All aboard the road train!
THE FIRST of the new 142 number plates are starting to appear on our local roads but there's a new addition in Killarney that's standing out a little more than the rest.
The Killarney Tourist Road Train was launched on Friday and the novel family-friendly mode of transport is already making an impact according to owners and brothers-in-law Barth Warren and Kieran Coffey.
"We've had nothing but positive feedback from the hotels and B&Bs who see it as a welcome addition to the local tourism product," father-of-three Barth states.
Indeed the latest tourism offering has already attracted 1,000 'likes' on Facebook and the two-carriage 40-seater road train that was sourced in China will operate nine tours on two routes seven days a week.
The all-weather carriages are wheelchair accessible and baby buggy friendly with an on-board commentary on the local sights and tourists and locals will know it's on its way as there's a distinctive bell that rings as it makes its way through the town.
Originally from Headford but now residing in Aghadoe, Barth is a self-employed engineer who hopes to juggle the day job with running the new business. He said the seeds for the idea came during a family holiday.
"When you go abroad you see this type of thing in holiday resorts and it's something you consider, particularly with young kids. We hope the road train tours will further complement and link into existing services already on offer in Killarney."
Kieran, also a father of three, is equally excited at the new venture.
"It's a unique, family friendly way of experiencing all that Killarney and after speaking to the town council and the NPWS we decided it was a runner," he said.
Tours are 75 minutes long and begin outside the Malton Hotel. The first tour is at 9.30am and the last departs at 7.30pm. Tours either bring passengers around Killarney town and Ross Castle six times-a-day or out to Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farms three times a day. Tickets are hop-on hop-off and start at €5 for children, €7 seniors and €8 adults, with family and group tickets also available.
The road train is one of three new tourism transport initiatives launched in Killarney this summer.
The double-decker Killarney Heritage Trail hop-on hop-off service and Killarney Shuttle Bus with routes to Muckross, Torc and the Gap of Dunloe were introduced earlier this summer.