As this year’s Applefest wassail approaches (see Eve’s Pudding), I have been flicking back through my diary, which I only seem to have time to write in when on cathedral tour. This passage here caught my eye, written in Rosslare while waiting for the ferry.
The only thing one can do at the ferryport is, in fact, to leave it and walk along the surprisingly lovely beach. The grey water remained calm as it waited, coiled, for our ferry. Way out to sea, a flock of gannets were diving into the sea (presumably there was a much-televised bait-ball just under the surface). They are huge birds, silver in colour and dagger-like somehow as they strike the water. Compare this evidence of Nature’s magnificence with man’s contribution to the scene: Rosslare Europort. It is a blighted demi-building like an abandoned general post office, with nothing in it and nothing around it. The train station also refers to itself as Rosslare Europort, presumably in the mistaken belief that putting ‘euro’ in front of a word makes it sound cool and international, when consideration of the Eurofighter or indeed the euro would have shown otherwise. The website implied that the top floor of the ferryport was a bustling Continental festival of coffee shops and waterfront bars, when in fact it is a deserted waiting room with carpet made from dogs that have been passed through a trouser press; no food whatever, except what can be bought from the hatchet-faced woman in the kiosk downstairs (J bought a cup of coffee from her, which smelt so awful that she had to take it back); and one pointless picnic table outside on the benighted terrace, staring straight out into the blank sea. All the ferries seem to shuttle between Rosslare and Fishguard only (Wales-Ireland and back again seems to stretch the word ‘international’, to my mind) and there is nowhere secure to leave one’s stuff. If ever there was a place to persuade one to kill oneself, Rosslare Europort is it.
I note that on her trip to Ireland last year, the ferry wasn’t good enough for the Queen (unsurprising, since it wasn’t really good enough for us).