Friday, April 23, 2010
I worked in one of the few Dublin Civil Service offices populated with more Dubs than cultchies! I was one of the four from the office who engaged in the mass exodus out of Dublin on Friday evenings. Carrying my little red weekend case, that had been carefully packed the night before.
In order to catch the 6:25PM train, it was necessary to leave the Ballsbridge office at three. You may wonder why! Well let me tell you, if you wanted a seat on the Waterford train, these were the measures you had to take.
The journey started catching a bus on the Quay. As the double decker pulled closer to Hueston Station people began bustling in an effort to be first off the bus. Because of this I never went upstairs. It was difficult enough to descend the one step onto the street in an upright position. Once safely off the bus I made my way towards the station to join the queues for a ticket window. This often snaked out of the station and around the corner, very unpleasant if it was raining. I could never figure out how people who had gotten off the bus behind me were ahead of me in the ticket queue.
We were like the Flight of Geese, all trying to get ourselves out of the Pale as fast as we could on a Friday. With purchased train ticket in hand it was time to locate the platform. Hoping the massively long queue was not for your train and of course it usually was. At this stage it would have been about 4-4:30.
Joining this queue, I would consider myself lucky if I was still within site of the platform. Recently I took a Ryan Air flight, which is what put me in mind of my weekend jaunts home all those years ago. Except the train queues were about five times longer! Shortly before the train was to depart, two rather grumpy CIE ticket punchers took positions on either side of the barrier gate. Again somehow people who had been in the queue behind me were ahead of me walking the platform towards the train. Girls reached back past my face and over my shoulder to pull their many friends up ahead in the queue. There were rowdy young fellas who would try to use you as a step ladder in their efforts to get to the barrier gate. The objective of course was to get a seat. If I didn’t get a seat I could be standing all the way to Carlow or worse still, it could be Kilkenny before a seat became available.
I hated getting on the train and finding one seat vacant with the three others occupied by friends or worse fellas. Feeling like an intruder taking the lone seat they obliviously hoped would be filled by someone they knew. My hope was to find an empty table of seats and sit by the window. I was more comfortable when others joined me. I would dig into my shopping bag grabbing the Irish Press and work on the crossword while waitng for the train to depart. Later if the snack trolley rattled along I would have my few pence ready to purchase a cup of tea and munch the bread roll I had brought with me. Once I finished my little snack, I would pull out the new book I had chosen for the journey.
When the train finally pulled into Plunkett Station,Waterford there was a bus to catch. There were familiar faces on this leg of the journey that couldn’t be seen in the Hueston crush. Everyone excited, relating the plans for the remainder of Friday night and all the hoped for plans for Saturday. The bus was filled with great anticipation. So despite the hassle of exiting Dublin you arrived home floating on a cloud of joy and expectation. The return to Dublin on Sunday evening too far away to dampen the enthusiasm that bounced along on the bus.
Cultchie is any person from outside Dublin
"The Pale" what us cultchies refered to Dublin as! A historical reference to Dublin.