Travel times to hospitals revealed by online map

TRAVEL time to an acute hospital for people living in Kerry, north Mayo or south west Donegal could be more than an hour, a mapping tool reveals.

The free interactive map, launched yesterday, allows users to pinpoint an area on the island of Ireland and discover its exact drive time from the various services.

The tool, developed by NUI Maynooth’s National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA), shows that average travel times to services in the North are generally lower than the Republic.

The time taken to reach a 24-hour full emergency hospital is 16 minutes in the North and 21 minutes in the Republic, on average.

The system, which provides street-level information on travel times, found that people living in Dublin are just an eight-minute drive from an acute hospital.

However, people in Arklow, Co Wicklow, are almost 43 minutes from emergency hospital services, compared to Bray where the travel time is nine minutes.

Belmullet in north west Mayo is over an hour from the nearest acute hospital; Templemore, Co Tipperary, is a 45 minute drive; Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, is around an hour, while Kilkee in Co Clare is almost 70 minutes from an acute hospital.

Rail access reveals a huge swathe of the island running north-west from Dublin to Fermanagh and into Donegal is an hour away from a train line.

Travel times to the nearest education services, such as primary and secondary schools, are roughly the same north and south of the border.

The map shows that most people on both sides of the border are a seven-minute drive from the nearest secondary school.

However, parts of west Mayo and the Iveragh peninsula in Co Kerry have the least accessible schools, with many areas more than half an hour away from the closest secondary school.

NIRSA director Prof Rob Kitchin said a key aim of the system was to make evidence around the distribution of services more accessible.

NUI Maynooth president, Prof Philip Nolan, said the new mapping system was world-class.

“It’s great to see a project make such a tangible contribution to the knowledge-base of the country,” he said.

Click here to use mapping tool

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