We're listening to the conductor say the names of the stops in their Gaelic pronunciations, before saying them in English, and reminding us not to put our feet on the seats.
We had a long conversation with a man who's studying law at the university in Maynooth, taking up this enterprise at midlife after the economic downturn a few years ago. He advised us to go to Bundoran, a bit up the coast from Sligo. "Ireland is tiny," he said. "You can go anywhere in the country--leave at 8 in the morning, you're there by ten, spend the whole day, leave at eight at night and you're back where you started from by midnight."
Out the windows, I saw a cemetery bristling with headstones and monument. I saw a field of sheep. I saw blossoming trees. I saw a white cow.
Like train stations everywhere, the concrete and out of the stations are heavily tagged, gorgeous illuminations spraypainted in unreadable signatures. The further away from Dublin we get, the less of this is in evidence. Instead, thickets and brambles of tree and vine.
The fields outside the window are misty.
The conductor seems to be saying "This is the eight hundred hours train to Sligo." Can that be right?
Nothing from the trolley, thank you. Although the fact of the trolley is lovely.
We're traveling across this tiny country by train. Across a whole country by train, and we'll be at the Atlantic, more or less, by eleven.