The national railway
of the Republic of Ireland
. The name is in Irish, and means 'Irish Railway' (lit. Irish Iron Road). Iarnrod Eireann operates both the stations and the trains throughout the Republic of Ireland.
Northbound trains to Sligo and a cross-border service to Belfast operate from Connolly Station in Dublin. Trains to destinations in the south and west such as Cork operate from Heuston Station, although an Intercity service to Rosslare ferry port runs from Pearse Station.
The trains are generally huge orange and black Locomotives hauling a rake of about seven very rickety looking Mk 3 carriages. The trains badly need a lick of paint or at least a good wash. Smaller commuter services are operated by four DMU unit trains; and around the Dublin area, electric DART trains. This is the only place in the entire country where the trains are electrified, Ireland having a grand total of 35km of electrified track.
Services are fairly frequent and there is a great deal of work being done both to improve the facilities and the trains themselves.
The most interesting thing I've seen on the railway was a modified carriage with a driver's cab on the end, to enable back and forth operation without having to run the loco around the train after each journey. It's quite strange looking.
What I found most interesting is how the service seemed superior to that I've experienced in England and Wales, despite Iarnrod Eireann having much older equipment and a much smaller budget to work with. Railtrack should take note.
Update: Thank you to all the people who explained that Gaelic and Irish are NOT one and the same, I apologize for that, I always thought there was ScotsGaelic and IrishGaelic. Sorry. And thank you Dreamvirus for the translation of 'Iarnrod', I thought I was close :)
A co-worker from Sligo has informed me that the journey, via train, from Dublin is one of the worst in the world... she's going tomorrow so I'll see what she says when they get back