Walking along the mile long Victorian seafront promenade in Bray, County Wicklow, a seaside destination south of Dublin, Ireland, starting at the harbour, walking towards the base of Bray Head, where the old derelict Bray Head Hotel, an old hideaway for Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, which was put up for sale in September 2016 for €1.8m, stands sadly, on a brisk chilly Sunday morning was my first outing since I arrived at my house sit a couple of days ago. As I breathed in the sea air I was thinking about the next few months and plans I’d made now I was in one place long enough. I was in Bray for 6 months and planned to do lots of walking, follow up contacts to volunteer, clean up the thousands of photos I’ve taken over the last few years, I’d also signed up to take 3 on-line courses on Udemy, learn to cook again, and integrate with the local community.
I walked slowly due to a fractured big toe following missing my footing on the bottom of 3 spiral stairs so stopped a short time to listen to the Spanish accordion player entertaining passing Sunday walkers.
Apparently Bray has a population of over 30,000 people and Margaret, 85, whom I met in Carpe Diem Cafe, explained there’s a mixture of ‘poor and well off people’. She continued to tell me the Irish love referendums and there’s one coming up soon about abortions which she says will drive the church away finally on such decisions. ‘Good riddance!’ I was then invited to join her friends in their coffee get together.
From there I went to recce the train station asking about The Dart, the train running from 1 stop south of Bray at Greystones to north of Dublin. It’s basically a commuter train running every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday. It has numerous stops along the way and a really easy and convenient way to get around. Like in London, there’s a version of the Oyster card, LEAP, which can be used on trains, buses and the tram in the capital. So tap on and tap off. The lady in the ticket office, once she realised I was visiting, came out to talk to me, brought a ‘Dublin off The DART’ magazine to show me what’s of interest at each stop, and also where and how to purchase the LEAP card and top up. I’m so impressed with the friendliness of the first two random local Irish people I’ve met that I thought I’d carry on talking to people, anyone in fact! I wasn’t disappointed.