Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I bought my plane ticket to Dublin last week. Yes, I'm going by plane. As pants as that is.

I tend to think it's a bit over the top to fly from Cardiff to Dublin considering the relatively small distance between. That's the ingrained Yanqui mindset, I suppose. I have trouble justifying flights of less than 500 miles -- a distance which could be covered in eight hours or less on American interstate. Admittedly, there is no U.S.-style motorway to be had in these parts, and there's the small matter of a choppy, cold sea lying between this island of rain and the one I'm planning to visit. But still. A plane seems arrogant and environmentally unfriendly. I would prefer to take a ferry.

But, you see, we here in Wales are quite expert at subtly drawing a line between saying and doing. So whereas Cynulliad politicians speak endlessly about improving the country's transportation network, they remain happy doing absolutely nothing to pull the country out of 1972. So, it takes six hours to travel the 150 miles between Cardiff and Holyhead, where the ferry to Dublin sets sail. Six fucking hours. That's an average of 25 mph. If I were Chris Hoy, I could get there faster on my bike.

It's a pity Mr. Hoy isn't available for hire; I could just strap a rickshaw to the back of his cycle. I'd get to Holyhead in style, on time, and not have to deal with all the people that show up on the train between Wrexham and Rhyl.

And, of course, once I get to Holyhead I then would have to actually take the ferry. Not an awful experience because ferries have pubs and plenty of space to walk around. But the pleasure of being on one is diminished greatly if you've spent all fucking day in a bouncy tube full of chavs and their feral children.

So I'm taking the plane. It will cost £30 more, but I've decided it's worth it.

I'm heading to Ireland for my birthday, because "I spent my birthday in Cardiff" is a phrase that impresses no one. Indeed it will draw you looks of pity from those in the know.

I'll be in Dublin from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, when I'll be hopping on a train and heading down to Cork to wander about until late Tuesday. So if you are in either of those places and keen to take part in the grand Irish tradition of buying me a bottle of Miller, let me know.

Even if no one thrusts an American beer into my hand (or, indeed, any other part of me) I am really looking forward to this trip. I am in need of a change of scenery. Wales is the Cleveland bus station of life -- not nearly as shit as you might think and full of interesting characters, but still not a place you should spend every moment of your life.

Actually, that could probably be said of most places. Sometimes leaving a place makes it worth returning to.

I'll be returning via ferry from Cork to Swansea, in part to ease my guilt over having taken a plane and in part because the ferry is overnight and cabins on the thing are relatively cheap. I'm going to sleep on a boat, yo.

Although, secretly I know it won't be nearly as cool as I am hoping it to be. Nothing ever is.


Dafydd Tomos said...

This should be Visit Wales's new slogan:

"Wales - not nearly as shit as you might think".

Unknown said...

6 hours and 150 miles? Where on earth did you get that from? It's 253 miles and 5 hours 9 minutes according to Multimap.

Rose said...

Happy early Birthday! Hope you enjoy it!
With a choice like: plane or train/ferry, I'd choose plane every time. Not just because I like flying, but because the actual trip wouldn't be cut short due to long travel. And with only a 30 quid difference, I couldn't argue with that.
And not many people can say they've slept on a boat, much less have been on one.
Also, with the conjunction of birthday/St. Paddy's Day/vacation, shall we prepare to receive drunken tweets? :)

Chris Cope said...

Jelly - It is roughly 150 miles as the crow flies. I would be taking the train, which takes roughly six hours. Especially if you add in the travel time from my house to Cardiff Central, and the fact that I have never been on a north-south train that arrived on time.

It can take considerably longer than six hours if I don't catch exactly the right train. If I leave my house at 7am, I will arrive in Dublin four hours later, with the bulk of that time being the trains from my house to Cardiff airport. If I were to leave at the same time and travel by train and ferry, I would be in Dublin just shy of eleven hours later.

Wierdo said...

I slept on the boat to dublin last week, it made the time pass wonderfully.

Also, I slept on a sofa, not in a cabin, so not as exciting.

Not sure what my point is, nevertheless, enjoy yourself, If I didn't have work to go to I'd have stayed another week

Dani said...

Have fun. Drink a Miller for me. But pretend it's a Lone Star.

Melys said...

There will be a gang of us Welsh in Dublin watching the rugby if you want to join us.