2015-08-10 Enfield – Dublin

Today’s photo is a shot of the Spire and Daniel O’Connell’s statue on O’Connell Street in Dublin. It had taken me almost 5 weeks to cycle from the Arc de Triomphe in Paris to the Spire in Dublin and it certainly was a welcome sight after such a long a trek.

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Total today – 30 km. Total so far – 2820 km. By far the easiest day’s cycling on this year’s Tour de Travoy.

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Sail Rail from London to Dublin. It was only on Sunday, the day before, that I decided to let the train take the strain. I had originally planned to cycle all the way to Holyhead but it would take at least 3 days and the forecast wasn’t great. I had cycled from London to Holyhead the year before in June 2014 and found the roads to be very narrow and with lots of traffic. So, I decided it would be much easier and cheaper just to get the train.

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Euston Station. I was up at 5 o’clock to cycle to Euston to get the early train and beat the rush hour traffic.It was about 6.30 when I said my good-byes and set off from Enfield.  I arrived at Euston at about 7.45 and only had to queue for 5 mins to get a Rail Sail ticket to Dublin. The man in front of me was going to Glasgow and paid over £200 for a ticket while my train and ferry tickets to Dublin only cost £44. The ticket officer was unable to book me on the 9.10 train so issued a ticket for the 8.10 train which meant I only had about 10 mins to catch the train. There are no steps at Euston station but I still had to go right to the end of the platform to reach the train carriage for bikes. The great thing about the Burley Travoy trailer is that it is easy to unhitch so I was able to load the bike first and then collect the trailer from the platform. I was only on-board a minute or 2 when all the doors were shut and the train started to pull out.

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Irish Ferries logo. Very few people on the train were going all the way to Holyhead. A lot got off the train at Crewe and also at Llandudno Junction. By the time it pulled into Holyhead at about 12 o’clock, there was only about 50 people still on the train. At the Irish Ferries desk, I had to pay an extra tenner to take the bike on board the ferry. I was given the choice of cycling on with the cars or putting it through as luggage. I preferred to cycle on as I wouldn’t have to wait as long when I got to Dublin. At Dunkirk, you only have to travel about 200m from the car park to the ferry but at Holyhead, it is over 1 km from where you check-in until you get on the boat.

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Irish Ferries boat, the Ulysses.The MV Ulysses was the largest passenger ferry boat ever built when it was launched in 2000. It can carry up to 2,000 passengers and 1,300 cars as well as 240 trucks.  Even though it was a Monday afternoon, the boat was mobbed with people and it was hard to get a seat. I hadn’t anything to eat all day, so I treated myself to a feed of chicken curry and chips in the Boylans Brasserie on board.

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Ulysses docked at Dublin Port. The boat pulled into Dublin Port more or less on time at about 5.30 pm. There were a few other cyclists on board with me and we were allowed off at the same time as the cars.

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The Point Depot is now called the 3 Arena. When I was last in Dublin, the 3 Arena was called the The O2. Incredibly, it is the 5th most attended indoor arena in the world and is sure to have a bumper year this year with 4 U2 concerts due to be held there at the end of November.

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The World cruise ship. If only I was a millionaire, I could have arrived in Dublin in style on this ship instead off getting the ferry. The World cruise ship was only stopping in Dublin for a day, so I was incredibly lucky to get a shot of it moored on the Quays beside the East Link bridge. It had sailed from Cornwall the day before and was due to leave for Oban in Scotland the next day on the high tide. It had spent the summer going around the Med and was now on its way to Iceland and afterwards to North America and eventually all the way south to Antarctica.

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Samuel Beckett bridge across the river Liffey. Samuel Beckett once famously said he preferred France at war to Ireland at peace, yet he still got a bridge named after him in Dublin. He had said that in 1939 but 2 years later was lucky to escape capture by the Gestapo and he had to flee on foot from Paris to Provence in the south of France after joining the French Resistance. Beckett died in 1989 but I am sure he would have approved of this Santiago Calatrava designed bridge which was named after him when it was opened in 2009.

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Convention center in Dublin Docklands. This fine building was designed by Kevin Roche and built by a consortium called Spencer Dock Development under a BOT (Build, Operate, Transfer) type contract. The contract was very controversial at the time as it was expected to cost the Irish taxpayer €380 million over 25 years. But soon after it opened in 2010, the Spencer Dock consortium went into liquidation and the liquidators put the contract to manage the building up for sale. In July 2015, this contract was sold to the Irish Strategic Investment Fund, which was previously known as the National Pension Reserve Fund. So the Convention Center will be getting its third operator even though it has only been open a few years.

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O’Connell Street. In France, all distances are measured from Notre Dame cathedral in Paris while in Ireland, all distances are measured from the Spire outside the GPO. And having cycled most of the way from Paris, I felt there was no where else more appropriate to mark the end of today’s tour than here at the Spire in the centre of Dublin.

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