Ireland August 2015 (Cork, Belfast & Giants Causeway)
Having scoured the internet to find some decently priced flights for a short trip to Europe I was surprised myself when I ended up booking flights from Doncaster to Dublin! After all this was an airport I’d never used before and a country, bizarrely, that I’d never been to!
Booked through Aer Lingus
EI3413 1455 Doncaster – Dublin
EI3412 1320 Dublin – Doncaster
Cork – Gabriel House Guesthouse – Summerhill North, St. Lukes, Cork
Situated on the hillside overlooking Cork Kent railway station, it’s only a 6 minute walk between the two; out of the station, turn left, up the old steps on the right hand side of the road, over the bridge attached to them, turn right when you get to the roadway and it’s about 100m up on the right. For a B&B it is quite s large place and the woman at reception was friendly and took us through what we needed to know about the local area, including the sights, eating and where the local tourist information office was. The room itself initially had a double bed and a single bed but the single was removed after the first night, which made it a bit more spacious. It was clean and with a large bathroom but lacked tea/coffee facilities.
Belfast – Ibis City Centre – 100 Castle Street, Belfast, BT1 1HF
Ibis Belfast City Centre, which is essentially just off Great Victoria Street with the walk only taking about 10 minutes from the platform at Great Vitoria Street to hotel lobby. We were checked in and in our room on the 6th floor in no time. The room was quiet, clean, had free WiFi, tea/coffee making facilities and shower gel was provided; pretty much as you’d expect from an Ibis anywhere in the world nowadays really.
Booked direct through Inter Rail
Interrail Pass (Single Country Ireland – 4 days in 1 month flexi) – £116
Booked online direct through Irish Rail
Advance single on the 1900 Dublin – Cork €19 each
Sunday 16th August 2015 (The first time I flew from Doncaster)
With a 1455 in the afternoon flight there was no rushing around to get to the airport and with having checked in online even less rushing around needed when we were dropped off at 1300. Some old guy at the airport doors seemed to be expecting us to say something as we walked in and in the end tried to direct us to the check-in desks when we’d told him where we were going and then seem a little surprised that we’d checked in online and were headed straight for security.
While it wasn’t busy at security it wasn’t the quickest of events to get from one side to the other, especially as the security staff insisted on everyone having a separate box for almost every piece of their luggage that had to come out of their main bag. My bag and liquids both didn’t make it through, the liquids had to have a swab test and my bag had to be completely emptied and everything electronic put through separately while I was repacking.
There’s a large waiting area that basically houses everyone for gates 1 to 3. There were only 3 flights that afternoon, and one of those was an hour after ours; the other was a Thomson flight to Paphos. Surprisingly the main place to buy food airside was a Wetherspoons!
Our plane, which came into sight with its propellers going ten to the dozen, was only a small thing and we boarded through fold down steps, from the runway. It wasn’t wedged solid and just as well as the overhead luggage space wasn’t that great. The 1h10m flight went smoothly enough and we were on the ground in Dublin a few minutes before time. A bus was waiting to take us to the main terminal building and we were outside looking for the bus to get us to Heuston station in no time.
The Airlink bus, run by Dublin Bus, is signposted as you walk out of departures and towards the bus station; downstairs on the right hand side. A No. 747, as the bus runs as, was already sat waiting to go. Tickets are €6 single and €10 return; we opted for the latter. The driver told me the journey to Heuston would take about 50-60 minutes and also explained on the way where the bus picks up from near Connolly or our return journey on the way home; which is outside the Busaras. The journey from the airport to Connolly only took 20 minutes and to Heuston it took 45 minutes; it must have been a good day for traffic around the city centre?
With time to kill before our 1900 booked train to Cork we used the Galway Hooker pub on the station, which served hot food. Having never quite seen a pub with a canteen style counter and a woman sat at the end taking the money I was a little surprised when the food was as good as it was. While it advertised a carvery it wasn’t quite my idea of a carvery in that you didn’t get to put your own veg on and pile it as high as you liked; still it was a good meal and we were thankful as there wasn’t anything else around outside Heuston station.
The pub had been a little busy when we’d first walked in and little lively; all eyes were on the TV screen which was displaying a Hurling semifinal. What we didn’t realise was that the match was being played in Dublin and while we were waiting for our train to get a platform the masses started to descend on Heuston station. It was a small mercy that we’d actually got advance tickets, which included seat reservations, as our Interrail tickets were only valid for 4 days and we were there for 5.
Once platform 7 was displayed there was a mass movement of people down by the taxi rank to the bay platforms at the top end of the station; movement ended at the ticket barriers though as they wouldn’t let anyone’s ticket through! Some guy eventually reset them and then the mad dash down the platform commenced. The train looked pretty wedged and our coach had names in all the reservation displays; we shared the coach with a large group of bowling folk, who were travelling back to Cork.
Despite the wedge factor the journey to Cork was fine and we arrived bang on time. Our place of residence for the next two nights was clearly visible from the station entrance, situated on the hillside overlooking Cork Kent railway station, it’s only a 6 minute walk between the two; out of the station, turn left, up the old steps on the right hand side of the road, over the bridge attached to them, turn right when you get to the roadway and it’s about 100m up on the right. For a B&B it is quite s large place and the woman at reception was friendly and took us through what we needed to know about the local area, including the sights, eating and where the local tourist information office was. The room itself initially had a double bed and a single bed but the single was removed after the first night, which made it a bit more spacious. It was clean and with a large bathroom but lacked tea/coffee facilities.
Monday 17th August 2015 (The day we went to jail)
Breakfast at the Gabriel House was picked from a menu and of the good old English type; which all the foreigners in the room looked to be turning their noses up at. There was a fruit selection and the odd bit of continental type stuff but the English breakfast sufficed for me.
We were out on the road by 0845 and despite the woman at reception the previous night telling us to use the tourist hop-on hop-off bus to get to the Cork City Gaol we chose to walk anyway. She’d told us that everything on the hotel side of the River Lee was on a hillside and would be quite hard going on foot but everything on the other side was on the flat; the city gaol was atop of the hillside.
Cork was quite peaceful of a morning and it was quite pleasant as we walked by the Firkin Crane, which was used way back when to prepare butter barrels; the Cork butter museum is adjacent to it. Just over the way is the church of St Anne with the famous Shandon Bell tower attached, famous for its four clock faces never displaying the same time. The gardens surrounding the church are quite pleasant and at that time of the morning had nobody within them to spoil our spot of morning photography.
The walk from the Shandon Bells to the City Gaol took about 40 minutes and wasn’t a hard walk at all. As we were already on the hillside at the Shandon Bells it was really plain sailing; thanks to ME Maps. We arrived at about o945, shortly after the Gaol had opened and before the first tourist bus had turned up. The entrance fee is €8 per person and you then get the option to use the leaflet to read on your way round, which is well written and mapped out, or pay €2 extra for an audio headset. As we were more interested in the photographs we could take inside we got cracking and took the leaflets go read as we needed.
The morning is definitely a time to visit if you want to get photos inside the West Wing, which is the only part of the prison open to the public. Originally opened in 1824 the prison eventually closed in 1923 and was basically left derelict for 70 years until 1993 when the west wing was restored and the gaol opened as a tourist attraction. While walking round the wing if you look through some of the cordoned off areas its evident to see just how derelict the whole place became during its 70 years of neglect and just how much work has gone into restoring the west wing. I’m a fan of old derelict buildings and was a little disappointed that there’s no access to the other areas of the prison that have been left to decay for ¾ of a century. Still it’s very evident walking round the west wing just what prisoners went through while locked up and the conditions must have been horrendous, especially before heating of the cells was introduced. It was a very enjoyable morning wandering round and even the outside of the place gives an idea of what it must have been like inside with the rows of barred windows playing pretty much the whole of the exterior of the building.
We walked back down the hillside a different way to that which we’d headed up to the gaol, leaving other visitors outside the main entrance waiting for the next tourist bus back towards town. Our route back took us via St Finbarre’s Cathedral, which dominates the skyline in that part of town, and Elizabeth Fort, which unfortunately is closed on a Monday so there were no views over the city for us!
Having been to Mallow and back of an afternoon, back in Cork we had grand plans of going to look at Blackrock Castle and we even found the right bus stop for the #202 bus which takes you there; which is on the opposite side of the road to the bus station, by the River Lee. Due to the fact that it was total gridlock by the bus station, thanks to a bridge closure, the #202 bus we were waiting for basically made it about 100ft while we waited. After 5 minutes we gave up and went into the shopping centre over the road for something to eat instead, before ultimately heading back to the station for asecond trip to Mallow and back of an afternoon.
It was quite a nice 15 minute walk from Cork station to basically St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, where almost directly opposite is an Italian restaurant called La Dolce Vita. The place was almost empty but for a family of six, who definitely kept the chef busy. Our pizzas were speedily prepared and well presented but it was a complete farce trying to cut them with the massive knife we’d been given. The food was ok though and nothing was left on the plate, other than the very large red chilly that had topped my pizza!
A leisurely stroll back to the Gabriel House Guesthouse via the more upmarket streets of Cork made a bit of a change and we were glad to get our shoes off the moment we walked through the door and into our room. As there were no tea & coffee making facilities in the room a swift walk down to the AMT cured that problem. An early night followed as we’d be checking out early the following morning to head north to Belfast.
Tuesday 18th August 2015 (An enterprising way to get to Belfast)
Up at 0545 we were heading out of the hotel by 0630, having collected our pack-up breakfast from the hotel’s breakfast room. I’d been expecting a couple of bags placed neatly on a table but what we found was a plastic Tupperware box with sandwiches, cake and apples in; the breakfast was ok if you liked Salami, which of course made everything around it smell and taste of Salami!
When we got to Cork station the 0700 Cork – Dublin Heuston was already in the platform, and there was plenty of room on board when we joined. By the time we’d left Mallow the train was quite full and we’d inherited a bay full of children next to us that kept messing around with their mobile phones, trying to play video out loud to the whole coach. It took two attempts to stop this and a threat of telling the kids parents, who were sat further up the coach, who ultimately dealt with them when they all fell out anyway!
Arrival into Dublin Heuston was at 0930, right on time. We had to get to Dublin Connolly for the 1100 Enterprise service to Belfast Central, the handy Luas tram system, which has a stop right outside the front doors of Heuston and downstairs at Connolly, was just the job. Single tickets in the central zone cost €1.80 and can be bought from the machines on the platforms. Even though Connolly has its own station every tram heading towards it stops at the Busaras stop, which is about 100 yards from the Connolly station so there’s no need to actually wait for a Connolly tram; you can catch any and get off at Busaras if need be.
Some much needed food was gathered at Connolly, from a Subway outside, thanks to breakfast not being up to much and most of it being binned. The Enterprise trains from Dublin Connolly to Belfast Central depart from platform 2 and the set to form the 1100 to Belfast was in by 1015 but nobody was allowed to board until 1045 with the platform cordoned off and everybody directed to wait in the dedicated Enterprise waiting room. A nice pictorial history of the Enterprise services and how the line from Dublin to Belfast was constructed is mounted on the wall in the waiting area, which should probably have another chapter added soon as the Enterprise sets are currently going through a refurbishment program; the result of which is only one Enterprise set being in service while the others are away and the other two diagrams being worked by units instead.
The journey north and into Northern Ireland was harmless and the train was relatively empty, in comparison to the one from Cork, all the way to Belfast and having arrived into Belfast Central a few minutes early we made a unit round to Great Victoria Street; this meant a lot shorter walk to the Ibis Belfast City Centre, which is essentially just off Great Victoria Street with the walk only taking about 10 minutes from platform to hotel lobby. We were checked in and in our room on the 6th floor in no time. The room was quiet, clean, had free WiFi, tea/coffee making facilities and shower gel was provided; pretty much as you’d expect from an Ibis anywhere in the world nowadays really.
As the afternoon was nice and the sun was shining we didn’t waste much time in the hotel. With the weather set to turn very wet the following day we’d even considered making the trip out to Portrush and heading to the Giants Causeway while the weather was decent but decided against doing another 4 hours on trains and veged about in Belfast instead; in hindsight we should probably have gone…….
Scouring the various apps and guides we’d book marked everything on ME Maps that we wanted to see, which just so happened to form a perfect route that led us to the ultimate goal, which was Crumlin road Gaol on the outskirts of the city centre. So starting at Belfast City Hall, where the grounds were full of people soaking up the sun, we passed by the Albert Memorial, which points its way to the skies in the middle of the road, the very prominent St Anne’s Cathedral and the more real looking St Patrick’s Church, which looks about ready to fall down, and reached Crumlin Road Gaol by just before 1500; not bad t say we didn’t arrive into Belfast until 1315!
We didn’t want to rush so booked on the 1530 tour instead of making a bid for the 1500 tour, which people were turning up late for anyway! Entry tickets, which include the 1h 15m tour of the gaol, are £8.50 each and a souvenir booklet costs an additional £3. While waiting for the tour to start you can head into the gift shop and more importantly down into the cold tunnel that leads out of it and beneath the main road outside to the courthouse that is immediately opposite the gaol. This tunnel was used to lead prisoners across to the courthouse to keep them out of the public eye when doing so and while the tunnel is maintained for people to see the courthouse it leads to stands derelict over the road, in desperate need of renovation, cordoned off and is completely off limits to the general public.
When 1530 came our tour guide turned up to invite everyone into a room for an initial brief on the tour. Roy, as his name was, gave a brief history of the gaol from when it opened in 1846 through to when it closed in 1996, including some of the landmarks in its history, like the first execution carried out in 1854; the body of Robert Henry O’Neil is still interred in an unmarked grave within the grounds of the gaol, along with 14 others executed on site and buried in unmarked graves.
The tour started with a visit to the original prison reception, where prisoners were put into a cubicle and asked to strip off and dress in a sheet, until eventually given a prison uniform; their clothes only being returned once they are released. Next stop was the Warden’s Office and from there we were led into the prison itself; C wing which has been restored and preserved to allow the tours to take place. Unlike our trip round Cork City Gaol visitors to Crumlin Road Gaol are only allowed on the lower level but are allowed to walk through the lower level at their own pace and look in all the old cells to gain an insight into the history and what it would have been like back in the day.
At the end of C wing is the execution chamber, although none of the prisoners actually knew this; including those that were executed. Once the condemned prisoners were led into the room for final preparations for their impending death they assumed they’d be led back out and through the wing, until they were turned round and a sliding cupboard was drawn back to reveal the noose hanging before them; apparently on one occasion it took only 7 seconds from the door being opened to the trap-doors being released and he prisoner hanging!
In the drop room below the hanging chamber the prisoner would be left hanging for an hour before being prepared for burial in an adjacent room and then buried on site in an unmarked grave as per the states orders. The families of the executed were not allowed to attend the hanging or claim the body afterwards. Prior to 1901 the execution chamber didn’t exist and prior to 1868 executions were carried out in public on the streets in front of the gaol!
From the “drop room”, as its known, we were led out into the courtyard and into a corner of the yard where the graves of 15 men still exist. While they were all supposed to be unmarked two seem to have been marked by the governor at the time who scratched the initials of the buried prisoner in the stone wall with the year he’d been executed. The last execution in the prison was in 1961, Robert McGladdery, who been found guilty of murder. There were actually two other Crumlin Road prisoners sentenced to death in 1973 but their sentences were later turned to jail terms.
Our 1h15m with Roy gave a very detail history of Crumlin Road and the events that unfolded through its history from its establishment to executions to escapes and the segregation that went on inside during the times of “trouble”, as it was referred to, between loyalists and republicans. A fascinating trip and steeped in history and for some even more; I was well impressed with the afternoon out and wasn’t quite ready to leave when we had to.
On the way back into the city centre we popped into St Anne’s Cathedral, which was almost completely devoid of people, where the sun shining through the stain glass windows made for some decent photographs. There’s usually a charge for entering the premises but as it was after hours and there was a service at 1730 people were allowed to roam around for free.
Food for the evening was sought on our way back to the hotel at Safa Indian restaurant, which was only a short walk from our Ibis hotel. The guy serving us was from a place called Phagwara in Punjab; this was randomly a place I’d set foot in only 5 months earlier when on a trip to India; needless to say he was keen to hear about why I’d been to this non-descript place in Punjab! The food served was piping hot, very tasty and there was plenty of it; we left Safa very full and certainly not needing any desert!
A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon was topped off by a very good meal and all we could do as we prepared for the following morning’s trip to Giants Causeway was hope the weather forecast was wrong; it was showing heavy rain from 1000 to 1800 continuously!
The Photos Belfast:
The Photos Crumlin Gaol:
Wednesday 19th August 2015 (Rain, rain and more fecking rain; it was a wet day!)
Having woken up to a glorious morning in Belfast we sought breakfast from Tesco’s across the road from Great Victoria Street station before boarding the 0810 NIR train to Portrush; from where our day’s adventure would continue by bus as we headed to the Giant’s Causeway.
As we headed out of Belfast cloud began to fill the skies and soon enough the cracking morning sunshine gave way to grey skies and eventually the inevitable rain began to fall; it was to stay like that for the rest of the day unfortunately. The weather forecast on this occasion was absolutely spot on!
If traveling to Giants Causeway by train most documentation tells you to change at Colerain for the connecting bus to the causeway, this is exactly the same bus that picks up in Portrush on the way so we stayed on the train and walked the couple of minutes round to the bus stop on Dunluce Street where the number 402 bus stops; which is out of the station, turn left, turn right at the Eglington Hotel and then head directly across the car park when you get to it. The bus shelter is clearly visible and has all the bus timetables up for all to see. We were definitely in need of the shelter by the time we got to it and what we probably should have done, as sensible people, was gone straight back to Belfast on the train and called it a day; but the Yorkshire in us wasn’t going to be put off by a little rain!
The 402 bus turned up when it was timed to and tickets are bought from the driver on board. An all-day ticket is valid for as many journeys as you like along the route on the day of issue and only costs £6. Despite the rain we were determined to have a look at Dunluce Castle on the way to the causeway and had to stop the driver after he’d gone by the stop on the main road; it seems that advertising the stops is not the done thing on board the Ulster Bus run services on the tourist route; unless the driver is a decent one.
It was hammering down when we got off the bus and from that point on we just got wetter as the day went on. We had an hour until the next causeway bound bus so didn’t really have the time to go round the inside of the castle grounds and were more interested in photographing the castle from the outside anyway. There was literally nowhere at all to shelter from the rain during our time at Dunluce but it didn’t stop us heading down the steps that lead down below the castle’s base, where a cave beneath the castle, which looks to be gradually eroded by the sea, can be seen. There are also some great views of the surrounding coastline from various parts of the castle’s periphery, which would obviously be a lot better when the backdrop wasn’t grey, wet and miserable. An hour was just enough time to do what we needed in the end and we waited in the pouring rain, at the un-sheltered bus stop, on the main road for the next bus to the Giants Causeway.
It wasn’t the expected No.402 that turned up next it was actually the open-top No.177 that pulled up and took us onwards; while the No.402 followed closely behind. I’m not quite sure whether our tickets were actually valid on the 177 or if the driver had just taken pity on us as we stood waiting in the rain; either way he was a very sociable chap and talked with us all the way to the causeway, telling us just how good the weather had been the previous day when there’d not been a cloud in the sky all day!
Rather than head straight to the causeway we opted to walk the 300m from the bus stop to the nearby Giants Causeway & Bushmills Railway, which operates trains over a 2 mile section of old tramway, which only now runs to Bushmills and not all the way through Dunluce as it had back in the day. The railway is 3’0” gauge and I’d been expecting a small steam loco to turn up with the train and was a little confused when it didn’t. It turns out that the railway wanted their train to look more authentic and had a small diesel engine built, which was housed in a body shell to look like one of the old tramway cars; one the guy in the booking office had pointed a picture out to me I understood why as the trainset now used looks almost identical to how it had historically. Number 8165 had been built by Severn Lamb Ltd of Stratford on Avon in July 2010 and did what the railway needed of it. Round trips of the line cost £5 each and to be honest it was a welcome respite from the rain; although the cars could do with some internal heating! If we thought we were cold and wet though the poor guy who had to stand on the front veranda of the leading car, as the train headed to Bushmills, had definitely drawn the short straw that day bless him!
It was an interesting journey to Bushmills and return and it was the only railway I’ve travelled on where golfers get right of way over trains at crossings! Thankfully we had a carriage all to ourselves out and back and the doors were firmly closed; though it didn’t keep the cold out. Back at the Railway’s Giants Causeway terminus I’d hoped the rain might ease a little but it hadn’t so off we trudged towards the main attraction of the day; cold and already wetter that we needed to be!
The Giants Causeway visitors centre is situated at a convenient location where easy access can be gained to the causeway, if you go through the visitors centre it costs £8 to get to the causeway, if you don’t, and just walk under the small underpass, it costs nothing; access to the causeway is free and nobody can make you pay for it. I was expecting to see the causeway spread out in front of us as we emerged at the other side of the underpass but instead we saw masses of people walking down the coastal footpath below, towards a small gap in the rocks along the way. Disappointment filed my mind as we walked for a good 10 minutes in the pouring rain to get to the stones; it was one of those moments where you really had to question what you were doing and where the thought of turning back was rumbling around in your head but you just couldn’t as the whole day would have been for nothing otherwise!
At first sight, assuming you approach the stones from the point we did, they don’t look like anything out of the ordinary; other than the few that stick up at the top of the cliff in the distance. Once you clamber up and onto the stones though al is revealed and their hexagonal prowess is mesmerizing; and in some respects even more so it the pouring rain. I was surprised to be able to walk about on them without slipping and sliding about and while talking to one of the on-site safety staff I came to the conclusion that it could well have been a better day to visit than when it was sunny the previous day as there weren’t as many people hanging about on the stones, which allowed for better photos in some respects. The fact that the rain was driving into my camera lens was of course a minor inconvenience!
Needless to say, despite the sight in front of us, we didn’t hang around long and even used the shuttle bus to get back up to the visitors centre, which costs £1 per person and runs constantly up and down the access road. Back at the top we didn’t have much time to kill and were very thankful of a warm cup of tea from the pub/café by the roadside, near the bus stop; in which a poor Asian girl was curled up in a ball, clearly a little perturbed by the crap weather, although it was probably her own fault she was suffering for wearing shorts!
Our No.402 bus was a little over 10 minutes late when it turned up and the connection at Portrush for the train was only 15; and only 10 at Colerain! There was a hit of make-up time towards the end of the schedule though. When we arrived into Portrush with 5 minutes to make the train we made a bid for it and rushed to the station, making the 1505 train back to Great Victoria Street with only 2 minutes to spare; which had the same guard on board as the 0810 train we’d done out that morning.
The train journey allowed us to really assess just how soaked everything was; with Danielle’s stuff suffering a worse fate than mine for some reason. Nothing seemed to have survived in her bag and some things were dripping wet, despite being protected by a plastic bag! Despite us attempting to dry things out on the train’s heating vents nothing worked and we were still as wet when we got off at Great Victoria Street as we had been when we got on at Portrush; and we all know what it’s like putting wet clothes back on! To add insult to injury the gray skies had given way to blue ones, filled with nice white fluffy clouds and the sun was beaming down as we walked back to the hotel.
A hairdryer is the answer to anything that is wet and bless the one in our room it literally performed like a trooper! Whether with socks stuck on the end flapping like an airport windsock, or buried deep in our shoes sending a fragrant aroma around the room, the little hairdryer just kept on going and did what it said on the tin; dried things!
To celebrate our newfound dryness we opted for Thai food that evening and found a nice place called Thai Garden on Dublin Road, which wasn’t full at all and made for a nice relaxing meal to finish the day off and reminisce about when we were wet! The service was good, food tasty and the banana fritters were possibly the best I’ve had, mainly because they weren’t soaked in syrup and were nice and crispy.
Our sightseeing had come to an end at that point and all we had to do back at the hotel was pack before heading home the following morning.
The Photos Dunluce Castle:
The Photos Giant’s Causeway:
Thursday 20th August 2015 (Homeward bound)
We had a choice of trains to get us from Great Victoria Street to Belfast Central, as opposed to walking with our big bags, and having called at Tesco’s for breakfast we managed to just make the 0718 round to Belfast Central; where the 0800 Enterprise train to Dublin Connolly was sat waiting to depart. The set had the same driver trailer as we’d had up two days previous but a different brake as it was in the new livery and looked refurbished. The journey was harmless but for the annoying kids that wangled their way into the bay next to us, who eventually got the message about not playing video’s out loud on their telephones!
At Dublin Connolly all we had to do was walk the 100 yards to the Busaras and wait for a No.747 bus to the airport. There were quite a lot of folk waiting and the first bus that turned up was already full and went straight by without stopping, which left us pondering our options should it happen again. The solution would have been a tram to Heuston to board the bus where it started but thankfully that didn’t need to happen as an empty bus was provided and with everyone safely on board we were airport bound.
After a good 8 minute journey round Dublin airport by bus we were dropped at our plane door; another propeller machine, which had even less room on board than the plane we’d had on the outward journey. So much so that some luggage had to be emptied a little to get it in the overhead lockers! Not only was the luggage a farce but there were people booked in emergency exit rows that needed assistance to get on the plane so they had to be moved round and others put in their place to compensate as the flight was full; we were two of those moved. The result of the farces was a late departure and subsequent 30 minute late arrival into Doncaster. Our lift home had been sat in a lay-by not far from the airport and headed over when we asked them to, this saved the ching for the airport car park as there’s a 5 minute free period for drop-off / pick-up. Another successful short trip, unfortunately marred by a little rain, but looking back it’s always something to talk about.