Between the mountains and the sea - but no longer a port
It's 50 years ago since, as a young lad, I first sailed out of Dún Laoghaire on a trip to Holyhead. But I can still remember the wind in my face, the boat rolling and the sense of wonder, mid-journey, looking ahead to the coast of Wales and behind to the sunlit Dublin mountains.
In the years since, I've travelled the route with horny-handed navvies bound for London, funeral-going Travellers, showband singers, rugby supporters and racing fans bound for Cheltenham, the bars awash with spilled beer and the decks with salty water.
There was always a feeling of adventure as the boat left Ireland behind. The train to Crewe, where you changed for London, was always the worst on the British Rail networks. And the barman in the Railway Hotel would greet you knowingly with an "ello Paddy".