This was the final sector of my day-trip to Newgrange. For this return journey, I opted to take the Enterprise up north instead of the bus. The idea was to add some variety into my trip, and of course to take a ride on the Enterprise one last time before I left Ireland.
The problem was that the Enterprise terminates at Belfast Central (now renamed “Lanyon Place“), which was relatively far from my place at the time. I didn’t feel like taking a cab or bus, so I looked at alternative routing options instead. I settled on getting off the Enterprise at Portadown, where I would then connect onto a Northern Ireland Railways (NIR) service to Adelaide – the closest station to my place.
It also helped that the NIR service’s departure time was set to depart 10 minutes after the Enterprise left Portadown, which made for a convenient interchange.
First posted 12 July 2017. Updated 14 March 2023.
Departure experience from Dublin Connolly
I took a quick walk to Dublin Connolly after having dinner across the Liffey. I suppose I could have used my full stomach as an excuse to take the Luas to Connolly instead, but that was a surefire way to miss my train.
I collected my ticket from the ticket machines and walked up to the ticket barriers where an Irish Rail staff let me through after checking my ticket. While access to platforms are through ticket barriers for all Irish Rail services, the procedure was a bit different for the Enterprise. I suspect it probably had something to do with Translink still issuing a paper receipt style ticket rather than machine readable magnetic stripe ones. I was then directed to the waiting room where I was faced with a room full of waiting people.
I suppose its what one gets when one travels in the summer.
Boarding was called on time and the hoard of people rushed to the front door of the waiting room. Since I was in the back I could avail myself of the rear door instead and avoid the squeeze, and allow myself to savour boarding the Enterprise one last time.
I had reserved my seat when I booked my ticket, and so I was expecting it to have my name listed on the small reservation screen above the seats. In true dysfunctional NIR-Irish Rail fashion, my reserved seat was instead listed as “Available”, and someone had already sat in it. I really fancied a window seat, so I walked onwards to the next carriage and, luckily, found an empty window seat. I guess you can’t have everything, but it’s always annoying when something like this happens.
We departed Dublin Connolly on time and were soon speeding out of the city in the rain. The ride was smooth as always and quiet like most loco-drawn trains.
I decided to take a nap just after we left Drogheda, since at this point i was running on adrenaline.
I woke up to a view of very misty and rainy hills – the clearest sign that I was now in the North. It was also starting to get colder in the carriage due to the drop in temperature outside.
Arrival at Portadown
We pulled into rainy Portadown, and with one last look down the carriage, I stepped out of the Enterprise and into the welcoming embrace of the drizzle.
Departure from Portadown with Northern Ireland Railways
Portadown station features 3 platforms with the Enterprise occupying Platform 2. I had to walk up the overhead bridge and down to Platform 1 for my connecting NIR train, but first I had to buy a separate ticket for the journey from Portadown to Adelaide. Barriers were set up on the platform to prevent Enterprise passengers coming from Platform 2 interchanging to an NIR service for free.
Departing Portadown on time, we were soon speeding in the rain towards Belfast. The ride on NIR trains are always comfortable, more so than the Class 29000 Commuter sets I took just hours earlier.
45 minutes or so later, I stepped out onto the drizzly platform at Adelaide halt, which was my local station and great excuse for an evening walk for the entirety of my time in Belfast. I had previously used Adelaide halt to grab the train to the city centre when I was too lazy to walk from Elms (when I lived there), and so it was somewhat fitting that my trip ended here.
With that, my day trip to Newgrange had come to an end.
Visiting Newgrange was an incredibly surreal experience. Modern reconstruction aside, the passageway and chamber are all original and authentic, and they provide a glimpse into our species’s evolutionary past. It will perhaps take longer to fully understand the monument’s significance to our ancestors, or perhaps we may never fully understand it since it all happened so long ago. It is a trip that I would highly recommend one to take.
Relying on public transport to get to Newgrange is a pretty decent and workable experience, though the limited service of the bus from Drogheda to Newgrange limits your time available at the site itself. Still, it is cheaper than following a tour, though admittedly tours may take you somewhere else as well, and if you drive you will get to slot Knowth in as well.
Read the Newgrange series again: