Thursday, 11th September 2014
How could I resist that title? Cashel of the Kings is in County Tipperary, Éire (Ireland), and it took all day to get there. The first step was to drive north from the Travelodge to the P & O terminal in Bootle. After check-in right on the 08:15 deadline (the signposting could be better) and driving up the ramp into the bowels of the MS Norbay I climbed the two flights of stairs (no lift on the Norbay) to Reception to pick up my cabin key.
After a look around the spic-and-span en-suite cabin and facilities it was off to the dining area where the all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast was being served.
Afterwards it was out on deck to see the ship slip her moorings and head for the Irish Sea. The layout of the ship is such that there’s no forward view so I can only show you where we’ve been. Here we are leaving the berth and turning to port to enter Langton Lock:
The dock maintains a constant water level but the Mersey is subject to the rise and fall of the tides. So the ship had to enter the lock, drain out the water then exit the lower gate once she was at sea level. Here are two pictures showing the ship dropping down to the level of the Mersey (look at the building off the port quarter – the one on the right of the picture, for you landlubbers).
Here we are exiting the lock into the River Mersey:
After a few minutes sailing downstream we passed Seaforth and Blundellsands to enter the Irish Sea:
There was then an opportunity to catch up on some sleep in the cabin. After a refreshing couple of hours, a millpond-smooth crossing and high tea, I was back on deck to watch the approach to our berth in Dublin Port. The exit and entrance being at the stern of the ship we had to reverse in:
Disembarkation at 18:00 was a breeze, and soon I was driving through Dublin’s fair city. The romance quickly evaporated in the evening rush hour (although “rush” was never possible) and it took a full hour to get out of the city and onto the M7 motorway. After that it was pedal to the metal and a dash down to Cashel where Josephine and Liam were ready to greet me at Copperfield House. After being show to my room and settling in there was time to wander the short distance into the town centre and get my bearings. Then it was back to the B & B and a restful night. I’d arrived!