Knowledge Fact-finding mission to Ireland 19 December 2023 Cycling News Back in November, the Dutch Cycling Embassy visited Ireland on a three-day fact-finding visit to see first-hand the current situation in the country regarding utility cycling. In recent years, large numbers of local authorities across Ireland have visited the Netherlands to learn about the role which cycling plays in its cities and towns. Given this, it was time that we did the same, to see what we could learn from their experiences and to better understand the context in Ireland. The delegation consisted of four experts from public and private organisations with experience in traffic engineering, street and public space design, product design, bike parking, and holistic consultancy in the field of mobility. These participants were Ton Kooymans from STREET-STUFF!, Dick van Veen from Dickvanveen, Lisa Haenitsch-Saxe from RVO, and Margot Daris from the Dutch Cycling Embassy. On the first day, the Dutch visitors took part in an engagement with South Dublin County Council. This included a site visit to Clondalkin, which is a designated decarbonisation zone and an area identified in which car trips need to decrease with 39%. On a delightfully clear blue-sky day, the delegation arrived by light rail, and then cycled through the town with the county council’s active travel team as well as a team from ARUP. Upon returning to Dublin in the afternoon, the delegation met with Irish Rail and then with Dublin Cycling campaign, who aim to promote a diverse cycling uptake. This can be done by campaigns such as Angie cycles which is a program to stimulate girls to cycle or a bike library which allows school children to loan a bike for a month. The following day the delegation was joined by the Dutch Ambassador, as they travelled south to Greystones in County Wicklow. On yet another beautiful day, the group met a team from Wicklow County Council and the group cycled along a route that took in the differing experiences of cycling in the area, including the shoreline and main street. Following County Wicklow’s visit to the Netherlands in October, it was great to reconnect with them and to see in person the situation they had described, as the route allowed the group to look at infrastructure and the new cycling initiatives, including the Safe Routes to School Programme. After a lunch in Wicklow, the group returned to Dublin, where they met with participants of the DCE network who are also based in Ireland: ARUP and Moby. The final day allowed for meetings with the National Transport Authority, Department of Transport, and Transport Infrastructure Ireland. It was clear from the day and previous days, that using a bicycle was not historically uncommon in Ireland, as it was as recent as 1980 people would frequently use a cycle for mobility. So, there is great potential for Ireland to follow a similar trajectory as the Netherlands. Like the Netherlands experienced, it requires cycling to be seen as a modern and sustainable form of transport and there are many different opportunities for this to happen. Indeed, the Transport Minister Eamon Ryan believes that Ireland needs to adopt a similar approach to the Netherlands when it comes to linking cycling and rail facilities, stating in October that Ireland needs to develop “what is available in Dutch towns and cities where there are massive bike parking facilities beside railway stations.” With several follow-up activities with Ireland already planned for 2024, we are excited to see the progress they make in their journey towards becoming a more bike-friendly country.