My tired eyes studied Dublin's deserted port at dawn. It looked oily and was defined by steel and concrete. I walked out of the Ferry port building into the coldness with my face as supple as a 12 year old's. Prior to disembarkation I'd visited our ferry boat's sizable "Grafton" shopping arcade where, amid the Joe Dolan CDs and the expensive biscuit tins, I'd discovered, and taken substantial advantage of, a well stocked skin care section boasting samplers for relatively upscale products such as Clarins Beauty Flash; Clarins Multi Action Jour, and Clarins Eye Contour Balm.
About 20 wretched souls shivered awaiting a Dublin bus which would convey us to points of departure such as Busarus and Euston. We were the last and sturdiest of our breed - those willing to take a ferry and train from England to Ireland because it costs just 20 quid. I showed up at a London train station, handed over my cash, and away I went.
Our party included an unreliable looking Welsh junkie busy on her mobile explaining to some Dublin unfortunate she'd clearly woken up - it was 7am - that a mutual pal in Liverpool was 'nothing but dirt' because he'd headed for Israel the minute she showed up in Liverpool. She began to run out of credit and frantically demanded that her buddy call her back. I think he said that he would but he didn't. Maybe he'd run out of credit too. Maybe he was frantically checking out flights to Israel.
There was also an elderly; fussy, scholarly looking character with his head buried in a book who proved surprisingly invaluable when we got, fifteen minutes' later, to Busarus.
Somebody should dig out the original 1953 plans for Busarus, pull down the multiple extensions, tear out the plastic signage, and restore the place to its previous architectural splendor. The modifications don't take from Michael Scott and Wilfrid Cantwell's inspired design - they utterly bury it. Busarus also boasts the fattest and least threatening looking security guards in Ireland. All bus stations are magnets for petty criminals, sex pests, and generic unpleasant loiterers but Busarus seems to be especially plagued in this regard.
A brief inspection of the Departures board revealed that the first Clonmel-bound bus left a 9.30 so I had two hours to kill. I sat down on a plastic seat to make a plan and noticed that the scholarly party was sitting opposite me. His tome, on closer inspection, turned out to be Maeve Binchey's Heart and Soul so perhaps he wasn't quite the scholar I'd imagined. He was, though, sipping steaming hot coffee from a paper cup. No cafeteria seemed to be open in Busarus so I asked him where he'd gotten his coffee and he said he'd bought it from a 'Little Chinese fella' who had a shop 'up behind Busarus'.
This turned out to be a small Spar-style outlet on Store Street and the little Chinese fella came from Brazil but, as you'd expect with a Brazilian, he did have pretty good coffee. It kicked me into action. I decided to kill the time by strolling up Grafton Street as far as Stephen's Green with a view to returning to Busarus, via Kildare Street, in time for my Clonmel bus.
(Image above, Busasaurus by Joe Ambrose)
Joe Ambrose has written 14 books, including Chelsea Hotel Manhattan and The Fenian Reader. Joe is currently working on his next book, Look at Us Now - The Life and Death of Muammar Ghadaffi, which is an expanded version of a story first published in the anthology CUT UP! Visit Joe's website for all the latest info: JoeAmbrose.co.uk.