It would seem I spoke too soon about IarnrÃ³d Ã‰ireann’s internet seat booking system. In practice you can reserve seats using this system but when you get onto the train there may be no indication to other passengers that the seats are reserved. This happened to us coming back from Galway to Dublin last Sunday and rather than arguing with the hen party that was already encamped in our seats we just moved to the next available seats.
We had the luxury of doing this because we were pretty early. Of course the seats we ended up in were probably reserved too so there were some very puzzled looks when later passengers arrived. The only explanation we could offer was that everyone else seemed to be sitting where they pleased. BTW, this wasn’t a one off – the last time we got a train back from Galway to Dublin the station we had also reserved seats but the staff instructed us to ‘just sit anywhere’.
Meanwhile, most of the station staff were busy loitering on the platform not caring less about the confusion and frustration throughout the train. Well done lads, great job, very helpful.