Hi all, A fair bit later getting this done than I had originally intended, but hey ho. I'll be finishing it tomorrow, hopefully, so here comes the first bit of my most excellent Irish adventure: 29th March 2012 - Irish Trip Day 1 At long last, the wait is over! Seems like forever ago since I booked the time off, flights and Travelodges! Some reasonable amount of sleep was managed before rising 15 early at 0715 or so. Mum cooked me up an awesome breakfast, and I watch the latest Air Crash Investigation before finalising de-rancification. YJ58 CFG is the chariot of choice this morning, a nice change from the now-usual MCV Evolution and Optare Solo combination I'm used to on my commuting. This one's a lowie too, so I'm happy with it producing as I'm still a long way off getting it cleared for the magical thou. Weather gen this morning is that it's a sunny day with hardly any clouds in the sky. Can't wait for the flight this afternoon, it'll be my first solo flight. That is, the first one I've travelled on my own. Done a fair number years ago before I had an interest with family and on school trips, so bring it on! I'm doing my trip report in my notebook vice A4 book this time as I'm rather restricted on just how much I can take in my bag (55cm tall, 40cm wide and 20cm deep, 10kg weight) on Ryanair, so I've had to leave a few of my books at home. As it turned out, this was a good choice, evidenced later in the report. 282.5 miles on this bus by the time I alight, need to get it in more often! We arrive at journey's end at 0956, 4 down, and it's coffee time! Good thing I've allowed bucket loads of time to get to Bristol, the 1010 to Cardiff Central is 18 down due to a train fault, with the 1033 to Milford Haven started from Shrewsbury vice Manchester Piccadilly today. 150256 produces on the 1010 to Cardiff, shame it's a dud 'un but I need a lot of mileage off this one, so another 44m34c is welcome! As it turned out, it was the first of many noisy trains on the bash, which I definitely wasn't complaining about! I've not had this 150 since September 2005, which surprised me somewhat! In my first year at Asda Hereford, I see I've clocked up 7,340.2 miles on buses! Taking out leisure miles, that's probably around 7,100 commuting miles, which is a considerable amount. We arrive into Newport's platform 1 after the usual waits at both Maindee North and West at 1118, 17 down. 67003 came through light engine towards Canton, and 143605+142077 arrived and left on an unknown ECS move. 150259 was on the 1120 Cardiff to Holyhead, 175 availability must be low today! 43023+43070 were observed on the 1028 Swansea to Paddington and 158961 was noted coming from Portsmouth too. Saw that in Wessex Trains days, although no doubt this one will be a significantly different formation. 158956 turns up on the 1130 Cardiff to Portsmouth to get me to Bristol. Been a long time since I last went to Bristol Temple Meads! 66302 was noted on that new container train at 1154 as we passed Severn Tunnel Junction, I'd forgot about that one. Another DRS-liveried but working on a Freightliner coal train was noted after Pilning, couldn't ID it though. Time for lunch, and I was surprised to be hungry enough for two ham rolls. Arrival into Temple Meads is at 1216, 2 up. 153373+377 were noted on an ECS move, as was a 150 in platform 5. First Bristol's 69507 takes me onwards to Bristol Airport on route A1, and just 24 minutes later my phone's received a bit of charge but I couldn't get the WiFi to work First visit to Bristol Airport and I'm impressed with the place. Security was a breeze, and during the wander I photted Ryanair's EI-EPH from the departures area. G-ECOD (flybe) is also photted. More craft were noted, including my first Easyjet craft, as I wait at gate 13. Glad I was ready for a quick trip to the gate, loads of people behind me! And so I board EI-DPW and choose seat 8A to be close to the engines on this Boeing 737-800. We leave on time at 1510 and arrive 5 up at 1605 at Dublin's arrivals building. I'd been warned the walk to the exit was long, it sure is! Absolutely loved the flight, especially the take off! We flew over South Wales for the first part of the flight, which was confirmed when I saw the afternoon Fishguard to Rosslare ferry. Was fun trying to work out where we were! The trolley eventually came around and I chose to splash out on a coffee as it had been several hours since my last one (just realised that had been in Hereford!), only a few minutes after I got it we had to start getting ready to land! It was so hot that I almost burned my tounge, Goodness knows how I drunk it all before I got off the plane! The fresh air was most welcome when we arrived. I'd received gen on which bus to get from my sister Belinda before I had left the airport, just as well since my phone wouldn't recognise any networks. 2.65 got me to O'Connell Street on route 16A, much better than the 747 at 6 single or 10 return! It's a 50 minute journey by the looks of it though, and only 17 minutes into it as I write this! Didn't know First ran buses over here, noted an Aircoach service with First on it to my surprise as we went down the N1. We finally get to Drumcondra, noted when I saw a Tesco mentioning this fact. Seems to have taken forever! Eventually we arrive at O'Connell Street at 1715, having left the airport at 1629, and I meet Belinda up here. We spend some time in town before getting the DART to Sandymount, my first trip on DART for some years! Some 29000 Class members are noted before we join 8636 from Connolly for a 10 minute journey. 3.10 for a day return, which I consider a tad expensive. After having a meal at her flat, I return to the station and join 8313 on another DART service back to Connolly, again 10 minutes long. After arriving at 2038, I needed to get a drink from the Spar opposite Connolly station. I eventually make up my mind what to get for the lengthy journey to Swords and miss the next bus on route 41 by a couple of minutes. Great, the 2115 bus it will be then. At least it gave me time to spot some trams as the bus stop on Lower Abbey Street was right next to the line. 05-D-10422 takes me up to Swords and I cover the majority of route 41 during my trip to Swords. I get my notebook updated and see that I hadn't written down the reg number of my first Dublin Bus bash! D'oh! It's been a long day so I'm keen to get to the Travelodge now, and I'm amazed that I've already spent something like 45 in notes, not including the change in my pocket, in just the first afternoon of the bash! 2.65 for a single to Swords was amazing value in my eyes, considering the trip's well over 10km. So then, the day's review: Pretty good all in all. My first solo flight was enjoyable, the travel to/from the airports was good and nice to see Belinda again, it's been quite a long time! Gonna have to be more careful with my money though on this trip, only 50 left after taking out the money for the Trekker ticket (110 in 2012, was 100 last year)! I could use an ATM of course but I don't fancy that! Score for the day of 8/10, and some stats to round up day 1 of 5: Day 1 mileage: 75 miles and 74 chains by rail, and according to Flightdiary it's about 206 miles as the crow flies from Bristol Airport to Dublin Airport, so grand total excluding buses of 281 miles and 74 chains. Highest mileage on one train: 44 miles and 34 chains on 150256 Lowest mileage on one train: 2 miles and 47 chains on both legs of the DART Bargain of the day: Finches sparkling orange, a bottle of 500ml of it was just 99c from Spar opposite Connolly. Rip-off of the day: The coffee on the flight, 3 for a less than satisfactory coffee. Gricer's Tip (new stat, based on experience of the day, will be something useful for cranks): If staying at Dublin Airport 'Swords' North Travelodge, route 41 will get you there in just a few minutes (probably 5, more during busy times). Ask for Pinnock Hill Roundabout, although beware crossing the road as it's a case of running over when it's quiet. When I went it was around 2200 so super quiet but be warned!