Thursday, July 13, 2006

Arrival in Dublin

Yesterday morning I packed up my tent for the last time and headed to Jersey Airport for my relatively cheap BA flights to Dublin. Rozel Camping ground had been a good place to stay for 11 days: the people running the camp and other campers were friendly and I enjoyed being under the rural sky. But it was time to move on.

I got a window seat for both of my short flights. The plane left Jersey over the west coast then travelled along some of the northern coast. I really enjoyed being able to spot places that I had walked along this coast, as I had walked most of it. As we finally departed too far away to see, I was trying hard to see if I could see Rozel Camping ground one last time, or if I could see the spire of St Martin's, but we were speeding north by then.

It was a great view over the south of England but further north you could see the smog over London and not a lot else. It had been a short flight to Gatwick but then I had quite a long wait - the price you pay for getting the cheapest airfare you can! I was selected at security and had a bag swabbed and was questioned. I presume it was a random check- it wasn't explained - but these kind of checks do little to my mind to stop the real terrorists. They just make a political point and cost lots of money.

Just before 7pm I was airborne again for Dublin and had a window seat again. A great view over English fields and the more ruggd countryside of Wales before cloud too away some of the view briefly, then it was a great view again over the Irish Sea as we headed into Dublin.

I now have a huge Irish stamp in my passport - green of course! I just missed one bus into town, but the next one took me right close to the hostel I had found on the internet, just before 10pm. A calm, clean place. I shared the room last night with a guy from San Francisco who is working here a bit and had an interesting conversation with him. Actually, that is only half true: I think I did most of the talking!!

This morning I have been walking the streets. I was here in Dublin briefly when I was 23, over half a lifetime away. It has changed a lot. Then it was a bit rundown, but now it is vibrant and very multicultural, while still being distinctively Irish. I am tossing up whether to go and see the Book of Kells or not. The clearest memory I have of my last visit was seeing it. Then there were not so many tourists and it was free to see it. It was one of the experiences of travel I have always treasured. I am not sure that I want to disturb such a good memory by making another visit. Maybe I will go and see the Natural History Museum instead, as that sounds amazing.
Tomorrow I think I will go to the Genealogical Library. I am sure to report any progress here as Dublin easily has the hugest selection of Internet Cafes anywhere in the world. It must almost have more internet cafes than pubs and it has a lot of those!

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