The theme of this trip was third time lucky.
I should have been going to Bray in late June 2020, but it got cancelled (It was my hotel that cancelled on me) because of you know what.
But why Bray? Well, I wanted to base myself there to try and blag a ticket for a European Championship game, as it is on the same DART route as Lansdowne Road. Well, they were hardly going to stage it at Carlisle Grounds, as much as i’ve enjoyed the matches i’ve been to there.
If you’re going to a football match in Dublin, why not get a hotel in Dublin? Well, I had a quick look at the draw, as it was a Last 16 game I was hoping to see, and noticed that it could have been England v Germany (Which it turned out to be) so I thought I might take evasive action just in case.
I’ll just let the English, Germans and Gardai have a three way Royal Rumble while I enjoy myself by the seaside.
As you now know, Euro 2020 was put back a year, meaning i’d be going for no reason, but I just kept the booking to give me something to look forward to. I knew I would end up making the most of my free cancellation but I wanted to leave it as late as possible. The hotel ended up cancelling on me because Leo shut all the hotels.
With the announcement of a new calendar for Euro 2021 in June 2020, I was straight online to book a hotel in Bray in anticipation to try and blag a ticket for a Euro 2021 game at Lansdowne Road. A whole year to wait.
By the time June 2021 came along, circumstances had changed.
First of all, Dublin had lost hosting rights to Euro 2021, meaning the football match I wanted to try and blag a ticket for would be held at Wembley instead of Lansdowne Road.
Despite that, I still wanted to go to Bray, because, I hadn’t been away anywhere since early 2020 because of you know what.
However, I was now facing algorithm based difficulties.
You see, I booked my Covid Vaccination as soon as I was eligible. I didn’t need to be bribed with tickets for concerts or Belfast Giants. When I did, they gave me my second date at the same time. It didn’t matter if it suited me or not.
I made a request to move it but I had no response. The deadline for free cancellation was approaching, so I had to cancel it and move it from late June to late August.
Even though I wasn’t going to Bray, I kept my Annual Leave booked, having a staycation, going to North Down Coastal Path on the Monday and Blackhead Path on the Tuesday. Wednesday was Injection Day, so I kept that free just in case.
Both the Monday and Tuesday were absolutely roasting. As much as I enjoyed my visits to North Down and East Antrim, i’d rather have been in Bray.
Especially with the weather being so much. I had a nagging feeling for two months that I was going to be punished with torrential rain for moving my plans. You know how these things work.
Whatever way the weather ended up, I was just glad to get away somewhere. As it turned out, it was three days of sunshine. Result.
The last eighteen months haven’t taught me, but just confirmed, that other people are thick as shit and are not to be trusted. With this in mind, I booked myself on the 6.50am Enterprise to Dublin and then 9pm home to avoid the busier trains. There was barely anyone on it.
When I arrived in Dublin, I headed to a Vintage/Retro Shop i’d previously visited across the street from Connolly Station called Under The Bridge. Funnily enough, because it’s under a bridge, and nothing to do with Red Hot Chili Peppers.
To my frustration, it was closed, it’s opening hours being 12pm to 6pm. That walk would be my only footsteps in Dublin outside of Connolly Station.
It was my intention to avoid Dublin on this trip. I’ll venture back some day, just not now. I mean, they are World Champions in Standing In The Footpath For No Reason Whatsoever. Annoying at the best of times, even more in this climate.
Frustrated with my start to the trip, I ventured back into Connolly Station to head for my destination, my luck picking up when the next train to Bray was an Inter City (Bound for Rosslare) rather than the DART. A lot more comfortable.
Having been to Bray before, I know my way about, so it was easy to find my hotel from Bray Train Station, being slightly distracted when I walked past an Ice Cream Vendor, making a purchase. Well, it was Ice Cream Weather.
You will never be stuck for ice cream in Bray. It felt like every second building was an Ice Cream Shop.
Eventually, I arrived at my hotel, The Martello, which I like to pretend is named in tribute to Marti Pellow.
Too early to check in, I left my bags in Reception, and headed towards the Bray To Greystones Walk to occupy my time.
In keeping with the theme of Third Time Lucky, i’d walked a wee bit of the start of it to get some photos of Bray when I was over for a concert in 2014.
Then, in July 2019, I was having a long weekend in Dublin, I snuck to Bray on the Friday for a football match, and walked a wee bit more, getting some photos.
I stated that I would do the full walk when I returned. I had planned that would be in 2020 rather than 2021.
The walk felt long and never ending, close to an hour and a half. That time not helped by the amount of stopping to take photos.
There’s a separate blog covering that.
The reward was spectacular when I reached Greystones, having a nice walk along Greystones Harbour before some lunch.
After lunch, I was on the DART back to Bray to check in.
Well, I was hardly going to walk it back. My feet were aching.
The DART between Bray and Greystones is renowned for it’s views, and it did not disappoint. Ironically, i’d been mostly frustrated by the lack of trains when trying to photograph a train while walking the first leg. If that makes sense.
Checked in, I went for a walk through Bray Town Centre to have a nosey before heading for a bite to eat.
The plan for Monday night was to walk along Bray Promenade and get some sunset photos.
Those plans would be shelved.by the fact it was foggy.
The fog would continue through to the following morning, when I walked up Bray Head. Due to this, the photos when I reached the top weren’t as good as I hoped for.
It was easier going up and down, very slippy and rocky, having to be careful and take my time.
I guess i’ll have to come back again some time and walk it with better visibility so I can get better photos.
On the Tuesday, my Dad headed down, so I met up with him after lunch, getting the DART to Greystones, taking in Greystones Town Centre, which I didn’t get a chance to do on the Monday and Greystone Harbour.
My original plan on Tuesday was to visit Great Sugar Loaf.
Looking online, it was hard to find clear information on how to get there, which is why I went to Bray Head instead, as it was a lot easier to find. I guess i’ll just have to do that on a later visit.
Bray Head should have been my Wednesday morning adventure, but having done it the day before, I used the free time to stroll along Bray Harbour before getting the DART to Dun Laoghaire.
My reason for going to Dun Laoghaire was to check out the Street Art that had appeared in recent months (There’s a separate blog for that) but I went for a walk through the town before a spot of lunch.
I really enjoyed going through the town, with the palm trees and architecture made it look Mediterranean (the sunshine might have helped and/or impeded my judgement) as if I was in Spain or Italy.
As I stared out the window of the DART going to and from Bray, I was struck by how many stops on the way were right beside a beach. You were spoilt for choice when it came to Coastal Walks.
Given my close proximity to Dublin, it would have been tempting to make a visit. However, with all these activities and walks on offer, there was no need to.
I do enjoy visiting Dublin, but i’ll give it a miss until the R Number drops. It’s a bit, how you say, busy.
Looking ahead, and a bit ahead, Dublin will be hosting the 2024 UEFA Cup Final.
I’ll be planning to go, but instead of staying in Dublin, I might base myself in Bray.
In 2022, the July Holidays will be on a Tuesday and a Wednesday.
My plans are to go away somewhere, either Sunday-Wednesday or Monday-Wednesday.
At the moment, i’m thinking of going to Waterford on those dates but Bray has now come into contention.
After all, I do have unfinished business. That being, walk up Bray Head and get some photos that aren’t dominated by fog, and to find Great Sugar Loaf and walk up it.
In short, I loved Bray, and recommend a visit. I’ll definitely be back some time, I just don’t know when.