Etihad Airways to anyone. Two fantastic flights, great in-flight entertainment and great food.

For now though, it’s off for another drink refill here in the airport, a sleep on the bus, and a pint on the other end. It’s been a long day…

Week Two In Dubai

Big Fish In Dubai!

I’m cruising into the second week here in Dubai, moreso seen as the week officially starts on Sunday (Friday is your holy day, Saturday – depending on where you work – can be a second day off).

It’s been a fantastic trip so far, just the chance to unwind and leave things behind for a week or two is great. It doesn’t come along all that often so I’m more than happy I made the trip.

I’m getting quite used to having the Gulf News sitting at the door every morning, well up to speed with what’s happening in and around Dubai. Though I think my invitation to the Atlantis party must have been lost in the post for Thursday night.

I’m not too pressed with the touristy stuff – sure enough we’ve seen a lot while we’ve been here and I’ll catch a few more things as well but even something as simple as walking to the shop, heading for coffee, knowing nobody, no phone ringing, it’s all good to me.

For the family, and anyone else who’s interested, I managed to get a few more shots up last night / this morning from a desert safari on Saturday, a trip to the Dubai Aquarium & Discovery Centre in the recently opened Dubai Mall and a few other spots.

The N95 is getting a lot more use than my little Nikon S200, but I haven’t touched that one yet for photos or videos so there’ll be a load more to fly up when I get back to reality next week.

Until then, I’m off to catch some more sun. These 30-degree days…

I’ve Landed In Dubai

It’s currently 4:37pm local time in Dubai. Which means it’s 12:37pm at home. Which means that I’ve been on the move for the last 30 hours but at about 3am this morning I landed in Abu Dhabi, flying in over some serious displays of city planning (everything is incredibly grid-like in the air) to a sunrise I’ve never seen the likes of anywhere else.

Breezing through the airport and customs, I’ve found myself in Dubai where I’m staying until the 29th of this month. If there was every a reason or a need to take photos, it’s coming to Dubai. Already the camera and the phoning are starting to gather snaps as building after building continue to amaze.

I’ll get into the meat of things tomorrow, for now I’m knocking around the apartment, stroll to the shop, unpack, get the local bearings and the likes.

That said, I have already learned that the local government are now scrapping cars that are over 20 years old – you’ve to find the solution but they’re gonna be banned off the road; a woman recently smuggled 1.5kg of cocaine in tablet form in her stomach through the airport; Kylie Minogue is set to earn a blind fortune for opening the new Atlantis Hotel here this week and if you’re tipping a taxi driver, you round up to the nearest 5 dirham.

The pic above was captured on the bus on the way from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, no idea what time it was when I took it, but it’s something to start with. Thankfully having the laptop means I can shoot, shoot and keep shooting.

I’m off to go find some camels or something, rumour has we’ll try and hit some camel racing to see what all the craic is about.