Our next stop on the Ireland tour was supposed to be Wicklow, a small town Rachel had read about. So we headed to the bus station, which was conveniently close to our favourite coffee shop. As it turns out, you actually can’t get to Wicklow from Cork, without going through Dublin, and all other small town options outside of Cork seemed to include the same stop in the capital city.
That’s alright, we thought, we’ll just go to Dublin, and then on to Wicklow, no problem, We waited for the bus. And waited. And then there was a bus… but it was too full and wouldn’t take us. There’s a tricky bus ticket system that we’d never experienced before in Ireland, which gave preference to three different types of ticket holders before walk-ons, so we were out of luck. We waited for the next one. Finally we got a bus heading for Dublin. On a map, the distance between Cork and Dublin leads one to believe it will be a rather short journey. But in reality, it’s a really long bus ride, and we arrived at 6pm, hungry and tired. We were supposed to take yet another bus from there to Wicklow, which would be another two hours at least, but instead decided to just stay in Dublin. It’s the capital, we thought, it shouldn’t be hard to find a room in a hostel.
Ha! A joke. Again, check the music festival schedule before going to a place. Turns out, a big concert was on in Dublin that Friday night, and it was the weekend, and Oktoberfest, and every hostel was completely booked up. It was finally suggested to us that we take another bus out to the airport, to see if we could find accommodation there. Not loving that option, we branched out to B&B’s, finally finding one that would take us… for the cost of a week in a hostel. But with no other choices, we took the room. It was the size of the bed, with hardly enough space for us, let alone our backpacks, and there was no room to move around. Lesson learned: book ahead for Dublin, and be prepared to pay an arm and a leg for even an awful room in a B&B.
October in Dublin is not warm. But the sun was out, and we got to explore a little of the district, and check out the river with its many bridges before finding a little Italian place to finally have supper. The waiter was very excited that we were going to Wicklow, and offered helpful tips for when we finally got there. We watched a dad try to get dinner into his infant and young son, muttering all the while about what their mother would do if she were here, and how she would know exactly how to deal with the children. The restaurant soon filled up with a large party of Italians, all of whom seemed intent on tormenting the waitstaff. We managed to find a small cafe with wifi so we could book rooms for the next two nights (in a hostel, not an overpriced B&B) and reluctantly returned to our hovel.
We will definitely be booking our rooms in advance in any major city from now on. And if a private or a family room is what you desire, we would also seriously recommend finding such a spot in a hostel. They are almost guaranteed to be cleaner, more security-conscious, and more interesting for children than a B&B – and almost certainly less expensive.