The first Fall I lived in Ireland, one of my very dear friends from home was also living there at the time.
In fact, we flew over to Ireland together and he stayed with my housemates and me the first week we were all there. He also went to Ireland for studies, as part of a Study-Abroad opportunity at Maynooth University.
It really was a blessing having someone from “home” in the same country, even if we weren’t at the same school, and while we had the time, we tried to meet up often-ish.
One of the best things that we did was attend a Bastille concert together in Dublin during their Wild World tour.
I. Freaking. Love. Bastille.
So, when Will called to ask if I had any interest in their concert, I was going. No questions asked, no second thoughts. It. Was. Happening.
There was just a small problem with the “happening.” Specifically, with the travel aspect.
My general sense of direction is, as I’ve said before, questionable.
So, solo-travel is sometimes a challenge due to that.
[Since this particular trip happened, I’ve learned to accept my issue, to roll with it, to just expect that it will happen that I get lost. However, at the time, I was still bright and shiny and hopeful.]
Getting the bus from Cork-to-Dublin was easy enough.
[Though, I would caution people never take the general Bus Éireann Cork-Dublin bus unless you have no other choices. It takes a painfully long time, because it winds through every small town on the way. Your best bet, if you need to get to the city center or the airport, is to get on the AirCoach Cork-Dublin bus. It stays on the motorway the entire time. Even better, take the Intercity Rail between Cork-and-Dublin. You don’t even have to deal with the motorway, then. The tickets are a little more expensive, but worth it. I promise. Again, though, as a new resident in Ireland, I had not figured these things out yet.]
Another reason I (and this really is just me) should never have been let on that bus is because there are so many stops and I have no sense of where I’m at. Really, really. No sense.
So, I got off at the completely wrong stop in the middle of Dublin city and then had to figure out where I should have gotten off of the bus.
With modern technology, that shouldn’t have been too difficult to figure out, but my phone died on the bus ride up to Dublin…
Sooo, sans Google Map help and with no way to contact William, off I went into the great concrete wild.
Being perfectly honest, though, I did not go into the wild at all. After wandering in a panic toward the general city center-ish, I stormed the nearest coffee shop, bought a tea, and charged my phone for a good half hour. During which time, I was furiously texting Will, trying to get my life together.
William was finally able to let me know what buses I could use to get from Dublin to Maynooth.
…I found all the of buses he described.
…I could not decide which bus to actually get on. There were too many.
Finally, I just awkwardly asked a local. They told me which bus to choose.
I went to the bus stop. The bus only accepted cash or a bus-card (That’s very normal. It’s that way all across Ireland, but I hadn’t figured my stuff out yet, so oops). I didn’t have any cash. I ran into a pub to make a card transaction, get cash back from my card, to get change. So, clearly, I missed that bus, because I was in the pub, but I finally got the monies, the euros, the change.
And I went back out to the bus stop, bright and shiny and hopeful.
And the bus didn’t come…
And the bus didn’t come…
And the bus didn’t come.
[This is also fairly normal in Ireland. The bus system, by-and-large, proved a sadly unreliable transportation choice.]
My bright and shiny and hopeful attitude diminished… Thirty minutes later, another one of the correct buses came by.
I got on the bus.
We headed toward Maynooth. Praise da Lort!
On the way, there was a bunch of construction, so what should have taken about 40 minutes ended up taking over an hour.
Then, when I saw (on my freshly charged iPhone) that we were getting close to Maynooth, I went up to ask the driver about what stop I needed to get off at, because directionally challenged and halp.
He never acknowledged me, though!
[I later learned that you’re not supposed to try to talk to a bus driver while the bus is moving, but, again, I’d just gotten to Ireland a couple of months earlier and didn’t quite have my life together yet. So, yeeeah. There’s actually a whole unspoken culture around what you can-and-cannot do on a bus in Ireland. Check out this article on Irish transport’s general, unspoken do’s-and-don’ts.]
And as I waited for the driver to see me or to say something, I felt like I passed the acceptable amount of time where I could have gone back and sat down. I’d already been standing too long to play it off; I couldn’t go back.
So, I stood.
I stood for a solid 10-15 minutes before the next stop, and, then, I got off in a rush to avoid embarrassment, only to discover… oh, yes, I’d gotten off at the wrong stop.
So, there I was. Chilling out in this residential area, at dusk. Feeling awkward. Feeling lost. Waiting…
William, the darling person that he is, came, and found me, and saved me (by saved, I mean he brought a spiked Coke, which definitely made things better).
After letting me drop my stuff off at his student accommodation, we met up with one of his flat-mates and headed back to Dublin (this time on the Dublin Irish Rail – which is 1,000 times better than taking a bus. Don’t take the bus, take the rail every time!) for the concert at the 3Arena.
We made it through the rest of the night without further mishap (likely because I was being escorted everywhere we went). We enjoyed some drinks, had a delicacy known as a “Spice Bag,” (which I now crave every full moon), and went to an ama-za-zing concert.
Seriously, the best concert I’ve ever been to.
The next morning, Will and I ate a delicious break at a local Maynooth cafe, L’Art du Chocolat, and he saw me safely back to the bus I needed to get on.
And back down to Cork I went. The End.
Story-time recap: Haley should not travel on buses or in big cities alone, Will is one heck of a dude-man-friend, and Bastille puts on a heck of a Wild concert!
Thanks for reading, guys! As always, if you’re planning a trip to this area and have questions, I’m happy to give out some advice on what, in my experience, were the best places to hit-up!