Gort – Galway – Dublin Heuston – Dublin Connolly – Rosslare Europort

My stay in the mountains of Co. Clare passed in a flash. Great company, great food in a super location. I commented in the previous entry about loving the long distance views from Kayt and Chris’ place. On the second (and final) morning of my stay we awoke to mists which marked the route of the River Shannon. The view was simply stunning.

My Saturday morning train to Galway was heaving. I didn’t even get a seat. Fortunately it wasn’t a long journey. Like Limerick, Galway station is somewhat utilitarian, though with rather odd decoration on one wall.

I walked down the busy main shopping street, with buskers on every corner. Galway isn’t a place that I know well, but I only had a short time between trains, so I kept going, ending up at the harbour. The Spanish Arch is a rather odd structure, all that remains of a 16th Century defensive wall. The waterfront is a little way inland from Galway Bay, but is an attractive area, with plenty of people out enjoying the spring sunshine.

I found a lock leading to the inner harbour and from there walked along the line of the former Eglinton Canal as far as the next lock, which is now a cascaded weir.

The waterfront of the River Corrib is all rather attractive. The river has what seems to be a culvert running down the side, at a higher level.

I walked back through the city centre to the station and my train to Dublin. Now that I was on ordinary tickets, after the expiry of my Interrail pass, I’d had to book everything. One odd consequence of this was that my reserved seat had my name on the board above it, the only time on the whole trip that this happened. (needless to say it wouldn’t photograph properly!)

As the train left Galway, I got a brief view across the bay, which I’d not been able to see on the way in.

The journey to Dublin passed quickly. I had a bit of work to do, having been offline for a couple of days. I caught a glimpse of Athlone as we passed through, close to where I’d walked a few days earlier.

I’d long assumed that the name Heuston was a play on the name of a major London railway terminus, but it turned out that this is not the case when I looked into it. The station is in fact named in honour of Seán Heuston, an executed leader of the 1916 Easter Rising, who had worked in the station’s offices.

I jumped onto a tram immediately outside the station, rather than walking into the city centre. The Liffey is of course iconic, but it is also not a terribly attractive river, especially as it passes the Guinness factory, seen on the right as we left Heuston.

I got off the tram, and walked over the river and through the Temple Bar area. I’m not sure I’ve seen trip boats this far upriver before. The Rory Gallagher memorial is surely one of the oddest anywhere. I saw him live just the once in the early 80s. An extraordinary talent.

I’ve not walked through Trinity College in a while. As well as the usual tourists looking trying to get a look at the Book of Kells, there was a cricket match going on. Not what I expected to see. From here, I took a wide route via St Stephen’s Green. The opening scene of one of my very favourite films was shot at this entrance to the park.

I headed back via George Street Arcade which has a record shop that I’ve misspent many a happy hour in, though on this occasion, already laden with baggage, I resisted assorted temptations. The streets in this part of the city are lovely, and on a warm afternoon the cafés were doing good business.

I ate again at Grainger’s Cafe Bar, next to Connolly station. Their Guinness was as good the second time around as it had been a few days earlier, as was the food.

From Connolly the train quickly reaches the coast, passing the much missed Dún Laoghaire ferry port. I loved the Fastcat ferry to Holyhead, but it’s been gone for a good few years now and I doubt we’ll see it again.

After this, the weather turned quite misty and some of the potentially spectacular coastal views were a little muted. I enjoyed the last few miles into Wexford, along the banks of the River Slaney, but leaving the town is where it got interesting. The line goes along the seafront with the road on one side and promenade on the other, with minimal separation. It was only when I consulted Google Street Map, after visiting that I realised we weren’t actually going down the road, which is how it felt at the time.

By the time of our eventual arrival at Rosslare Europort, the end of the line, it was getting dark and I was one of only three passengers left on the train. The exit from the station is essentially a path to the ferry, but I was staying in a B&B until the morning.

There was not a lot to see in this small place, just a few (outrageously expensive) B&Bs plus houses for the ferry workers. I had a very early departure in the morning, so headed to bed shortly after arriving at my accommodation. Not a bad last day in Ireland.