Today was all about getting to Dublin. Cork city, in County Cork. However, things didn’t go to plan. I belatedly discovered that there were rail strikes on for today, and that meant my very early train to Birmingham was cancelled.
I quickly discovered that my only real option was to travel the day before. To complicate things further, due to strike action, they suspended all seat and bicycle reservations, and I had no idea whether or not I’d get on the train with my bike!
Because of that, I got to Plymouth train station early enough to try an catch the 15:30 train, which I managed to do. My early celebration was premature though: just before Dawlish the train stopped because of a person on the tracks. Fortunately for her, police managed to get her to safety, but we were delayed quite a bit.
Later, after Bristol, the train stopped due to a technical error. The train driver walked to the rear of the train and managed to fix it! A short while later we were on our way again, but by then we were caught behind a far slower regional train.
This meant arriving late into Birmingham, where I’d booked into a hotel for the night. My train to Holyhead in the morning was by Transport for Wales, and unaffected by the rail strikes.
However, clearly I messed up oing the hotel booking, as it was for the following Thursday night. I was met by Dave (follow him on Twitter, as he’s a good guy) and he quickly arranged a different hotel for me,then showed me how to get there. Afterwards, we met up with my good friend Dom, and in the morning they both cycled meback to the train station.
The Chester Races were on, meaning the train was jam-packed! I don’t think I’ve ever been on such an overcrowded train in my life! However, at Chester the train emptied out and it was a pleasant journey to Holyhead.
The Irish Sea
I’m a landlubber that grew up very far from the ocean. Though I now live within walking distance from the sea (though still a bit of a hike) I’ve never properly been to sea. Previously, my biggest water journey was catching the Kingsand-Cawsand water taxy, between Cawsand and Plymouth. That doesn’t even leave Plymouth Sound!
As a result, I was quite excited for my first proper sea journey! I had no way of knowing whether or not I’d get seasick, but thankfully I didn’t. The journey was quite quick, and those ferries sure don’t hang about! Before long, I was watching Ireland come into view, and then we arrived in Dublin.
Dublin is an amazing city! I was metoff the ferry by 4 cyclists holding up I Bike Dublin signs. They were led by the awesome Alfred E Neuman, who you must follow on Twitter. He’d arranged accomodation in a hotel for me, then they took me to a pub. I will confess to still being more than a little inebriated as I’m writing this!
As you may know, I’m running a competition for the duration of this adventure. Full details about the competition are here, and I suggest you read that. The competition takes the form of a quiz, and starting with the next daily post, I’ll post a question.