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A famous song of old proclaimed: “It’s a long way to Tipperary”, well I have evidence to the contrary.

In the last while I have taken 2 train rides that have helped me put a bit of perspective on the matter of travel time, and also opened my eyes to the great things happening in tech outside of Dublin.

The first train ride was a whopper 55 hour trans-continental train from San Francisco all the way to Chicago (via jaw dropping sights like the Nevada Desert and the Rocky Mountains). My time on the train helped me re-educate myself a great deal about what a “Long Journey” was.
This was the Mt. Everest of train journeys.

Not your average train ride...

Not your average train ride…

The second train involved a 2 hour trip from Dublin to Limerick (via the jaw dropping sights of Portarlington and Thurles) for the brilliant WASUP conference. Having had my eyes opened by what 55 hours of train transport felt like, I realised that travelling “all the way to Limerick” took an extremely reasonable amount of time.
It was the Croagh Patrick of train journeys.

Actually the shortness of the journey bordered on being inconvenient. It took so little time that on the outward journey I managed to only make a tiny dent into the book I had intended on ploughing through before I had reached the end of the line. On the return trip from the conference I was shocked when my great chats with a few good folk from the event were rudely interrupted by the intercom telling us we had arrived in Dublin. (I’m fully aware that the two previous points are the very definition of a #firstworldproblem)

Great minds in conversation, cut short by the country being too small.

Great minds in conversation, cut short by the country being too small.

So… why am I telling you these long rambling stories? I’m still not sure, but a few things hit me about Ireland and business, so here we go:

1. ‘Tis no distance at all.
We have a teeny tiny spec of a country, therefore we have no grounds for complaint when we have to travel for a few hours, in fact doing so should be a fineable offence. People in larger countries would look at our trips as mere commute-level distances.

2. There are wonderful things happening outside the Pale.
There are great things happening all around the country in terms of business/tech events. WASUP was just one of them, and there are plenty more happening all the time. Dubliners (like me) need to get off our collective asses and make the short hop out to these places and check these events out.

3. Regionalism in such a small country seems a bit off.
Our country seems too small for the OTT regionalist (is that a word?) approach that seems to be employed. I remember a speaker on one of the great panels at WASUP mentioning her organisation only had remit to work with businesses “West of the Shannon” and possibly South of some other river, this blew my mind and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. We seem to have an awful lot of Local Enterprise Boards and other entities that give us an absurd level of geographic granularity. Is this perhaps surplus to requirement? (If I’m way off on this do give me a telling off in the comments)

4. Getting across the entire country is not much more expensive than commuting within a city.
Considering a return DART ticket in Dublin will set you back close to €6 euro, it seems pretty good that you can get a return bus from Dublin to Limerick for circa €20, and a train for about €30.*
(*Funny story, if you don’t book in advance Irish Rail go nuclear on the pricing. I remember poor old @mauriceacollins paying the truly scandalous in-station purchase price of €55 ONE WAY)

So there you have it, some jumbled up nonsense thoughts about trains and Ireland!

Read about my experience with the brilliant WASUP conference here and follow @ShaneBlueChief to get the head up on the next event.

If you agree, disagree, want to correct me or indeed lavish me with compliments do leave a comment 🙂