Iarnrod Eireann

Dublin, Ireland | C.1987

Photo Credit: David Maguire

Embracing the Irish language, the organization known as Iarnrod Eireann (IE), which translates to “Irish Rail” in English, operates Ireland’s national rail way. Established in 1987, the railway provides passenger and freight rail services across the country.

When the IE was first opened, it actually went by its English name, Irish Rail. In 1994, it began using the Irish version, Iarnrod Eireann. After officially re-branding, the IE continued to use both language variations. While Irish speakers are often found in the Gaeltacht regions of the country, where the language is used predominantly, it is estimated that 4% of the population speaks Irish daily.

Since the IE provides transport to the entire country, their bilingual branding remains useful to this day. With three passenger service lines, the InterCity, Commuter and DART, the IE can transport passengers from within the inner city of Dublin to places as far as Galway, Cork, Sligo, and beyond. It also provides service between Dublin and Belfast, Northern Ireland, in conjunction with Northern Ireland Railways.

In another nod to its country’s history, many of the IE stations are named after leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, an attempt by Irish Republicans to end British rule in Ireland and establish an independent Irish Republic. These stations were renamed in 1966, on the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising.

Through its continued use of the Irish language and acknowledgment of its country’s past, the IE honors Ireland’s history with each train car and station they pass through. Today, its 547 train carriages serve 48 million people each year.

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