Google+ The Norris Files: The Irish Mail


The Irish Mail

This morning I toook a short tube ride to Euston station to catch the 08:50 125mph Virgin train to Holyhead. Although Virgin have chosen not to name their train this is the famous Irish mail and follows the route (although in reverse for my trip) of many generations of Irish immigrants. I didn't realise that the train operated two classes so I had only booked into coach class. Bad idea! I was mixed in with screaming, crying kids so I probably didn't enjoy this train trip as much as I might have

After leaving Euston station the train sweeps through the Buckinghamshire and Northhamptonshire countryside with frequent glimpses of canal boats on the Grand Union Canal alongside the railway. Some hours later the train left the town of Chester and passed the towns historic city walls. The train then started to follow the north Wales coastline, often just a short stones throw to the ocean. At one point we passeed the an old ferry moored seemingly in the middle of nowhere. It was the ferry 'Duke of Lancaster" brought here as a floating nightclub but now just rusting away. I found this stretch of coastline quite desolate and depressing, not at all hepled by the numerous gauwdy and cheap carnivals dotted alomg the coast complete with merry-go-rounds and ferris wheels.

As the train entered the pretty town of Conwy we passed directly under the walls of Conwys impressive castle. Finally, before arriving in the port of Holyhead the mountains of Snowdonia are visible in the distance. Arriving at Holyhead we were transferd by shuttlebus onto the 50,000 ton Irish Ferry 'Ulysses' for the approx 3.5hr trip across the Irish sea to Dublin.

The conditions were posted as rough to moderate seas but apart from a bit of swell leaving Holyhead it was calm sailing. The ferry was huge with numerous restraunts, pubs, shops and places to gamble. Not really my scene, plus as your in the middle of the Irish Sea there is very little to see so I jsut stretched out and dozed.

A few hours later the ferry entered the wide Bay of Dublin with Dun Laoghaire harbour to my left and the the dark purple Wicklow Hills in the distance behind it, and the town of Howth to my right. After disembarking I caught a bus to Dublin centre and then a taxi to my hotel located in the Temple Bar area.

The hotel was a bit difficult to find as the Temple Bar area of Dublin has preserved its medievil street patterns with narrow cobbled streets that are easy to get lost in. Eventually I found the hotel, had dinner, tried to contact Nick unsuccessfully then went to bed. Well, I went to bed but couldn't sleep as the Temple Bar area is known for its nightlife and there was an Irish Pub underneath my window in the alley below complete with Irish music at full volume. Around 02:00 I took a sleeping tablet and that was the last thing I remember.

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