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  • 26-04-2023 5:11pm
    Registered Users Posts: 373 ✭✭

    Is hitchhiking a viable mode of transport in this day and age? I have a nephew who is 19 and staying with me at the moment and to save on transport he wants to hitch lifts around the country. Also wants to meet new people who instead of just getting a bus or train.

    Where would be the best spot in Dublin to get lifts towards Donegal/NW? The M50 junction ramps? Would truckstops be a good bet to ask truck drivers directly to ride along as a passenger for as far as they are going?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,400 ✭✭✭beachhead

    Pedestrians are banned from motorways including ramps.A large sign required with destination listed used to work but on "rural" side of the M50 Good luck with it all.Prob facebook group doing it

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,657 ✭✭✭✭banie01

    Meet new people instead of just getting a bus or train? He does know that the public use public transport and that they're people? I mean it is the "public" he wants to meet? It's far safer to talk to a fellow passenger, than it is a driver?

    Not that I'd worry about them being victim to a hitchhiker killing serial killer. Rather that distracting a driver on N roads is a risk and hitchiking on motorways and on ramps is a no-no.

    Public transport also affords a degree of time certainty that a young lad juggling work, college, gf/bf and a social life will value far more than a story spun by an auld fella after 4 hrs on the thumb in the rain.

  • Registered Users Posts: 373 ✭✭dublincc2

    Would there be many from Dublin heading out Donegal direction?

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,107 ✭✭✭LambshankRedemption

    Genuine question: Is this a wind up?

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,317 ✭✭✭gameoverdude

    Plus nobody's picking up a stranger.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,899 ✭✭✭✭Furze99

    Hitching a lift was common not so long so. It was on the wane and Covid kinda killed it, who'd want the risk then? Wonder will it recover at all here.

    Better success on rural roads but drivers likely not going very far on these. Tell your nephew to take the bus or train for long distances but they could chance their arms on more local routes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,070 ✭✭✭✭whisky_galore

    Nowadays it's just the odd young tourist, or crustys or 'professional drinkers' go hitchhiking.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,107 ✭✭✭LambshankRedemption

    And even then a relatively short distance. No-one in their right mind would try to do it from Dublin to Donegal. You could easily end up stranded in the middle of nowhere.

    I last hitch-hiked about 15 years ago, It took me 2 hours to go about 10 miles. The first hour and a half were just stood with the thumb out. I got the finger in turn from countless passing cars.

  • Registered Users Posts: 397 ✭✭the14thwarrior

    there are no truck stops in ireland. the odd gas station on a motor way in the middle of nowwhere, I'm guessing you are from USA.

    i wouldn't recommend it, if he doesn't get a lift, what will he do? easily get stranded middle of nowwhere, in the lashing of rain, if he does it, good luck.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,639 ✭✭✭John_Rambo

    I pick up hitchers the odd time, especially when I'm on my own. Last time was two French backpackers was in Strokestown (I think) to Achill.

    (waits for the murderer jokes)

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  • Registered Users Posts: 16,070 ✭✭✭✭whisky_galore

    It would work on well-trodden tourist trails if you don't have time constraints, just not Dublin-Donegal. Might have to rough it and camp if you got stranded.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,107 ✭✭✭LambshankRedemption

    I can't actually imagine where you would start on a Dublin to Donegal route.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,786 ✭✭✭DownByTheGarden

    I used to pick up hitchhikers because in my youth i often hitched.

    Last time though about 5 years ago I stopped for a guy and a a girl came out of the ditch too and jumped in when I stopped.

    The smell off the two of them. And they were just weird too. I got a very bad ibe off them. And I let them out at the next town and said i had to do some work there. I had to drive with the windows open for weeks and the smell stayed. I ended up getting it valeted.

    Never stopped for anyone after that and I dont think i will now either.

    There was a lad at work who was always moaning about cars and motorists and only cycled. He used to arrange his hitchhiking in advance. whenever a bunch of us were going away anywhere for a weekend of drinking he would be trying to bum a lift off all of us that were going. I got caught with him a couple of times and he spend the whole trip mioaning about cars and big oil. It wasnt long before noone would give him a lift. We just all made up excuses that we were visiting relatives on the way or whatever and might not arrive til late.

    All that said though, I think there are probably websites where you can say you are going somewhere and drivers can let you know they are going too if they want some company or to share petrol costs.

  • Registered Users Posts: 851 ✭✭✭Boardnashea

    I spent my fair share of time on the side of the road with my thumb out. All round Ireland and across Europe a couple of times. Very few negative experiences.

    I will still pick up people on the road occasionally, occasionally tourists, but there are very few out there. I would love to see it getting popular again but I don't see that happening unfortunately.

    I wouldn't worry too much about a young lad going out. If it does take him 3 days to get to Donegal, he might try a different way of getting home.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,070 ✭✭✭✭whisky_galore

    They have those lift share websites in Australia, public transport to outlying rural places wouldn't be great.

  • Registered Users Posts: 500 ✭✭✭interlocked

    Back on the mid nineties, I used to thumb to and from work. It was a fair bit away with different roads involved. I worked out at one stage that I was averaging between a 1000 to 1500 lifts a year. A lot were regulars that would expect to see you. But a lot were completely random. It was just the norm then, you'd meet great people, have great chats. People didn't blink an eye at people thumbing. There would be a line of people thumbing out of most towns. But, the peculiar thing was that it disappeared completely in a very short time. Call it a metaphor for the country getting more wealthy, I suppose.

  • Registered Users Posts: 523 ✭✭✭91wx763

    I hitched from Rosslare to Waterford only last autumn !!!

    It's a cunning plan I devised and perfected and have used many times. The ferry docks, I'm first off, high speed and up to where the railway turntable is, bit of card with "Waterford/Port Láirge" on it (the irish catches the eye). If no luck when all the traffic has passed go back and get the bus.

    The other way is always get chatting to someone on the ferry about having to wait for the bus,"Shur I'll drop you off...".

  • Registered Users Posts: 607 ✭✭✭lordleitrim

    I think hitchhiking was last common in the 1990s. You rarely see many doing it in the last 25 years or so. I'd say that means you have most drivers under 50 never or very rarely being in a situation where they'd stop and pick up a complete stranger and it would just feel like an alien thing to do and therefore simply wouldn't do it nowadays.

    That consequently means the few hitchhikers who still brave it find it far more difficult to find someone to stop and give them a lift. I think on local or minor roads between villages or village and main town, you've a better chance. As most cities and large towns are interconnected by motorways and dual carriageways or simply bypassed nowadays, trying to find a driver to bring you to a different county or or even part of the way is next to impossible. A driver going to Cavan doesn't want to get off the motorway to drop you 5 miles in to Navan and the ensuing gridlock unless they're a really good Samaritan!

    The whole heightened safety culture of the risks of getting into cars with strangers/ false accusations etc also didn't exist back then so getting and giving lifts was not seen as a risk generally.

    Finally, far less people (and people they knew) had cars years ago so hitchhiking was a normal mode of getting from A to B as it was often the only option. As far more people have cars nowadays and have siblings/friends/neighbours who alao are more likely to have cars, they have more people to rely on for lifts than off strangers.

    P.S. How did OP think off ramps of the M50 might be a viable option for getting lifts????

  • Registered Users Posts: 851 ✭✭✭Boardnashea

    Back in the day motorway ramps were all fair game. Not sure I would be so brave now!

    Motor services were also a good feeding ground around europe. You could wander around the refueling area spotting number plates from your destination.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,957 ✭✭✭kirk.

    Hardly worth the hassle now with car insurance if there's an incident

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