Goodbye Ireland

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Set alarm on watch for 5am but, shamefully, was next aware of Margaret with a cup of tea rather later.

After breakfast, I loaded the bike into David’s car and set off towards the docks, a journey that I had expected I would be making on my bike, and I increasingly realised what an unpleasant and confusing journey it would have been, made worse by the dismal morning. After working though rather more streets than I had expected we crossed into the commercial dock area with long bleak roadways and plenty of lorries.

The problem with taking a bike on a ferry is that you are sometimes classified as a pedestrian and sometimes a vehicle, despite the cycle storage invariably being on the vehicle deck where you lash your bike securely to racking along the the side of the hull.

If you are classified as a vehicle you follow the vehicle lanes and collect your documents from one of the booths. My grandson Mikey and I have often used the Harwich Ferry to Holland and quickly discovered that the safest way is to act like a vehicle and ride right in the middle of the vehicle lane, often with a large lorry in front and one behind. At Fishguard I had been classified as a bicycle with a separate entrance and allowed onto the boat when the vehicles had been loaded.

David dropped me outside the main reception to pick up my ticket and, when the boat was due to load, I was able to slip through a small gap into the vehicle area to load through the rear ramp. I chose to pay a supplement for the lounge, segregated from the hurly-burly, with my own table to work at and free hot and cold drinks. There was also free red and white wine, which interestingly, few passengers availed themselves of; the red was pleasant. Sailed out of Dublin Harbour with so many happy memories to recall.

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