Updated: Jun 22, 2021
The final instalment to my prequel series before Grit. A short piece revealing my thoughts on the Sunday before I began my expedition in Dublin city.
On the night before my Hadrian’s Wall expedition I had been in severe doubt. Yet, I was a different man back then, plagued by the uncertainty of university. Moreover, I was unbeknown to the thrill of the wilderness. This time I felt like a steeled swimmer about to take a plunge in an ice-cold lake. Expectant and capable of the challenge but never immune to the shock of deep cold water. On Sunday morning I showered and shaved for the last time and donned my gear. Picking up my remaining bits and pieces at the local store, I felt fresh, invigorated and prepared but nervous. My train departure time drew swiftly and,, by the afternoon, I was out the front door with my rucksack and on the taxi to Lurgan train station. From the local link to Portadown I would board the Express train to Dublin. In truth, and as expected, most of this day was spent on public transport. I began to read Levison Wood’s Walking the Nile and felt akin to this explorer as he himself once began his journey.
By evening, the train arrived at Dublin and I made my way from Connolly Station to Kinlay House, the hostel at which I was due to stay for the night. With the burden of my rucksack on my shoulders I made my way through this bustling city which was entirely new to me and yet shared the same qualities as any other city, energy and variety. It was strange to return to a city after departing from Newcastle in March due to Covid-19 and I was vividly reminded of Newcastle once behind and soon to be in front of me again. Despite the enforcement of lock down, it was clear that this city was, in some regard, back on its feet again. While a select few businesses remained closed, people still milled around and others flocked to what drinking dens were open on this lazy Sunday evening.
When I arrived at my hostel, I was already somewhat exhausted and was relieved to dispose of my rucksack in my room after checking in. At this stage, I had realised that I had lost my return ticket to Portadown. Typical, I thought. However, I was determined not to let this loss dampen my evening and I went out for a bite to eat at McDonalds. Knowing that this was probably my last tasty meal for a time, I savoured it with relish. Before 9pm, I returned to my hostel and settled down early for the night in the knowledge that I would be up early the next morning. Although my effort to obtain a good night’s sleep was made redundant by my boisterous neighbours. They stayed up until 4pm. As the darkness reached its zenith to be filtered by the early rising sun, with every passing hour, I grew more and more frustrated in my sleeplessness but knew that I could not reprimand my neighbours and grew rather envious of their joy while I was here alone. On the verge of giving up, I fell back on my bed and must have fallen asleep.