Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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To The Trains! (And Castles)

Today was our only full day that we had mostly to ourselves to explore the Dublin area without having to worry (much) about Worldcon. Lisa proposed that we go out and ride trains. I have, I think, written about the All the Stations team of Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe, who originally traveled to every railway station in Great Britain (the island, not the country), then last spring did All the Stations Ireland (the island, not just the country), and then as they hit a stretch goal, All the Stations Isle of Man (only three videos in that set). We looked at their Ireland videos and choose to ride the DART commuter rail down to Bray.

After breakfast, we went to the General Post Office, but not to visit the historic site and tour the exhibits, but for the mundane task of mailing the Small Banner of WSFS (which won't fit into my luggage in its poster tube) back to Fernley. I did this after Helsinki and it took a month to make it home. I wonder how long it will take this time for the poster tube to make the trip. This is the same tube, so I didn't have to even re-address it, just tape the ends shut again. When it gets home, I need to remember to cut it down (it's longer that the banner is high by several centimeters) and see if I can get it small enough to fit into my luggage, as I'm charged with getting the thing to Wellington next year.

I had forgotten that our Leap Visitor transit cards had expired and could only be extended at a few limited locations. (Ordinary Leap cards, which are stored-value rather than unlimited-ride, can be purchased/filled at many places.) Annoyingly, one of those few places is not the Connolly Railway Station from which the trains leave, so by the time we got there this morning (late, because we slept all the way to 9 AM) and discovered the mistake, rather than going back to the Tourist Center on O'Connell Street, we instead just bought a couple of day returns to Bray and caught the next train heading that way.

Bray Station

Here we are at Bray Station, which is not exactly the end of the line but the place where this particular DART commuter rail route ends.

Trainwatching Bear

This is what it looked like from the train as we headed down the coastal line. It was a gray, dreary day with intermittent rain, but we soldiered on through it.

Bray Beach

We walked along the promenade toward Bray Head, visible in the distance.

Bray Head

We walked part-way up toward Bray Head, but we did not have the energy to try hiking clear to the top. Instead we looked back the way we came. You can't see it in this photo, but we could see the forest of cranes back in Dublin from here.

Railway from Bray

The railway, which is double-track from Dublin, is single beyond Bray.

Breakfast at Bray

Walking into the Bray town centre, we stopped at Molloys Bakers And Coffee and had their mini breakfast and tea for lunch. It tasted very good, but unfortunately it disagreed with Lisa's digestion later.

Train Departing Dalkey

Returning to the railway, we went as far as Dalkey after receiving assurance that a day return ticket allowed intermediate stopovers. We were here to look at something that Vicki Pipe explored in one of the All the Stations Ireland videos.


We walked from the railway station toward the Dalkey town centre.


I liked this historical library building in Dalkey's main shopping street. Apparently there was also a tram line that once ran down this street.

Dalkey Castle

This is Dalkey Castle. It's actually more of a large fortified house. We would have liked to take the tour, but (and we'd not checked in advance) it turns out that the castle is closed on Tuesdays.

Daley Tramyard Stub

The tram line that once ran down the main street once rolled here into a tram yard. The area has apparently been sold to a developer and presumably will be torn up and rebuilt. The All the Stations video that includes the Bray and Dalkey station also includes footage of Vicki Pipe taking pictures of this very spot, and I could not resist walking in her tracks. (Pun intentional.)

Alas, about this time Lisa's lunch choose to object to her. Public restrooms appear to be at a premium here, so we went into a pub and I paid for a Diet Coke to justify the use of their toilets and for me to use a bit of their wi-fi while we rested and stayed out of the rain that had gotten much heavier about this time.

I tweeted out the photos above, tagging @AllTheStations and Vicki's Twitter account as well, and I was pleased to get a "like" back from Vicki (and presumably also Geoff) later. This isn't the first time we've crossed virtual paths. As some of you might recall, we were wearing our All the Stations t-shirts on our train exploration of the railway museum north of Helsinki and tweeted out a photo of Lisa admiring the seat moquette (Vicki enthuses about seat moquette patterns), and we got a like from her then as well. They're people we'd love to meet if we can arrange for our paths to cross someday.

Returning to Dublin on the DART, it was too late to do anything about our visitor Leap cards. I ended up buying a regular pair of stored-value Leap cards, but it grates me to do so, due to the wasted money. However, we did have a few more rides on transit to make.

Shear Madness

We were bound for the Docklands again, and on a whim decided to go to the Gibson Hotel because we wanted to take a photo of this sheep that we were dodging while going to/from the Business Meeting.


What I didn't realize was that the sheep (and this newspaper) is portable and moves from place to place in the hotel.

After our final visit to the hotel (and their toilets), we first thought we'd try The Boat restaurant moored near the Convention Centre Dublin, but it turned out that they were all booked up for a private party. So instead we went to the Lagoona Restaurant where Lisa had gone to dinner with most of the Business Meeting staff on Thursday (I couldn't attend because of my commitment to the live coverage of the Opening Ceremony/Retro-Hugos.) To our delight, David W. Clark was having dinner there as well, so we joined him. Lisa and I both had the hearty steak and Guinness stew, and enjoyed it considerably. After a nice unrushed dinner (a delight in itself after days of inhaled meals and food bars in lieu of dinner), we bade Dave good night and boarded the Luas, possibly for the final time, and went back to the hotel.

Lisa went to bed, but I wasn't done yet. There were two more WSFS Business Meeting videos to upload, and I had finally worked out how to get to the place where I could upload them without having to walk there. But I wasn't sure how late the buses run, so I headed off to that location and hoped it would not take too long. Fortunately, with only two videos (plus the short Worldcon Chairs Photo Session video) posted to the Worldcon Events Channel, my commitments to the WSFS Business Meeting for Dublin 2019 were mostly done. I was relieved that the buses were still running as midnight neared, as it was only about a ten minute ride back downtown, and the bus stop turned out to be very close to my hotel. Had I realized this five days ago, I think my feet might hurt a little less today and the blister on my left foot might be a bit smaller.

I got back to the hotel just before Midnight. Tomorrow morning we have to tray to cram everything back into our luggage, get over to Connolly Station (it's less than a 1 km walk, but if we're rushed or it's raining, we'll probably take a taxi), and take the train to Belfast. Unfortunately, the Enterprise service will turn into a bus at the Border due to track work in Northern Ireland. Other people are taking bus-only trips that are cheaper, but we've decided that half a rail trip is better than none.
Tags: ireland, trains

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