Arrival in Dublin
THE DAY BEFORE: May 8 (flight left at 6 pm ET)...
...pretty boring day of waiting around...it's good we packed early, but...
...left house...nail in my tire! had to pull into oil change place to fix tire...took 10 minutes
...tried to use Park to Fly lot a friend suggested but it was very ghetto, so decided to park at the airport in long term parking for $10/day. Ouch. Already more expensive than planned.
...flight at 6...arrived at airport by 3:15...pretty ghetto check-in for Aer Lingus at OIA/MCO. They had a flimsy temporary looking sign on the counter taped up at the United counter. Does United run Aer Lingus? God, I hope not. ugh. Clerk (United/Aer Lingus) clueless about Aer Lingus policies.
...left bags with TSA. used fluorescent green curling ribbon for 99 cents at target as opposed to buying luggage tags. worked well.
...where to eat? should have done this before the airport. settled on McDonald's since we weren't sure the next time we'd have American food would be. Prices double a regular McD's. poopheads.
...security checkpoint. heard about dehydration on long international flights so i brought an empty water bottle to refill at water fountain after past gates. worked.
...ran into board member from work on shuttle tram to international gate. we talked about issues with driving in ireland/uk on the "wrong side" of the road.
...at gate by 4 pm. airport STILL refurbishing area that looks exactly the same it did this time last year. not a good first impression of our region. yuck.
...looked around duty-free store. prices weren't that great. total wine liquor store has better prices on alcohol...
...at gate, noticed LOTS of kids...very loud/hyper...almost ALL are Irish...lots of red hair and 20 kids each...
...TV at gate discussing presidential race...Irish not paying attention...i tried to listen and understand their accents...not so easy to do.
...Irish people had on a lot of green...i did too but wore sage to as not look too nerdy
...flight attendants arrive in greenish/turquoise outfits with black shoes! ugh. they need neutral colored shoes.
...takeoff...temperature in Orlando = 95 degrees and sunny...Dublin = 60 degrees and cloudy...
...noticed shamrock on Aer Lingus tail of plane.
...a man with infant sitting near us...ugh. seats are super upright...hope they lay back a bit. pillows and blankets in seats. hope kids quiet down soon.
...ascent...LOTS of crying babies. ugh. kids also running up and down aisle. parents drinking heavily. i tried to sleep but did NOT happen (except for 30 minutes). kids cried and were noisy the ENTIRE flight.
...LONG flight...8 hours from Orlando...longer considering crying kids.
...descent...disappointing. cloudy outside. did not get to see irish countryside. 7 am Dublin / 2 am ET tired.
ARRIVAL IN DUBLIN
...took bus (Air Coach NOT airlink) from airport directly to City Centre near St Stephens Green at Trinity College...hotel right next to Trinity College...very convenient.
...while on bus, heard lots of American songs on radio...but an odd mix of old and new songs mishmashed together. DJ's ran through lists of things callers/listeners kids are now doing such as "just learned to ride a bike..." thought this was a bit odd. then, DJ's started talking about "screwy Americans". got a little pissed off as i did not expect this in Ireland. WTF?
...nice hotel (Westin Dublin). checked luggage. clerk asked if we wanted smaller room we could get in sooner...declined. clerk said room would be ready in an hour. agreed to have room we reserved (especially since we were paying so darn much money).
...went to Dublin Tourism Centre on Suffolk Street. bought a couple of gifts and picked up brochures for tours, etc.
...walked down Grafton Street (shopping area). didn't feel like shopping, but looked around.
...hungry. stopped at Bewley's Cafe on Grafton for breakfast. the food was very bland but the coffee was very good. only one menu per table...strange. i don't share so i grabbed another. noticed French people speaking in Frech next to us. thought it was odd
...on hubby's pancakes, saw weird stuff on side...asked what it was...cream apparently. waitress looked at me strangely for not knowing this.
...saw a "hen" party on grafton street. (aka = bachelorette party)
...after breakfast, headed down grafton street toward st stephens green...lots of retail shops, flowers/florists in alleys all the way down the street. saw a few street performers, including some singing/playing blues, jazz, etc. not just irish jigs, etc.
...to cross street near st stephens green, noticed the street signs/pedestrian signs make funny sounding noises like star wars sounds to tell you to cross the street. made fun of the sound and tried to get on camera.
...saw st stephens green shopping centre across the street. went in to look around. 3 stories but not really impressed. noticed a store called TK Maxx in same lettering that TJ Maxx uses. thought copyright/whatever infringement. also noticed this on fast food restaurant called Supermac's. total ripoff of McDonald's. continued to see this throughout the trip. know china has weird laws allowing ripoffs but not sure how ireland gets away with this...will have to look into after back in the US...
...walked back up grafton street. saw molly malone statue and street performer playing irish/tin whistle.
...back to hotel. checked in finally. slept for 2 hours. nice.
...late afternoon...decided not enough time for everything and shifted agenda/schedule around. determined we'd do guinness tour and hop on/hop off bus tomorrow.
...walked around Temple Bar...went to Gallagher's Boxty House for lunch/dinner. yummy. perfect scenery when we walked in...traditional irish musicians in corner playing. i had chicken boxty and hubby had beef boxty. we were surprised we liked it so much. gallagher's serves Murphy's beer though...not guinness. found this odd since dubin is home to guinness not murphy's.
...walked around Temple Bar a bit more and got our bearings by making a circle around the area where the tourism centre was. back in Temple Bar...noticed smell of marijuana everywhere. nearly got high just walking around. apparently soe big "legalize pot" rally going on tomorrow.
...went to pub where traditional music pub crawl starts...supposedly a must-do according to rick steves and other travel guies. pub = oliver st john gogarty's. had a few pints of the "black stuff" and listened to traditional music session. good music and drink.
...traditional musical pub crawl. after buying tickets and starting...they informed us we'd be visiting 2 pubs! felt a little ripped off as don't consider 2 pubs a "crawl" and because they advertised 5 or 6 pubs. however, it did provide very good background and into to "trad" (traditional irish music) and about what constitutes a real irish pub from something just "put on" for tourists. (feel i might prefer the fake stuff, though) 1st pub was ha'penny bridge inn pub...afterward, went over the ha'penny bridge to north of hte liffey toward the Millenium Spire to another pub (no clue what the name was). was okay...music/drink not as good.
...from there, left down o'connell street back toward hotel. was able to find hotel easily in short walking distance.
...sun finally went down around 9:30 pm. surprised at how long they have daylight.
...stopped at convenience store on the way back to hotel. everything was foreign. go figure.
...went back to hotel as we were exhausted.