The Princess was very keen to go to Cork for the weekend alone. With some trepidation, we sent our precious 12 year old off last weekend. I really thought there wasn’t much possibility for disaster. She’s a train veteran and it was a non-stop train, how bad could it be?
Well, on the way down, there was a drunken man in her carriage announcing loudly and intimidatingly that he had just been released from Mountjoy (Dublin’s largest prison). The staff were called but they went away again when he sat down and my poor 12 year old was petrified. Not helped by a six year old running up and down the carriage telling the man he was drunk; some kind of altercation ensued between the mother and the drunken ex-prisoner and the mother and six year old (who had been sitting opposite herself) hightailed it out of the carriage. Herself was terrified and wouldn’t talk to me on the phone in case “he would hear”; I was hearing this blow by blow by text message. I was very upset for her. Mercifully, a kind, saintly midwife sitting nearby asked the Princess whether she was travelling alone and suggested that she sit in beside her for the remainder of the journey which she did, very gratefully.
After the initial trauma, her weekend in Cork was terrific but it would be useless to deny that she approached the train ride back with some trepidation. She met the midwife again in the same carriage so that was a relief to her but they were the only two people in the carriage. One of the staff sat down opposite herself and asked was she travelling alone. She said that she was and he pointed out that every other seat in the carriage was reserved for Dublin supporters who would be getting on in Thurles and they might be a bit rough. Would she like, he asked, to move to first class. She would like. “What about the midwife?” I asked. “I waved to her as I went past,” said she. She travelled back to Dublin in first class. “I am never going back,” she said to me firmly. We’ll have to see about that now.
So, hats off to Iarnród Éireann for prompt action on the return journey but, alas, for the outward journey. Still, I think she is prepared to go on the train alone again, provided that she can travel first class.