Ferry to Dublin

by Britta on 29 January 2010

in European Adventure,The Freelancing Life

Mt. Snowdon, in North Wales

Mt. Snowdon, in North Wales

I took the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin a few days ago. I had been hiking in Snowdonia National Park (old training grounds for Sir Edmund Hillary before he attempted Everest) for three days before that, and getting to Holyhead (on the northwest tip of Wales) required a series of local buses and trains that took up most of the morning. I was already tired from my hikes, and hauling my gear (how did it get so heavy?) really didn’t help any. So when I made it through security and was ready to board the ferry, I didn’t put up a fight when the dockhand made me put my backpack on the conveyor belt to be loaded onto the luggage truck. The girl at the check-in counter hadn’t made me check the bag, and the prospect of walking all the way back up the long corridor, and going through security again, just to get a tag was so daunting I threw my bag on the belt and prayed it would make it to Dublin with me. Really, there was probably nothing to worry about, but worry I did. I was sure I would never see my bag again, was sure I’d spend hours with the customer service agents at the terminal trying to track it down, or that security would be tight and I’d get my bag but without a tag I wouldn’t get it out of the terminal. It was not a relaxing voyage.

The ferry itself was quite large, much larger than I expected, and the facilities on board made it seem like a mini cruise ship. It appeared that most of its passengers were truckers hauling goods around the British Isles. I sat near a guy who spent almost the entire trip on his cell phone, except for a brief period in the middle when he apparently didn’t get service. On the plus side, there was wifi on board, and I booked my hotel while I was floating in the middle of the ocean.

There were several foot passengers, and we had arrived via a shuttle bus which parked on one of the decks and which, apparently, we were supposed to reboard when we disembarked (though I only learned this by talking to the other passengers — God forbid the staff should give us any directions). When the ferry arrived in Dublin, I started down the stairs and bumped into a small group of other passengers who were also looking for the bus. We went down to Deck 3 but the bus wasn’t there. We went back up the stairs but we couldn’t open any of the other doors, so we made our way all the way to Deck 8, where we had to run across a crew work area to get to another stairwell, where we checked Deck 4 before going back up to Deck 5 and finally seeing the bus, with all of the other passengers on it.

When we arrived at the terminal, there were only three of us who were not Irish on board, one of whom was Mexican and another who was in the group with me that couldn’t find the bus. I ran into the Mexican girl near St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin the next day. I was the last one to have my passport checked and stamped, and that made me the last one into the terminal. And the last lonely bag circling on the conveyor belt was my backpack, tagless, but unharmed.

Dublin itself is a fairly compact city. I booked a single room in a small hotel for the first couple of nights, thinking my own space would help me sleep and recover after my hiking and ferrying adventures. Being in a new city, though, I couldn’t stay in, and I didn’t help myself by wandering over the entire city centre, looking at the sights, peeking into the museums and seeking out the good coffee. The Guinness didn’t require any seeking.

Monuments and pubs aside, Dublin seems like a city worth getting to know, except I’m a little tired at this point — more like exhausted, apparently 6 months of travel will do that to you — and am not giving Dublin or Ireland a proper chance. There’s so much to see, in the city, and the country, and I’m having a hard time mustering the enthusiasm I might have had even just a few weeks ago. That doesn’t mean I’m ready to stop traveling — far from it, in fact — but I do need to figure out how to recharge my batteries while I’m on the road. That’s one dilemma that I hadn’t counted on when I started out.

The little tasks, like planning where to go next, seem completely daunting, and though I want to see Ireland, I don’t want to figure out how to do it. I’m just going to have to find a place with nothing to see, and stay put for a few days. Though a U2 sighting while I’m in Dublin might have the same effect. We’ll see…

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Cindy January 31, 2010 at 5:19 pm

I knew you’d give U2 a shout out!!!!!
Send some photos. Check in when you can. Miss you much!!!
Love, Aunt Cindy

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