MAN Truck & Bus
Blue hour Shortly before sunrise, the blue hour lures the team out of their beds and up onto the deck. While the rest of the passengers are still sleeping, the morning sun rises silently and powerfully from the sea.
Land in sight After almost twelve hours of crossing, the ferry arrives at the port of Cork in Ireland. The harbor scenery is a popular photo motif.
MAN, what a boat! The ferry that is shipping our team and another 2395 passengers and 649 cars from Roscoff to Cork goes by the name of Pont-Aven.
We cast off around 23:00 and by the time we had settled into our four-square-metre cabin with bunk beds and uploaded the last photos and videos from France it was already past midnight. Still, there was plenty of time to pop up to the bar for a quick beer as a nightcap – it’s a Bavarian tradition. But when we got up there, the shock hit us! The ship is party central, the beer taps are permanently running, the solo entertainer is belting out a song – and Seamus from Ireland is dragging Jaqueline from France around the dance floor. We retreated quickly and drink our nightcaps wrapped up warmly by the port railings and then sink wearily into our pillows at quarter past two, rocked gently to sleep by the ship.
Stage 9 One bus, one team, two ferries: The road to Ireland.
After two and a half hours’ sleep, we are back up on deck again – on the starboard side this time. Dawn is just beginning to break at quarter past five – that soft, magical light just before sunrise. We are completely alone on deck – Seamus, Jaqueline and all the other passengers are still asleep – and we feel like Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet. “We’re the road trip kings of the world!” Once we’ve seen the sunrise, we hit the sack again for another two and a half hours, entering the port of Cork promptly at 11:00. The many colourful houses on the seaside promenade to starboard and the lush, green meadows to port leave us in no doubt: Ireland – here we are!
Strong teamwork has ensure that our bus and its crew have arrived safe and sound in Ireland. Now, I’m looking forward to the impressions still to come, and the electric bus Olympics at the International Bus Europe Test in Limerick.
Unspoilt nature, little villages and the rugged coastline dotted with tiny coves make the Copper Coast in Ireland’s County Waterford a popular tourist magnet. We’re enchanted too, departing from our planned route to make a detour for a brief moment. The Copper Coast is named after the copper mines that used to operate here. The region was named as a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2004. From Ballykeroge to Stradbally, then up to Mount Pleasant and back down to Rathinure and Kilmurrin Beach, where we enjoy a quick paddle. MAN, oh MAN, it’s bewitchingly beautiful here.
Toes in the sand Finally in Ireland! Finally not only seeing the sea, but dipping our feet in it. Oh, how nice it is to be on a road trip!
What a view Where land meets sea, eyes and thoughts wander into the distance. Yet the Copper Coast itself deserves attention: It’s a veritable geological museum, its rocks bearing witness to 460 million years of Earth’s history.
The greenest grass Just one horsepower, but just as lovable as the Lion’s City E: Horses are also a very sustainable means of transportation. Nonetheless, the team remains loyal to the E-bus. The horses can continue to feed with peace of mind.
At 15:30, we are finally reunited with the MAN Lion’s City E that we have come to love so much – not to mention our driver, Heinrich Degenhart. He positively beams when he sees us. “Finally, I’ve got passengers aboard again,” he says happily at Rosslare harbour.
A word about passengers: There is plenty happening in the electric bus sector on the Emerald Isle. The first fully-electric regular bus service was launched in Dublin in January 2020, with other cities following suit. Irelands National Transport Authority (NTA) has already ordered 200 electric buses and should have around 800 double-decker electric buses running by 2027, replacing their old diesel predecessors. It’s a similar story in the car sector: if it is up to the Irish government, there will be almost a million electric cars on the streets of Ireland by 2030 – and 1,500 electric buses. It’s not just the meadows that are green here.
Back ashore After a night on the cargo ferry, the Lion’s City E arrives safely in Ireland. Finally, the team is together again!
Head massage On arrival in Ireland, the Lion's City E gets a thorough window rub. Then it's off to the road.
Young driver The e-bus has only just arrived in Ireland, when it catches the attention of a young bus and car lover: Donal Dywer is 12 years old and excited to sit in the driver's seat.
There is an Irish song that is regarded almost as a kind of national anthem. The chorus goes: “Ireland, Ireland, together standing tall, shoulder to shoulder, we’ll answer Ireland’s call!” We can’t think of another song that better reflects what we have accomplished together over the last ten days on our fantastic journey from Munich to Ireland. We have stuck together as a strong team, finding a solution to every problem. We have become a close-knit, forceful unit over these 2,200 kilometres and more. We’ll conquer the final stage from Wexford to our final destination in Limerick tomorrow too. Shoulder to shoulder!