Here’s a new rail map for Dublin

A detail from the Dublin Rail map. Image: Chris Singleton/Richard Hart.

There has been something of a rail revival in Dublin in recent years, with a significant expansion of the city’s tram network and the re-opening of commuter rail lines. But graphic design has failed to keep up: go to any railway station or tram stop in Dublin and you’ll be struck by the lack of a map which highlights how all the various rail lines integrate with each other. Although route maps for individual services exist, it’s strangely difficult to find a comprehensive –and high-quality –map of all the rail routes in Dublin.

As a former Dubliner and somebody with a love for good design, this is a situation which has always bothered me, and for many years I wanted to create a new map which addressed these shortcomings. And when I read this Citymetric piece on Dublin’s new tram map, which described it as “a crime against cartography,” I felt the time had finally come to get on with this piece of work.

So, working with my good friend and fellow designer Richard Hart, I set out to create a new Dublin rail map that would:

  • include all rail and tram routes on one single map, along with Dublin airport bus information;
  • be of a similar quality to those found in major European cities like London, Paris and Berlin.

Importantly, we wanted to ensure that wheelchair accessibility information was included on the new map; the existing maps are very poor in this regard.

We also wanted to provide clear information regarding which stations provide bike and car parking – again, something which is not really present on existing maps.

We also decided to include the two key Dublin airport bus routes on the map, to make it easier for visitors to the city to understand where they could switch onto other modes of public transport.


Design decisions

In terms of the aesthetics, we drew considerable inspiration from the London Underground map, believing it to represent the gold standard of design in public transport maps.

However, we wanted to ensure that our map had its own character: hence the green colour scheme (as you might expect, green is often used on Dublin train liveries) and the choice of an alternative typeface to the Tube map’s famous Johnston font.

For the typeface, we plumped for the appropriately named Transport, designed by graphic design heroes of ours, Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert. Transport is a font which will be familiar to Dubliners, being used on all road signs across Ireland, but it also arguably has a more modern “feel” than Johnston. With the pace of change in Dublin being pretty intense at the moment – not just in its transport system, but in terms of urban development, too – we wanted to ensure that the design of the map reflected this sense of modernity, and we thought that the clean, sans-serif Transport font would help us in this regard.

We also wanted to make improvements where possible on the London Underground design – notably in the station index for the map. On the LU map, the grid reference comes before the station name; on ours, we made the assumption that users of the index will be attempting to locate a station name first in order to find the grid reference, not the other way round.

The full map. Click to expand.

A new website for Dublin public transport

During the course of our map design project, it became apparent that Dublin wasn’t just missing a map, it was missing a website too: there isn’t currently a TFL or RATP style transport portal for the city, where information about all the forms of public transport in the capital can be found.

In order to rectify this — and also to provide a home for our new map — we created a new Dublin public transport website, which aims to give users:

It’s my hope that both the new map and website will make travelling around Dublin on public transport considerably easier for both residents of and visitors to the city.

It would be wonderful to see a large poster version of our rail map displayed at every train and tram stop in Dublin, but even if it just has a life as a PDF on a lot of passengers’ phones, I’ll be happy.

Chris Singleton runs the digital communications and design blog Style Factory and when not doing that, fronts London-Irish art-rock band Five Grand Stereo. His new rail map and Dublin public transport website can be accessed here.

 
 
 
 

Wild boar are moving back to Genoa, and not everyone is pleased

A wild boar, c1933. Image: Getty.

Crossing the Ponte Gerolamo Serra in the Italian city of Genoa, I spotted a small crowd clustered by the river wall. I approached, intrigued, and peered over the wall to discover the subject of their delight: a sounder of eight wild boars – the adults sheltering from the heat in the undergrowth, while the juveniles foraged among the foliage that grows in the river bed during the dry summer months.

In any other city, such a sight might have been surprising. But in Italy, and particularly in the region of Liguria, where Genoa is located, the population of wild boars has been increasing at such a rapid rate that these incidents are now common. Across the country, it’s estimated that the population has risen from 600,000 to 1m over the past decade.

But while wild boars may look comically out of place trotting about the city, it’s actually a natural result of the way people have migrated – and the wars they have fought – over the course of recent history.

Making a comeback

A species native to Europe, the wild boar (or “cinghiale”, in Italian) largely disappeared from its historical territories during the 18th and 19th centuries. Their decline was widely attributed to the combined effects of habitat change, competition for space and resources and, of course, hunting.

Wild boars were a prized quarry, revered for their ferocity – and the danger involved in pursuing them. According to local folklore from the region of Liguria, the last truly wild boar was hunted and killed in 1814, in the province of Savona.

After an absence of more than a century, wild boar began to return to Liguria, and to the neighbouring region of Piedmont. A further influx occurred during World War I, when it’s believed that military activities in the south-east of France forced parts of the population back into Italy over the Alps.

Although hunting fraternities were quick to augment this fledgling population with wild boars transported from elsewhere, the return of the species was primarily due to natural causes. From the 1950s onwards, traditional agricultural practices were abandoned as more and more people moved from rural towns into the cities. This meant that large areas of formerly cultivated terraces and pastures were rapidly overgrown, fast becoming dense secondary woodlands.

A city gone wild

This spontaneous “rewilding” has become a controversial issue in the region. Many conservationists and environmental organisations consider the region’s return to a “wild state” a success. But others believe that the encroaching wilderness signals a loss of traditional woodland knowledge and a reduction of biodiversity, associated with the pastures and meadows.


The province of Genoa is among the areas most densely populated by wild boar in Italy, with an estimated 25 boar per 10km². Rewilding processes have brought woodlands to the city limits, blurring the boundary between rural and urban areas. The species has expanded beyond the hinterlands, colonising highly urbanised, densely populated city spaces in Genoa, drawn by the abundance of food waste created by humans.

In 2009, the infamous boar Pierino made his home at Righi, on the outskirts of Genoa, where he was routinely fed with focaccia by enthusiasts. Today, a family of wild boar call the Albergo dei Poveri – a historical hostel for the Genoese poor in the city centre – their home.

But while their antics are often recorded and shared with glee on social media, the threats posed by the presence of wild animals has become a preoccupation for the city’s municipal administration.

Boorish behaviour

Wild boar have been involved in a number of traffic accidents, and have proven to be particularly dangerous when with their young, attacking dogs and even people. The city council in Genoa has put forward many proposals to reduce the number of animals in the city, ranging from forced removals, to sterilisation, increased attention to waste disposal and approved hunts. About 90 wild boar were reportedly culled in 2018.

Needless to say, each of these measures has been hotly debated. Animal advocacy groups staunchly oppose the proposals, and sometimes obstruct the authorities’ attempts to take action, often sending patrols to care for the animals, and even give them names. But other residents are displeased with the animals’ presence in the city, and have consulted with the council on how to address the problems that they cause.

And so Genoa continues to grapple with thorny issues surrounding the presence of wild boar in the city, with the city authorities seeking to resolve a polemical issue that embroils the lives of animals and humans alike. So far, a collective, coherent and communally agreeable strategy has proven evasive; one that considers the need for public safety, hygiene and health with the ethical responsibilities towards to wild boar themselves.

Meanwhile, the animals themselves continue to lounge and forage beneath the Ponte Gerolamo Serra and elsewhere, bringing a little of the wilderness into the city.

The Conversation

Robert Hearn, Assistant Professor in Human Geography, University of Nottingham.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.