August 20th, 2019

Beware of Trains

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.