Ireland

Our bus boarded the vehicle ferry, Ulysses, in Holyhead. Ulysses stands twelve decks high, and has room to take over 1300 parked cars and 2000 passengers and crew across the Irish Sea to Dublin in around 3 hours and 20 minutes. Although it had been a miserable rainy day in England, the ride across was very smooth.

I thought about going to the cinema on the boat to watch a movie, but they only had kids’ films showing so I gave that a miss. Marg was quite happily crocheting, so I took the opportunity to close my eyes and catch up on some sleep. I’m not getting that much at the moment, because it’s either sleep time or blog time and I can’t afford to get behind on this blog so it’s the sleep time I tend to cut short.

We got the call when the ferry docked to return to our bus, and soon it was on its way out of the docklands and heading into Dublin city, keeping the River Liffy on our left. We stopped at the EPIC Museum of Irish Immigration. This is a fantastic, immersive, digital museum which not only relates the very sad story of the potato famine and the destitute Irish families leaving their homeland forever, but also celebrates the wonderful achievements and contributions of the Irish diaspora in the many parts of the world that they’ve reached in their migration. There were plenty of references to the Irish immigrants and their descendants in Australia, where some, like Paul Keating and John Curtin, have attained the highest political office in the land. Jim Stynes, Ned Kelly, Peter Lalor and Sidney Nolan also featured. The interactive displays inside the galleries were quite outstanding, and, as a former history teacher, it is a place I would love to bring my students to. We’ll be in Ireland for a few days, and I think this introduction to the Irish people’s story will set an informative context for what we’ll see and do during our time here.

We ate dinner in the EPIC complex and headed to our hotel. The bus passed a billboard advertising a concert lineup that almost defies belief. Bob Dylan and Neil Young on the same drawcard, supported by Lukas Nelson and Glen Hansard. That’s insane. Wish we could get shows like that back home.

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