I took this photo from a train window while traveling from icy Dublin to icier Galway on December 22, 2010. Lucky, huh?
Spending the holidays in Ireland didn’t seem so crazy in October. But the reality of the experience is that Ruth and I arrived in Dublin one day late because a snowstorm closed the airport. This awful weather, we learned, was unprecedented. A lot of our fellow travelers were on the train because their pipes had frozen and they were being taken in by relatives.
We had planned to travel by Irish Rail each day until December 26. In fact, Irish Rail had issued us tickets for all days. What no one told us, and I can’t imagine why not, was that the entire system was closed down on Christmas Day and the next. December 26, as we discovered, is an Irish holiday as sacred as Christmas. Nothing in Ireland is opened. Nothing. Except one, so far as I know, bus company, one really wonderful bus company that took us from Cork to Dublin by mid-afternoon. If it weren’t for it, we would have missed our flight to Malta. We were departing on the bus 15 minutes after leaving the deserted train station. Lucky, huh?
You might think that this trip was a disaster. Who likes numb hands and treacherous sidewalks? The ones in Limerick were even more difficult because of festive drinking which resulted in frequent vomiting. But the opposite is true. We had a blast in Ireland. I’ll tell more about our experiences in subsequent days.
I’m a travel writer who learned a long time ago that if you tell the truth about travel, the downsides, the piece won’t get published. The travel industry wants to sell beach and resort time, not discourage fun seekers by reporting what always comes with travel–the unexpected, the mishaps. I should have called my blog Travel Truth because that’s what I plan to focus on.