Ireland Day 1: A smooth start

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Our week in Ireland got off to a great start!

Everything in the travel to Dublin worked out perfectly. Having recently been granted Global Entry status, we also got TSA PreCheck, so we went to a separate security line, didn’t have to take off our shoes, belts and jackets nor take our our liquids. Ellen had bought a couple of passes to United’s lounge off of eBay, so we could relax there before the flight. Our plane was 1/2 an hour late because of “airport conditions.” We thought that meant something at Dulles, but learned from the captain later that the delay was because Dublin couldn’t handle our plane if we arrived early.

We were in regular economy class, but had decent legroom. The plane took off about 11:00pm EDT. We both fell asleep and it was breakfast time before you knew it. We landed around 10:00am Dublin time, got through immigration and got our luggage. We found the 700 bus which for €28 round-trip will get the 2 of us to and from the airport. The bus ride was about 1/2 an hour, and allowed us to see some of the city along the way.

We were let off within 2 blocks of our hotel. We are staying tonight, and then the final 2 nights, at The Merrion. We have a delightful room, with a king size bed and a humongous bathroom. The room wasn’t ready when we arrived, so we dumped our luggage and took off.

Of course our first stop was to get SIM cards. This was the easiest purchase ever. Walked in to the 3 Store, said we wanted SIM cards, €20 each for unlimited data, salesman installed them, we paid and were out of there. Next stop was lunch and then walking.

I did make one mistake (so far). Ellen does the itinerary and hotel reservations, I’m responsible for car rental, phones and electronics. I had assumed that Ireland used the 2 prong European electric adapters. I was wrong, they use the weird 3 prong ones like the UK. So we had to stop at a few shops until we found adapters that will work here. Wasn’t too big a deal.

The weather has been as expected, unpredictable. It changed from sunny to windy to cloudy to dark cloudy to rainy for 5 minutes and then back again. Never get used to it, it will just change again!

We were headed for the Guinness Storehouse, because, well, we’re in Dublin. Along the way we stumbled upon St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The grounds were beautiful and we thought we should go in. Image

The church was full of Irish history, we read about it from the guidebooks and walked around. Image

Our hotel bellman had told us of the magic of Guinness; the wonderful beer that doesn’t travel well, so always tastes best in Dublin, the secret to a good poor (45 degree angle, fill 3/4, let sit, and then top off) and how Guinness invests in line cleaning in every pub that serves their beer. True or not, touristy or not (and it was), we thought we’d go.Image

It told the story of the hops, barley, yeast and water, and then the special manufacturing practice that makes the magic happen. It was crowded and we skipped some of the tour to get up to the top and have a pint. I don’t think I’ve had Guinness draft beer before. It was very tasty, something to be enjoyed with some sun even on the top floor. ImageImage

We stopped for tea and sparkling water on the walk back (Guinness was about a 1/2 hour walk from our hotel). Ellen searched for a dinner place, and we ended up at the Ely Winebar, just a block from our hotel. We had a haddock appetizer, then both had different lamb dishes, accompanied by a carafe of Burgundy wine. We capped it off with a chocolate tart dessert, yum!

We didn’t rest at all, so are pretty exhausted and it’s an early night to bed. Tomorrow, the fun of driving begins!

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