Saturday 23 June 2018

Comment: Why I wouldn't swap my five-hour commute for the world

Stock image
Stock image

Daire Whelan

It’s funny what you get used to.

2.5 hours door to door is my commute three days a week. That’s five hours a day; or fifteen hours a week. Even reading that now makes me wonder, am I crazy?

But it’s about give and take.

I live in Tipperary, on a farm, looking out onto the Knockmealdowns, Galtees and Comeragh mountains, and I wouldn’t swap it for the world.

Yes I have a crazy commute, but I also work from home twice a week.

For 40pc of my working week I get to be at home around my family, seeing my kids and having a total commute time of ten seconds to my home office.

I’m lucky in many ways. For the industry I work in, working outside the office is accepted. Being away from Dublin two days a week is fine and with internet, emails and mobile phones you’re never really that far away.

Remote working in fact is becoming more popular with the percentage of businesses enabling staff to work from home climbing to 61pc in 2017 and rising.

Furthermore, it’s reported that 91pc of workers are more productive when working remotely.
 (Just don’t get me started on rural broadband and the many trips I have to make to a café 10 minutes drive away so I can actually use proper internet. Eir, are you listening?)

But, given the opportunity to live in an area surrounded by fields and mountains, I’ll gladly take the three days commute to Dublin.

The three hundred minutes travel time in total consists of a thirty-five minute drive to Thurles station – fifteen minutes of which are on the M8 motorway so you know you won’t be held up on this part of the journey at least – followed by seventy-five minutes on the train non-stop from Thurles to Heuston. Fifteen minutes later on the Luas and I’m in the office by 9.45am having already begun my work day as soon as I take my seat on the train at 8.15.

That’s the great part of travelling by train. It’s not lost time. As I like to tell anyone who might mutter under their breath that I’m only ‘turning up’ at the office by 9.45am, I’ve been working since 8am and will continue to do so until 6.30pm that evening when the 5.05pm train gets back into Thurles.

My working day then is ten hours long but so what? Many others are stuck doing hours as long between work and traffic and they live in the Dublin suburbs.

As I get out of my car just after 7pm, I love coming home to the smell of, yes, cow-sh*t and watching the sun bouncing off the corn fields as it begins to settle behind the peak of Galtee Mór.

I’ve been to Dublin and back and done a day’s work. I’m exhausted but then I’ve worked hard and who hasn’t? It’s just that I get to see mountains, rivers and fields on my return.

I’m a Dub born and bred but my heart is in the country and when I see my two boys running around, I wouldn’t swap it for the world.

Dublin is my work but rural Ireland is my home.

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