Sunday, 20 July 2014

Ireland 3

Wednesday 11th June

When I ask the receptionist for the best public transport route to Connelly Station I get a puzzled look and am told it's a 20 minute walk. Setting off on foot I decide that this means Dublin's public transport is awful.

If a city has good public transport its inhabitants work hard, and with a sense of pride, to avoid walking anywhere, even if that means three convoluted changeovers and waiting for longer than it would have taken to walk. Think London, Hamburg, Paris or Zurich. If the locals mostly prefer to walk then there's a lot of room for improvement. Think Bristol.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Ireland 2

Monday, 9th June

After trying to find an alternative I give up, accept some amount of self-loathing, and book myself onto a day bus tour of Connemarra. It’s a good deal really: same cost as a public bus return, seeing more than one interesting site and less chance of getting stranded in the middle of nowhere if a connection doesn't work out. But it still feels like a defeat, like I’m being nannied on a school trip.

I don’t enjoy being squeezed into a bus of fellow tourists, lack of legroom aside, mostly because they hold a very candid mirror up to my own cluelessness and remind me that tourism is mostly gawping at things that are different and remarking how different they are. You can, and I normally do, dress it up as higher minded; exploring and understanding the world, expanding your horizons etc, all of which are things I believe to be true. It's very hard to feel that high brow about it when everyone's holding their camera up against the plate glass of a site-seeing coach while clutching their counties of Ireland souvenir tea-towels.