this bird can sing.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ireland, Part One

I have always wanted to go to Ireland. You see, my grandmother was from Ireland. She had been born in Kenmare, County Kerry and immigrated to the US at age 19. My dad was very close to her. She died many years before I was born, when my dad was only 16, but he spoke of her very often. Our Irish heritage was a significant part of our family life. My dad and uncle always talked about going to Ireland, but never made the trip.

After getting married last year, the husband and I never went on a honeymoon. We wanted to go to Ireland, but due to life circumstances, it took us a little more than a year to get it together. We finally made the trip in November, and it was an amazing experience. We want to get back there as soon as it's feasible. But for now, I'm going to document our trip with photos. As I have nearly 350 photos to go through, I will do a little at a time.

Here is the first part.

We left on November 21st. What should have been a 3.5 hour drive to JFK turned into a 5+ hour fiasco. It was the day before Thanksgiving, so we were expecting some delays, but there was a ridiculous amount of standstill traffic. Having finally arrived in New York, we flew out around 9pm. The flight is only about 6 hours long, and we kept busy watching movies. We landed in Dublin around 8am.

Getting through customs was easy, and we picked up our rental car.

Now, as a side note, we did not opt for the GPS in the car. I grew up going on long road trips before GPS was a thing. I feel proficient in my map-reading skills. And we're cheap.

Reading maps is great, but when it becomes difficult is when there are no street signs anywhere. Combine this with driving on the left side of the road, and it becomes unpleasant. Eventually, we did sort of learn how to find street signs (which are placed sporadically on the sides of buildings). But many of the intersections are just unmarked.

So needless to say, we got lost looking for the hotel. Significantly lost. It was about noon by the time we checked into the hotel. By this point, we had been awake for 24 hours.

When we finally arrived in our room, the electricity wasn't working. We tried all of the light switches. Nothing. We called the front desk to inform them that we had no power in our room.

What we did not know is that you need to insert your room key card into a slot by the door to get the power to work. It looks like this.

So the front desk staff possibly had a laugh about the dumb Americans who couldn't figure out how to turn on the lights.

After a quick shower and change of clothes, we slept for a few hours.

By coincidence, some VEB friends of mine had flown into Dublin the same day. We met up at the Cliff Townhouse's oyster bar for dinner. It was a bit of a hike, but we weren't about to drive in Dublin again, so we chose to walk everywhere.

(I didn't get my camera out until the next day, but I'll borrow a couple of photos taken by the hubs on the first night).

Here's the Cliff Townhouse.

We had some Irish craft beer and the best fish and chips I think we had during the entire trip. Definitely a great spot to check out in Dublin.

After dinner, we headed to Foley's for Guinness and live music. When we walked in, the musician was playing "Stand By Me." Here, we enjoyed our first pints of Guinness in Dublin.

Drinking Guinness in Ireland really is a bucket list experience not to be missed.

At the bar, we met a very intoxicated gentleman who kept talking to us about the US. This led to hearing "Sweet Home Alabama" live in the Irish pub.

Overall, we had a great first night in Dublin. It was my first Thanksgiving without turkey, but probably the best one yet.

Coming next will be day two, which I will try to get up tomorrow. Stay tuned!

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