Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

Worldcon 2019 Dublin -- Travel to Ireland

One week ago I was in Ireland. It seems like aeons ago now, so I must quickly blog my visit to the Dublin Worldcon before I forget all the details.

I had planned the trip meticulously. The hotel was booked via the convention's website, but I had to sort out how to get there. The first decision was whether to fly or get the ferry. I've been to Ireland twice before. The first time was as a student on a geology field trip and we travelled by ferry, the second time was for the Octocon SF convention held each autumn, and that time I flew.

After weighing the pros and cons, I decided on the ferry, but that still left the decision as to how to get to Holyhead. I could drive, but then the car would be parked for a week which would a) cost money and b) mean that G had no transport. He doesn't really drive nowadays and wasn't likely to need to go anywhere that required driving, but it still seemed silly to leave the car sitting in a car park for a week.

So that meant public transport.

It's really annoying that one can't get from where I live in the South of Gwynedd to the north of the county by rail. But after studying timetables, I decided on getting the bus to Bangor and then train to Holyhead.

It worked surprisingly well. The bus takes 2 hours to get to Bangor and you could drivie in 1.5 hours, but I discovered that buses are far more entertaining. For one thing it seems to be where all the Welsh speakers are. Interesting things happened on the journey, like the Latvian girl getting on at one of the villages we passed through. She seemed to have been adopted by 3 local women who explained to the driver (in Welsh) that she wanted to get to Beddgelert. A brief discussion (in Welsh) then ensued between the driver, the women and a chap calling out suggestions from the back of the bus, everyone finally came to the conclusion that she could catch a connection at Porthmadog. This advice was then relayed to the Latvian girl in English.

When we reached Porthmadog there was a moment of drama as someone spotted that the Latvian girl had left her purse on the seat and the driver had to chase her down the street in the rain to give it back. Later there was a moment of lesser drama as an old lady nearly forgot her umbrella, but it was quickly spotted by a child and returned to her.

I think I may make more use of buses as they are more fun that driving and, of course, with my bus pass they are free!

In Bangor the bus stops right outside the railway station and I didn't have long to wait for a train. The station on Holyhead has a exit leading into the ferry terminal and I was in plenty of time for the ferry.

There was minimal security, as compared to an airport, though they did X-ray my handbag and vaguely waved a wand thing around my person. Baggage check-in is much less hassle than in an airport because most passengers are travelling with their cars, so aren't checking in suitcases.

First glimpse of Ireland from the ferry.

First glimpse of Ireland

There must have been quite a few people on the ferry travelling to Worldcon. As everyone was standing up, preparing to disembark, I noticed that the chap who had been sitting next to me was wearing a Worldcon t-shirt. And then a woman who had been sitting somewhere behind came up and spoke to him, so I admitted that I was travelling to the convention too. It then turned out that the woman was staying in the same hotel as me and so we travelled on the bus to the city centre together and then successfully found where we were staying, which was a short walk from where the bus had dropped us.

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