Thejourney around the island of Ireland continues, with BOB HIND following the Wild Atlantic Way northwards up the west coast

Cremin Coaches Mercedes-Benz Sprinter minibus on Local Link Cork route to Bantry outside Costcutters in Skibbereen.

Day 3

A long way to cover 13 miles

Transport for Ireland, the overseeing body for all public transport in Ireland, has developed a widespread rural network to reach many areas that previously had few if any transport links. 15 coordinating bodies provide scheduled routes and demand responsive services, under the banner ‘Local Link’, which have become the lifeline to many rural communities. My explorations were going to depend on the services of four of the operating bodies and I will not be disappointed. My third day starts in the south-west at Skibbereen, where I plan to make the long journey northward along the west coast of Ireland, following the Wild Atlantic Way wherever bus services permit.

I am standing outside Costcutters in a bitterly cold wind waiting for a Local Link to Bantry when, just before 08:00, a 16-seater Cremins Coaches Mercedes pulls on to the forecourt and three get on. I ask the driver, who is wearing a Local Link fleece, if this is for Bantry and he says: “you’re the guy who rang the office.” Actually, I emailed to be assured of the route’s existence, but driver Richie welcomes me on board for just €4. He says he usually does Thursdays and Fridays but is covering for his boss today.

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