Nigel’s scooter was on a ‘call back’ from the manufacturer so it was decided that we would take it back on our return home trip i.e.taxi from Bangor to Belfast central, train from Belfast to Dublin, taxi to Dublin ferry port, ferry from Dublin to Holyhead, train from Holyhead to Chester, change at Chester for Crewe, change at Crewe for London St Pancras, taxi from St Pancras to Victoria, train from Victoria to Lewes (East Sussex) , taxi from Lewes to home. 14 hours and truly exhausting with two bags each and the 12.5 kg scooter.
We were definitely going to fly back so the scooter people are asked to send the replacement directly to Bangor Marina, which was not possible. Nigel then phoned Easyjet to have it confirmed that we can take it as hold luggage. Flights are booked and the scooter bag eventually disappears down the ‘outsized luggage’ conveyor. When we are on the plane a high visibility jacket person (HVJP) turns up to tell us that you can’t have lithium-ion batteries in the hold. The battery on the scooter is the base of the scooter and not detachable. HVJP negotiates with the pilot to allow us to put it in the overhead lockers, which was only possible with the handlebars taken off. The 200 other passengers were obviously very happy to have the flight delayed for all of this to happen, but happen it did. We arrive at Belfast airport 70 minutes later.
We are back on Start Me Up by 1pm and although I thought we might not set off until the following day the weather and sea forecasts were perfect for us to set off immediately to Poolbeg YB&C Marina on the River Liffey Dublin, a 109 mile leg but we should hopefully be there before 8pm to enjoy an evening in Ireland’s fair city.
We arrive by 7pm after an incident free passage over mostly smooth to slight seas into Dublin Bay where permissions are sought and gained from the Port Authorities to cross the main (big ship) channel to enter the very busy port on the south side of it, down a small boat channel much the same as entering and leaving Portsmouth and therefore out of the way of cruise liners, various ferries and other huge ships.
Poolbeg was chosen because of it’s proximity to Dublin city centre, and of course a fuel pontoon. We had tried without success to let them know of our imminent arrival at this very small marina but were only successful in getting a response via the VHF whilst we were treading water in front of it, and then only from berth holders who were listening in and or could see that we were wanting to stay.
We were allocated a berth, the boat was hosed down, the electricity was connected and we were ready to hit the city.
Now to be fair to Poolbeg Y&BC the whole operation during office hours is run by the guy behind the club bar, and once we had got alongside, the hospitality and welcome could not have been better. The nearest restaurants were a 15 minute walk away in an area which could be loosely described as Dublin’s Canary Wharf, with a dozen cranes stretching into the sky around their version of The 02 Arena but named after ‘3’. We entered the rock music themed Gibson Hotel, named after the iconic electric guitar, which was across the road from ‘3’, and where we had a meal listening to Stevie Wonder, who just happened to be playing there that night, and was audible as a result of all of the doors being left open on what was a warm and sultry evening.
Nigel had expressed a desire to spend a couple of days in Dublin which he had never visited, we had sneaked an extra day by leaving Bangor immediately and the weather forecast wasn’t perfect for the following day anyhow. The next day was spent walking around this compact city using the ‘Hop on Hop off bus’ route map as a guide. We, of course, ended up in the famous Temple Bar district where we had delicious Irish Stew and Guinness at O’Donoghue’s pub which is historically famous for its association with The Dubliners amongst other musical luminaries. Guinness does taste better in Dublin according to Nigel. Later we found ourselves in the Temple Bar pub, named after the district and with it’s own history and the hugest selection of Irish whiskeys and finally The Quays where we felt duty bound to compare the finest (bartender recommended) Irish whiskey, the award winning Redbreast 12 year single pot still, with the Islay single malt we had imbibed in Port Ellen. Islay was the clear winner to our uncultured palates.
A 10 minute taxi ride back to Poolbeg and we take up with the local sailing fraternity in the clubhouse with a conversation about our circumnavigation and……. BREXIT !!!
We survived that, went back to Start Me Up for a nightcap and made the decision to move on the following day, subject to the weather, as we both felt that we had literally and figuratively got the flavour of Dublin.