On the morning of Wednesday 25th July we were dropped at Coleraine Station and started out for Dublin. The train from Belfast to Dublin had the nastiest floor I’ve ever encountered on a train – a short pile carpet that was sticky at every step – like the worst of the old days in pubs.
But the journey was grand. The Ulster Way, a long distance foot and cycle path ran parallel to the railway for some time. We had seen the same trail on the Giants Causeway coast. Would be a great bike ride. After Newry we saw the Mourne Mountains, with heathy moorland tops. Then we are through the mountains and feel the train using its brakes as we drop down to the coastal plain and Dundalk. Here we passed a giant stainless steel Smithwickes plant – part of Diageo Global Supplies a sign said. Bring on the micro and smaller brewers please.
After Drogheda we are running parallel to the sandy coast. As we slowly move through the outskirts of Dublin we pass lots of blocks of newly built apartments. A table of 4 older ladies start talking about them.
‘Look at the – more like offices. They are empty and all the windows are open.’
‘And the builders will all be in liquidation, badly built and some of them not finished.’
‘Used that, what was it, pyrites. Cracks up after two years. Ceilings fall down, electrics badly done, they should be pulled down.’
‘Huge morgages, and its the young that have bought them, and for what? Rubbish.’
Back at the Kingfisher Hotel our Transylvanian receptionist welcomed us like old friends, handed us a key as she dealt with another couple, and told us to go on up. Nice.
Later that evening we went back to the gresham Hotel for dinner again, did it on our second night, over a week ago. The same waitress met us at the door and asked if we had enjoyed our trip. Very nice.
Between the two events we met up with Paul at the Black Sheep pub.
They have lots of local kegged ales and three English cask ales. I tried the Hobgoblin to show willing, but the Irish keg ales were more interesting.
Up at 6am on Thursday for the 7.30 bus to the ferry, and away on the 8.30 Swift. The journey went smoothly until the last leg – London to Brighton trains delayed and cancelled because of copper signalling cable theft. Still, only an hour late at home. What a grand time, but glad to be back.