Ireland day 0040. Sunday 07 November 2021- Exeat

Ireland day 0040. Sunday 07 November 2021- Exeat
Today’s summary Val returned to UK for a few days on family business so after leaving her and the car at Dublin port in the early morning I explored Dublin on foot, including Temple Bar, Castle, Botanical Gardens and Royal Canal.   Back to Malahide by train from Connolly Station
Today’s weather Dry and sunny all day.   No wind.  Quite cool, appx 10C
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Today’s overview location
(the red cross in a circle shows where Val and I are at the moment)
Close-up location
(Click the button below to download a GPX of my day-long sightseeing wander round Dublin):
Dublin wander

If you move to Ireland from the UK and intend to stay here for any length of time, then if your car comes with you, you have to officially import it into Ireland and re-register it here.  I don’t know if this is a consequence of Brexit or not, but it’s a real pain.   You have to fill in  forms and pay import duty and the whole thing – like all form-based bureaucratic  processes –  is likely to take a hundred times longer than you think it should.   Complicating all this is the fact that theoretically neither of us can drive here any more anyway, as we haven’t exchanged our UK licences for Irish ones yet (and I can’t even start the process to do that as I still haven’t received the elusive PPS number).

So, to cut a long story short, we have decided to take our car back to the UK and sell it.  Then if and when my PPS number eventually arrives and we can both obtain Irish driving licences, we will get a car over here, avoiding the hassle of importing and re-registering our current one.

The opportunity to do this presented itself today.   Val had planned to return to the UK for a few days to attend to some family business, and today turned out to be the best day for her to set off.   Her ferry left Dublin port at 8:15 this morning so an early start was called for (though in actual fact it only took 20 mins to drive to the Stena Line terminal from the flat).  We both drove down together – it was a bright and cold morning, almost frosty – and got there just as the sun was rising.   She headed off through immigration and after sailing to Holyhead is staying with friends in Chester tonight then heading south tomorrow.  She will be flying back in a few days.

So I was left on foot in Dublin docks on a cold morning before the coffee shops had even opened.   I decided to make the best of the fact that it was a good day and that I was already downtown, to do a bit of sightseeing.   First priority was to get a coffee, but at this ridiculously early hour, everywhere was closed.   So I headed down to the Liffey for a cold but invigorating riverside walk and then on for an exploration of the city centre.

I think I probably just touched the surface of Dublin’s many attractions on my walk today, but managed to cover quite a lot of ground.  Halfpenny bridge, the Temple Bar area (a bit like Soho in London), O’Connell Street, the Castle, Botanic Gardens and Royal Canal to name just a few.

I’ve decided not to describe these landmarks in detail here, nor to post millions of pictures of them, because I think we will be making numerous returns to Dublin over the next few months to do some more detailed investigations.   Suffice it to say that the OPW proved its excellence once again.   My visit to the castle was free – like all their attractions this year – and as I was just about the first visitor of the day, I could check out the whole thing without having hordes of tourists getting in the way.   And then the Botanic Garden, also run by the OPW (but always free) was a real gem.   Compact but beautifully laid out and within walking distance of the city centre.   The only disappointment was that COVID has led to the closure of the glasshouses for the time being.

I headed back to Connolly Station to catch the train home, walking down the Royal Canal Greenway to get there.   This is is a 144km / 89 mi walking and cycling path, running all the way from Dublin to Cloondara and is actually one of – if not the- longest paths in Ireland.  It’s all tarmac-ed so a bit hard on the feet, but pleasant enough.   Eventually it will be extended all the way to Galway, on the west coast.   And at the station I eventually got my much delayed coffee – a mere 8 hours after I decided I first needed one.

By the time I got back, I’d walked 28 km / 17mi, so had slightly sore feet from all the road-walking, but thoroughly enjoyed it.   Now I’m back in the flat I am under strict instructions not to let it degenerate into a messy bachelor pad while Val is away.   I’m sure I will find somewhere to secrete all the empty beer bottles though.

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

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Not being a morning person, I found being in a city centre before 8am on a Sunday morning a bit bewildering There’s a bridge across the river right next to where this boat was moored, so I’ve no idea where the ferry actually went to
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Down in the Temple Bar area.   Quite peaceful this morning, but I imagine it was different a few hours earlier St Patrick’s Hall in Dublin Castle. Every seven years, the new President of Ireland is sworn in here. I was the first visitor this morning, so I pretty much had the entire castle to myself
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Window on another world, at the botanic garden Train back to Malahide from Connolly Station this evening.   The station is the busiest in Ireland and is about the same size as Marylebone, the smallest mainline station in London.   Gives you a good idea of the relative size of the two countries
The Spire of Dublin (aka Monument of Light), in the middle of O’Connell St.
120m / 380ft tall, built in 2002, and for reasons I don’t fully understand, it’s also called the Stiffy by the Liffey.
It’s iconic, by the way
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