We’ve woken up here in Holyhead after a night in a very nice little bed and breakfast called Crossroads. They’re obviously used to people travelling to/from Ireland as the room’s set up with a little breakfast bar stocked with tea, coffee, cerals and fruit, plus juices. It’s very self-contained. I plumped for the healthy option and had the porage!We’re here because we’re catching the Stena Sealink ferry to Ireland this morning for a break (and to go to a wedding) in the Emerald Isle. We’re not travelling far as we’re heading for the Wicklow Hills on the coast South of Dublin. Stay with me and watch the day unfold…
Our Stena ferry’s on it’s way to Ireland. I have to say it was a very slick operation by them loading all the cars and lorries. Dawn was nervous as she’d never taken a car on a ferry before but the crew were great, directing her and aiding her to get exactly where they needed the motor. We’re now sat in the lounge on deck 8, watching the world go by.
We’ve landed in Dublin and heading South after what was a classic millpond crossing of the Irish Sea. I’ve never known it so calm!
It’s been a slow day for a rolling blog so I’m going to fill in much of the detail here. After leaving the ferry in Dublin we were both taken aback at just how good the weather was. We’d been expecting grey skies and probably some rain. Instead, we’d basked in the sun on the ferry over and the good weather stayed with us for pretty much most of the day.
This is the first time I’ve sailed into Dublin port and I was fascinated by some of the industrial archaeology, like this old power station (known as the ‘Pigeon House’ that opened in 1903 after being converted from an old army barracks. It lasted until 1976.
Next door are the two massive chimneys of the power station that replaced it – Poolbeg – which closed in 2010.
Getting out of Dublin port was a bit of a pain, as was heading out through the southern suburbs. Dawn drily observed that she’s never driven in a country that insisted on having traffic lights on every street corner!
After crawling out of Dublin, and with having plenty of time on our hands, we decided to take the scenic route and explore part of the coastal route via Dún Laoghaire. I remember it as the port that was the traditional gateway to Ireland. Nowadays the ferries have been replaced by fancy yachts as the town’s gone much more upmarket! There’s some beautiful buildings there and a real buzz due to the cafes, restaurants and shopping. Our next stop (albeit briefly) was Bray, which was a real disappointment. It felt like an Irish version of Blackpool and it was packed! So much so that all the car parks were full so we chose not to stay and wander up Bray Head but drive on to Greystones instead. We made the right choice. Greystones had a much nicer feel to it, more laid back, cosmopolitan and up-market. We decided to stay to eat and found a really lovely Spanish restaurant on the main street called ‘Las Tapas’. The large and well furnished interior’s complimented by tables on the street, which was a great place today, allowing us to sit in the suns and soak up the atmosphere of the town. The food was very good too. We ordered five different dishes and enjoyed every one. Both of us would recommend it.
Afterwards we drove the few miles down the coast to where we’re staying the night, in the hills just above Wicklow in a very nice self-contained Airbnb. By the time we arrived the weather was starting to turn. Our hosts informed us that a severe weather warning had been issued for overnight, so instead of wandering around the town we’ve elected to hunker down in their lovely room and catch-up with some work and the world.
You can find the first few pictures from Ireland in this gallery on my Zenfolio website. I’ll be adding to it regularly during the week – time, weather and wifi permitting of course! For now, it’s goodnight.