Cardiff to Dublin via Belfast

I thought I write a brief post to arising from today’s travel difficulties, really just to make a record of the episode for posterity.

As last Wednesday I got up early this morning (4.30am) to get the 7am FlyBe flight from Cardiff to Dublin, due into Dublin at 8.05am. Having only hand luggage, as usual, I proceeded straight upstairs to the departure area only to find that the screen said the flight was cancelled, and directed passengers intending to travel on it back downstairs to the `Disruption Desk’ .

A long queue had already formed by the time I got there, but I got to the desk fairly quickly. The assistant explained that the cancellation was due to `staff sickness’ (i.e. they were short of a pilot) and the only option on offer was to fly to Belfast whence a bus would be provided to Dublin. The Belfast flight should have left at 6.15am but was being held for passengers to Dublin. I was also given a £5 refreshments voucher.

I thought a moment and then decided to accept this offer. I didn’t have any morning appointments today, but definitely had to get to Maynooth somehow by tomorrow morning as I have a lecture to deliver.

The plane left Cardiff about 7.15am and arrived in Belfast around 8.10am but when I emerged from the arrivals area there was no bus. In fact it took about 45 minutes to arrive, and we didn’t get going until about 8.55am. Many of the passengers were clearly nervous about missing connecting flights in Dublin, including a group of women planning onward travel to the USA, but the trip was fairly uneventful apart from the fact that the toilet was out of commission necessitating a stop so that people could use the facilities in a service station.

I can confirm that there is no visible border between Northern Ireland and the Republic on the road between Belfast and Dublin, although it does change name from A1 to M1 on the way. The distance between Belfast and Dublin by road is about 100 miles and it took just over two hours. I arrived at Terminal 1 of Dublin Airport at 11.05, almost exactly three hours late. I thought that wasn’t too bad a result given the chaos in Cardiff when I left but it was still a frustrating morning. I had to wait until 11.50 for the bus to Maynooth, where I finally arrived about 12.40.

I will of course be submitting a request for the compensation to which I am entitled for the delay, but above all I hope that those whose arrangements were even more seriously disrupted than mine managed to get to where they needed to go in the end.

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4 Responses to “Cardiff to Dublin via Belfast”

  1. Francis Keenan Says:

    Cannot believe you didn’t take the opportunity to experience Belfast (unless you have been here before).

    There never was a visible border before we joined the EU. Back in the 1960’s the train would stop at one of the stations, someone would get on, have a quick look around and then get off.

    if you went on a day trip to Dublin – which we frequently did – you’d bring back cigarettes as they were a lot cheaper. I believe some visiting Belfast would bring back condoms as you could not get them in the Republic unless married.

    By the way, we are hosting the STFC Intro School for PhD students in August, so if you have any new students starting this year they will hopefully have the chance to visit us.

    • telescoper Says:

      I remember visiting Warrenpoint with my father in the 1970s for a Jazz festival. This is very near the border. I remember there was a heavy military presence there, but can’t say I remember seeing a physical border.

      I also remember that we attended a reception hosted by the Mayor at which Guinness and oysters were served. I had some, although I was technically under age. Delicious!

  2. Simon Kemp Says:

    I was going to recommend that you pay a visit to Belfast, if you’ve never been before. I had 5 happy years there enjoying the hospitality of the QUB ‘Space Group’ (as it was usually called then) as a postdoc. Hello to Francis!

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