After returning the Lapland Bunting in Wrenbury, we did the wise thing and hired a taxi to get us and our luggage to Crewe. We overnighted at a hotel near the train station in Crewe and did enjoy at least one hot, all over, plentiful showers to soap away nine days of boating. Yes we had our own rooms. Then a longish walk to a pub for Sunday Roast and a chance to sleep in a real bed, with reliable electricity.
Overnight, the Irish Ferries did not disappoint us. Our ferry, the Ulysses, was running with no issues. We would be getting to Ireland, without a five hour layover in a hateful holding pen in Holyhead, unlike our outgoing trip. Skies were clear, winds were pleasant and the local news was filled with reporting of the damage caused by Storm Callum two days before. We did not avail ourselves of the complimentary copy of The Sun to see who’s titties would be featured on Pg. 3.
Again to a Virgin train, with their talking toilets and fine service, we train to Holyhead, then stroll the 90 meters to the Ferry Terminal to embark, stopping for a coffee at the same place as our outbound trip. This time, instead of the insane, we were merely accompanied by someone who needed a major adjustment to their prescription medications. Either the UK is filled with crazies, or we just seem to attract them. Perhaps we look too Canadian? Or, they behave that way because they are trying to speak in Welsh. For those who can, congratulations, but for the rest of it, trying to pronounce the words correctly hurts your mouth.
A shuttle bus boards the ferry and we seek out the Club Class forward.
The Ulysses was at one time the largest car ferry in the world and plies the Holyhead to Dublin route for Irish Ferries. On our outbound journey we saw not much more than a quick tour with our objective being sleep after a hellish flight over to Dublin. Plus, it was a dark and stormy night and nothing much to see of the Irish Sea. This time was different.
Club Class is reasonably plush, with free food and not free beer, but the particular joys of wide windows at the bow of the ship to allow you to see where you’re going. Food and beverage obtained, we settle in to see the Irish Sea.
We followed another ferry from Holyhead, also transiting to Dublin, the Stena something or other, which launched a few minutes before us. The safety briefing was conducted by the ostensible Captain of the ship, who near as we could discern was the Irish equivalent of The Simpsons’ Sideshow Bob, with the same sonorous voice and deliberate intonation. Perhaps he was hired for his public speaking traits, not his seamanship, as his comment regarding muster stations included “If we are sinking, you unwashed proletarians had best get the hell out of my way, or I will kill you with my bare hands”
One thing we have noticed on this trip is that the majority of positions of the ‘service’ industry are occupied predominantly by members of former Soviet Union countries, working away from home in more prosperous environments than their home countries. All pleasant and polite of course, with a willingness to serve well.
Captain Sideshow Bob kept the Ulysses well-aimed at the green stripe on the horizon and eventually we hit land, fortunately at the actual Irish Ferry Terminal in Dublin. This made unloading much easier, but the signage was now in Celtic as well as English.
Taxi to the hotel, the Paramount, near Temple Bar and we unpacked for two nights