From M50 woes to cycling in Cork: Your experiences of commuting in Ireland

As part of Newstalk's 'Are We There Yet?' week, listeners and readers have been sending in their transport stories...

From M50 woes to cycling in Cork: Your experiences of commuting in Ireland

Photo: Eamonn Farrell/

All this week on Newstalk, we're looking at commuting in Ireland and asking, 'are we there yet?'

In recent days, we've been inviting listeners and social media users to send us their best & worst commuting experiences.

It should come as little surprise that many people still spend a considerable portion of their day commuting, and those with short travelling distances remain in something of a minority:

Many spoke of long journeys - even when the distance involved isn't always particularly long:

M50 frustrations

The M50 was a particular source of ire for many - not surprising, given that Transport Infrastructure Ireland admits the road has traffic congestion on an almost daily basis.

"When you enter the M50, it's a lottery whether you make it off in one piece or not," Facebook user Thomas argued. "Too small to take such volume of traffic."

Another user suggested: "A lot of people don't realise that the M50 traffic jam starts around Greystones on the N11 and before Newbridge on the N7 - so [you're] talking 10km plus tail backs to actually get into the M50."

In an email, James recalled an emergency ambulance trip on the M50 when his wife had to be transported to Beaumont Hospital following a serious traffic accident. This happened before the motorway's toll barriers were removed in 2008.

"All was going well as we raced around the M50," he said. "Lights blazing and the sirens sweeping cars from our part with ease - that is until we get to the toll plaza.

"At this point we infuriatingly join the [short queue] and wait whilst car after car in front of us is made pay their toll and the barrier in front of them is lifted. Happily when it was our turn the barrier stayed up and we progressed without further delay - and even more happily both her life and leg were saved."

Newstalk Drive reporter Henry McKean also spoke to M50 users to hear about their experiences.

As one suggested: "It does make for a stressful journey, even going to close locations [...] If there's an incident, sure the whole place comes to a standstill."

Alternative commutes

Martin described his five years of commuting by bike in Cork. He spends about 3-4 hours a day commuting.

He explained: "I am lucky in that there is a Greenway (in the form of Páirc Uí Chaoimh to Monkstown old railway line) for most of my route, and so I do not have to deal with much traffic. I would not however make the same commute if I had to cycle with traffic for this distance."

Despite having to get up at 5am and leave the house at 6am, Martin says he often looks forward to his morning cycle.

He observed: "I am saddened that so many Irish citizens are not given the opportunity to live a car free lifestyle if they wish. I am not surprised people shirk bicycles, given the road-rage I have experienced.

"Greenways should be integrated into our national infrastructure and could be a great part of dealing with our obesity epidemic." He also noted the positive environmental impact of cycling instead of driving.

Others spoke of getting rid of their commute altogether - a luxury not necessarily available to everyone, but one that can result in major lifestyle changes:

Are We There Yet? All this week on Newstalk, on air and online, we’ll be taking a closer look at the M50 and commuting in Ireland. You can find out more here.