/ Ireland2018

Shoehorn needed

To be fair, even the guys loading the ferry said we wouldn't fit! The dockside dispatcher had pulled a German campervan and then us out of the line of vans and caravans and sent us on our way. We did have a concern when the next dispatcher, at the entrance to the ship, sent the other van on and was then taking on his walkie talkie for a minute or two before waving us forward. We got to our destination point to be met by two loaders both shaking their heads. Apparently the idea was that we slip in between the back of the previous van and a huge trailer. Slip in, that is, into a 4.5m gap with our 5m van. We tried but it was obvious, even with wheels that would move the van directly sideways, we couldn't fit. Plan B, back out, go forward and reverse in at right angles. Yep, we now fit the gap but the front end juts out too far. Plan C, back to plan A but go in at an angle, getting as tight to the trailer behind as possible. Looking good but ... On the deck floor is a yellow line. That line marks the profile of where the hydraulic deck ramp above us will descend to, to let the upper decks cars on. The back of the van is just straddling that line! Neither the loaders, nor, now it is explained, Liz or I are happy with this situation! One last try, back out again, same thing but see if I can get an even narrower angle. Yes!!!!!! The van is in, and the back end is about 5cm inside the line. Result!

Just in case the scariness of that didn't come across, the parking bay (if I can call it that) is on a steep slope as it is on the start of the exit ramp. The 15m trailer behind is solid with sharp corners and menacing. It is a trailer to fit on a cab so there is nothing at the level of my reversing sensors. Oh, and the van doesn't have a rear view mirror, just wing mirrors. Still it was good exercise for the sphincter muscles. They don't exercise them in our Pilates class!

After that the crossing itself was very much an anticlimax. Smooth, a little slow because the ship had one engine down but only 20 mind or so behind schedule. One minute Ireland seemed a distant landmass, the next we were in Rosslare harbour.

Such was the parking that in order to drive forward off the ship I needed to reverse a little, carefully avoiding that oh so close trailer. Through customs and immigration. What customs and immigration? We were stopped just once by a Garda who asked or nationality. Waved on and on again through customs, our passports never seeing the light of day. Of course, it'll be different soon, all those folk at immigration points will be so, so envious of our new, French manufactured, blue passports that they will want to look longingly at them, examining their every feature. Oh, happy days!

A pleasant drive to Kilkenny. The main road was busy and a bit stop go in the rush hour but Liz skillfully routed us to take the R700 which follows the river Nore from New Ross right into Kilkenny. A decent fun road, twisting along the river with some real bends that required careful driving and crisscrossing the river over quaint narrow bridges. Quite a pretty route.

Anyway campsite's sorted thanks to managing to get phone signal just outside Wexford and we're in for the night. Several horses around the site and a nice sunset but you'll have to go to see the pictures.

154 miles driving today: