Down the Coast by Train to Rosslare Port

August 6, 2015 - Wexford, Ireland

We were looking forward to this little stage of our journey. The rail journey from Dublin to Wexford and on to Rosslare Port is one of the fabulous coastal rail links built by Isombard Kingdom Brunel. The track follows the coast for a long way, first clinging to the coastal cliffs and burrowing through small headlands before descending to the coastal strand. It is then alongside the beach most of the way to Wicklow before heading inland through Rathdrum going up one river valley and down another to return to the coast near Arklow then heading inland again via Enniscorthy to follow the River Slaney down to Wexford and along the coastal strip to Rosslare Strand and Rosslare Port.

We had travelled this route in 2013 in the opposite direction but this time it was school holidays, summertime and we were starting from Dublin so the train was crowded. We were already to late to have one of the table seats but that was a good thing as then we would have shared with strangers or felt obliged to give it up for families. As it was we found seats facing in the forwards and with the help of a friendly and chatty railway employee (guard, conductor or just public relations?) stowed our bags in the overhead racks. He seemed concerned that we should keep the bags within sight or touch so he must have seen or heard of luggage being taken.

The almost three hour journey was filled with photographic attempts from behind glass in a moving train. A recipe for frustration as trees, posts and bridges seem to fill every frame. I solved this in part by setting my camera to the Action programme and setting it to take bursts of eight frames at a time. Even then I was sometimes seething as we entered a cutting or just a series of bushy edges that filled all eight frames. Hopefully we will have a couple of fair attempts between the two of us.

When we arrived at Rosslare Port we rang the Lodge to let them know we were about to walk up so they could let us in. They don't normally open the doors until 4pm but the obliging owner was waiting when we arrived and let us in to sit in the lounge, have a hot drink and to take advantage of the WiFi connection. That gave us plenty of opportunity to catch up the journal while he organised for our room to be prepared.

Somewhere around 3pm we moved to the room even though we had been informed that it was ready a while beforehand. Just too engrossed in the journal and some research. The rooms are large and simply furnished with modern light coloured timber fittings, somewhat lacking in character after last night's hotel in Dublin or the luxury of Le Meridien in Abu Dhabi, but perhaps 'modern functional' is a fair description.

We spent most of the remainder of the afternoon in our room catching up more of the journal as there is little else to do in Rosslare. Acting on the advice of Jonathon, our host, we left about 6pm and took a 10 minute walk up the road to Culletons Pub in Kilrane to find something for dinner. 'Not the first pub but the second for a decent feed' he told us. Without a basis for comparison we can't comment on that but the Bangers & Mash was everything we had been hoping for and washed down with a Guinness that we both agreed was somehow smoother and creamier than the one last night.

While we ate we were also eavesdropping on conversations of the couples at tables to either side of us and trying to guess nationalities. This seems to have become our pastime. To my right sounded a little French but we could not understand any phrases so perhaps Belgian and when he spoke to the waitress in English he had an accent similar to Dutch. Still not sure. On the other side, Margaret heard French but in fact they were talking about France and spoke in French for a while but she was English with a northern accent I thought but his I couldn't hear clearly enough to tell. Margaret saw an opening and remarked to him on his T shirt - a Kiwi shirt saying something about giving the Aussies a chance for the cup this time. Margaret thought it was from an English point of view and after the Australian batting debacle this morning perhaps a bit pointed. The owner of the shirt told us he got it in NZ and that he was actually Welsh. He then acknowledged that he had been to New Zealand and Australia because he was a cave diver and visited for the caving. We talked a fair bit about caving and diving and had a good chat before they had to leave to get the evening ferry back home. We exchanged email addresses and it turned out that he is a world authority on cave diving with many books to his name and many kilometres of exploration to his credit. Funny how you can find areas of common interest in the strangest of places.

We paid our bill which came to a remarkably Irish number, Dirty Tree and Dirty, before walking back in the evening light to get some sleep in preparation for our ferry trip in the morning.



Tidal harbour on the way out of Dublin
Pastoral scene on the Wexford Line
The passing scenery
Wexford is dressed up for the holidays
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