Returning to Blighty from Dublin – the high speed way!

Published on 26 December 2009 in , , ,

Yes I know its Boxing Day, but I screwed up on my Ireland series and my attempts to publish all the posts before Christmas failed. I mean, I haven’t even got to pubs yet… I’ll try to keep this one short, okay? I mean, I really do hope you’re NOT reading this on Boxing Day…

On the way to Ireland we’d travelled by the World’s Largest Car Ferry. The return vessel was to be just a bit smaller. And faster. For we were going on The Dublin Swift – Irish Ferries’s fast ferry which knocks off an hour and a half off the journey time.

A Bigger Boat

Photograph by Eifion. Creative Commons licensed.

It sails at 0845 from Dublin so we had an early start to get from our hotel out to the ferry terminal. And then a lot of waiting round until we could check in…

Unlike the rather utilitarian Holyhead port, Dublin ferryport is a bit more spruce. I was, however, rather surprised to find that we still had to board the ferry by bus from the terminal building – the vehicle dumping us in front of the car entrance so we could walk on board. And in contrast to our outward journey where we’d had two lots of passport control on both sides of the Irish Sea, clearly no one in Ireland minded if we left.

It being early and not having had any breakfast, we headed to the onboard cafe for some grub, enabling me to enjoy sausage and white pudding as the ferry began to move.

Maybe this wasn’t the best idea but as I’d never travelled fast ferry before, I was unaware of just how bouncy these little vehicles get on the choppy sea – I’d later find out that for two days that week, conditions had been so bad that the Swift had been unable to sail.

As Catherine headed straight for her lying down position, I bravely decided to read my book until I realised that I was beginning to get the old sea sickness myself. Thankfully I found a solution. As long as I didn’t look out of the window, I was fine. Unfortunately almost all the seats pointed towards the glass on either side, but I eventually found a good position and got some good reading as we bounced along, as chairs revolved and as liquor bottles rattled in the on board shop.

Hmm, I thought. I wouldn’t like to do this in really bad weather. And this wasn’t great. Even the staff seemed to be struggling to walk straight.

I can’t remember having ever been really thankful to get back onto dry land (or Holyhead Port’s tatty bus) so much before – even more so when no one from passport control stood in front of me wearing a stab vest (clearly illegal immigrants don’t come from Ireland, especially on a Sunday morning) – and I was especially happy to find we’d got in earlier than expected and as such could get an earlier train to London. Oh and that the Virgin Voyager train’s coffee machine was working…

Funnily enough, I’m not sure I’ve convinced Catherine about ferries – and I’m less than convinced by tiny “fast” ones myself – but then maybe the key is to just do it overnight. After all, if you’re going to do the entire trip lying down, maybe it’s better to do it in a cabin…