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Thread: ~Kathie's Ireland Trip

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    Default ~Kathie's Ireland Trip Pictures Added 7-4-08

    Ireland Day 1 & 2 Sunday June 22nd, Monday Jun 23rd

    DH Steve & I were up early, busy with last minute details and packing. The group was to meet at Diane & Bob's at 1:45pm for the limo to pick us up and take us to Boston Logan airport for a 6:30pm flight.......the dreaded red-eye.



    More pictures posts 11& 12

    Going on this trip were (from left) Betsy & Barry, (bride & groom), Diane & Bob (parents of the bride & groom), From back on left) Mark & Meggan, (brother & fiancee of the bride), MaryAnn (aunt of Betsy and Diane's sister) & Susan (cousin of the bride and missing from pix), Gerry & Lucille (friends of the bride's family) plus Steve (taking pix and me). My DD Krissie and her BF Derick were flying over on Thursday night and would arrive Friday morning. The limo was supposed to pick 8 of us up at Diane & Bob's and then head north to pick up Lucille & Gerry, Mark & Meggan at Lucille's house.

    We arrived at the same time as everyone else about 1:30pm, parked our car and waited for the limo. Diane's 3 other sisters and her brother and SIL were there to see us off. The limo was late but finally arrived at 2:15pm along with a town car to carry the luggage. The limo was a stretch Hummer. Very cool. Lucille & Gerry and Mark & Meggan were already inside. Communication confusion but not a big issue.

    They packed the town car with the luggage and boy was it packed. There wasn't a spare inch. A few pieces of luggage went into the back of the limo and we were off. Susan had 2 bottles of champagne which made the trip to the airport seem quicker.

    We arrived at Aer Lingus and went to check in which went smoothly for everyone, then onto security. Susan and MaryAnn got behind an elderly couple in the security line who had every issue you could think of. Water bottle, scissors, coins & keys in pockets. Each of them must have gone through the screening 5 times before the TSA finally pulled them to the side. Susan and MaryAnn finally got through and we were off to find the gate.

    Boarding was uneventful although boarding began late, and we settled in for the 6 hour flight. Ireland is 5 hours ahead of east coast USA. We were scheduled to arrive at 5:30am Ireland time, which would be 11:30pm our time. The plane left almost an hour late, which meant an hour later for arrival. We had decided that if we could get into our hotel rooms that we would unpack and nap for a couple of hours and then go out and do some sightseeing.

    We arrived at Dublin Airport, Ireland at close to 6:00am. Going through immigration and customs and then getting our luggage was painless. On the way out passing the last security station, Mark & Meggan were pulled to the side to have their bags checked. We continued to the waiting area and they were through in about 10 minutes. They did tell us that security went through every suitcase. It didn't look like there was any method to what people they pulled over to check. They pulled over a mother with a baby in a stroller. Guess that's a good thing.

    MaryAnn & Susan left us after we retrieved our luggage. They were going on an escorted tour and would rejoin our group on Friday. Barry, Betsy, Mark & Meggan were staying with Barry's family outside the city, so they rented a car and the rest of us were taking a bus to the city. We would catch up with the kids on Tuesday.

    We went outside and found the Air Coach bus, paid the 7? (Euro) pp ($11.05 each US $$) and the bus left as soon as our luggage was on. We were headed to City Center which is the center of Dublin. The weather was overcast.........more about that later.

    Diane & Bob, were booked at the Arlington Hotel right in Center City. Lucille and Gerry were booked at Clontarf Castle Hotel for 2 days and then would change to the Arlington for the rest of the trip. Susan and MaryAnn would check into the Arlington on Saturday. Steve & I were originally booked at the Arlington (I went with the crowd) but after reading some not so great reviews on Trip Advisor about noise and rooms that needed refurbishing, I canceled that reservation and booked us at the Hilton Kilmainham about 1.5 k (3 miles) outside of the city. I could have booked through SR but they only give the SR credits for USA and Canada bookings.

    Check-in was at 3pm so we decided to all go to the Arlington and check our luggage and go touring. It didn't make sense to go to our hotel when we couldn't check in, we would just go later closer to check in time.

    There were big time issues when Diane & Bob tried to check in at the Arlington. They had booked through Hotels.com and were told that the Arlington had a pool and a jacuzzi and that breakfast was included in their rate. I didn't get all the details......but there isn't a pool or jacuzzi and the breakfast was not included in ANY hotels.com rate (quoting). I'm not sure if they called or booked online but I know Diane kept saying that the person told her about the pool etc and breakfast. They were pee'od.

    I have to give the guy at the desk credit........he really tried to work with them. They ended up calling Hotels.com and canceling their reservation (they had to pay for one night because it was beyond the cancellation period) and the clerk re-booked them at a cheaper rate with breakfast included. He also gave them a superior room on a higher floor and discounted us breakfast (all 6 of us even though the rest of us weren't guests there). Now Gerry & Lucille spent time canceling their room for Wed-Mon and re-booking. Bob & Diane's room was ready so we went up to store the luggage while Gerry & Lucille got their reservation straight and then we all went to breakfast.

    While they were all trying to get their rooms straight, I hit the brochure rack and picked up brochures for all of us for various attractions and tours.

    Breakfast was a buffet, a traditional Irish breakfast. Scrambled eggs, baked beans, hash browns, rashers (bacon but thicker than ours and much saltier, similar to Canadian bacon but fattier), breakfast sausages, Irish bread, assorted pastries, scones, croissants, assorted breads for toasting, black and/or white pudding, mushroom, and half a tomato. There were also assorted juices, assorted cereals, yogurt and fresh fruit.

    After breakfast the 6 adults made our way to O'Connell Street, checked our maps and headed for Trinity College. We couldn't have timed it any better. When we arrived we signed up for a tour departing in 5 minutes. The cost of the tour was 10 ? pp (approx $16 each) and included a tour of the campus, viewing the Book of Kells (http://www.tcd.ie/Library/heritage/kells.php) and admittance to the Long Library (http://www.tcd.ie/Library/heritage/longroom.php). We had a student as a tour guide and he was delightful. There is more information about Trinity College, the book of Kells and the Long Library at the links above for anyone interested. The tour took about 50 minutes. Our tour guide left us at the entrance to the Book of Kells and the Long Library. Because we had booked the tour, we bypassed the queue to buy tickets and went right in. We spent about an hour looking at the different books, reading about the history and viewing the long room.

    We walked back to the Arlington Hotel and all decided to go to our respective hotels, take a nap and would touch base for dinner. Gerry & Lucille headed to the Clontarf Castle Hotel, and Steve & I took a taxi to the Hilton Kilmainham. The taxi driver was very friendly as was everyone we met. He told us that the Arlington get very busy on weekends and sometimes the noise is overwhelming so we made a good choice in the Hilton. We were hoping so as we kept driving. We arrived and check in was a breeze.......but our room wouldn't be ready for an over an hour. We were finally able to check into our room but by the time we unpacked it was after 4.....so we decided not to nap but just went out for a walk.

    The hotel was on the Hop on Hop off city tour route and situated right across the street from the Kilmainham Gaol (pronounced 'jail') and Courthouse, one of the stops. The Gaol is no longer used but the courthouse is. We walked for a bit and then contacted Diane & Bob to see if they wanted to get together for dinner. They did and took the bus to our hotel, and we went across the street to a pub that had an Italian restaurant upstairs.

    There is at least one pub on every corner, and several in the block itself. Most pubs don't serve food, but many have a restaurant on the 2nd floor. The pub will "order up" for you and have the food sent down to the pub. Pub is the abbreviation of Public House. The city of Dublin has a great bus system and also the LUAS which is like a subway but above ground. It took us a few days to get acclimated but once we did, we knew which bus or LUAS to take and which direction to go in. Crossing the street was a challenge as they drive on the left. The crosswalks are all well marked with which way to look. Wonder how many tourists were killed before they did that? Taxi's were expensive, so we avoided taking them unless absolutely necessary. We had a nice dinner, then took Diane & Bob over to see our hotel and they took the LUAS back to Center City. We were in for the night.

    Next: Tuesday Trip to Glendalough
    Last edited by ~Kathie; 07-04-2008 at 11:42 AM. Reason: Added Pictures
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    askomsky is offline DUH!!!!! Smack myself upside the head

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    Oh sounds good so far! Can't wait for the rest!!!
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    Can't wait for more! I loved Dublin!
    Been here for almost 10 years...eep.

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    Kathie

    Thanks for doing a trip report..........didn't you just love Ireland.......and I did that tour at Trinity College........I really enjoyed it.........my friend was finishing her Masters Degree there so while she was working on finals I was touring the campus.......

    My biggest memory coming off that plane the first time was all the shades of green..........simply spectacular...

    Do you have any pictures to share????

    Thanks, Pamela
    Pamela


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    Quote Originally Posted by pbhall13 View Post
    Kathie

    Thanks for doing a trip report..........didn't you just love Ireland.......and I did that tour at Trinity College........I really enjoyed it.........my friend was finishing her Masters Degree there so while she was working on finals I was touring the campus.......

    My biggest memory coming off that plane the first time was all the shades of green..........simply spectacular...

    Do you have any pictures to share????

    Thanks, Pamela
    It was very green. With all that rain.....it can't help but be green. It rained nearly every day. On our last day on the way to the train station, our taxi driver stated, "It's only rained twice during your trip. Once for 3 days and once for 4 days." That said it all.

    We had a wonderful trip and really want to go back. I had visited while in college back in 1972 and things sure have changed since then. There was so much we didn't get to see. Just not enough time. The Irish people are so welcoming and friendly. They have a wonderful outlook on life.

    I do have pictures which I will add hopefully today or tomorrow. DH has to get them on his computer from the camera, then I can use our network to grab them and post.
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    Kathy...great trip report! I can't wait to hear more.

    I have never been....was there a favorite food there that you liked? Something different?
    Marilyn

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    Default The Irish Adventure Continues Day 3

    Tuesday June 24th
    Glendalough and Dinner at the Groom's Parents Home

    We got up early today, had breakfast at the hotel and got the bus to Center City to met up with the gang. Today we are taking the bus to Glendalough. The kids (Barry, Betsy, Mark & Meggan) were meeting us at Glendalough. Barry had given us directions to find the bus stop in Center City. It was about 2 blocks from the Arlington Hotel near St. Stephen's Green (a large park). We found the bus stop but seeing how we were about 45 minutes early, we walked through a bit of St. Stephen's Green. There was someone filming a commercial for a local radio station. They had a giant chair and posing on top of it was Alice in Wonderland. We got a kick out of that. The Green is at the top end of Grafton Street, a very long pedestrian shopping area/street. We made a mental note to get back there.

    We took the bus right from Dawson street. We just got on the bus, paid the driver and settled back for the 2 hour trip. The bus made several stops along the route and we got to see some of the countryside. Just beautiful. Farms, cattle, sheep, goats, little villages..........the time flew by and before we knew it, we pulled up to Glendalough. The kids were waiting for us and we went in to see about the tour. We signed up for the tour but had about a half hour before it started so we went to the hotel close by to get a sandwich or something to eat. Right at 1:30 we were on our way with about 30 other people. We discovered that the tours were the most efficient way to see the places we went to instead of exploring on our own.

    View of the countryside from the bus.


    Wicklow, one of the villages we went through on the way to Glendalough


    Glendalough (pronounced Glen-da-lock which translates as "the valley of the two lakes") a small village containing a large monastery

    In Glendalough is an early Christian monastic site, founded by St. Kevin in the 6th Century. St. Kevin's fame as a holy man spread and he had a large following. The monastery would have included workshops, areas for manuscript writing and copying, guest houses, an infirmary, dwellings for both the monks and the large lay population. There are gravestones all over the area. More about those later. There are several monuments in the settlement still standing. The stonework of the buildings and the stone walls was amazing. More amazing was the stone roofs still intact. The workmanship and attention to detail was incredible.

    The gravestones are dated from the 6th century. Many of them are hard to read. Because it was a monastery, that was where people, priests and abbots were buried, in the church yard. Sometime ago, it was decided that Glendalough would be closed to burials. Anyone who had a family plot with room left were contacted and told that they needed to decide who in the family would be buried there. Then the spots were reserved. As of June 24th, there were only 7 people left who could be buried in the Glendalough cemetery. Once those 7 people die and are buried, the cemetery will officially close.



    The Office of Public Works (OPW), takes care of many of Ireland's castle's, monasteries and ancient buildings. Many of the graves and areas in the cemetery were overgrown with grasses. We asked the tour guide about it. He said because of the OPW's limited funds, the families are supposed to take care of their own grave sites. Once a family dies off....no one takes care of it. Very sad that some of the graves were so neglected.


    The monuments.

    The Gateway is one of the most important monuments, now totally unique in Ireland. It was originally two-storyed with two granite arches. The walls at either end suggest that it had a timber roof. Just inside the gateway is a cross inscribed stone. This cross denoted sanctuary, the boundary for anyone seeking refuge.

    Betsy & Mark under the Gateway


    The Round Tower is the most famous of the landmarks. It was built as a bell tower, used for storage, as a landmark for visitors, and as a place of refuge in times of attack. It's approximately 30 meters high (about 99 feet) with an entrance 3.5 meters (about 12 feet) from the ground. It originally had 6 timber floors, accessible by ladders. the first 4 stories each had one window, one on each side of the tower. The top floor had a window on each side facing the cardinal compass points. The only way in was by ladder. In times of attack the people in the settlement would climb into the tower and then the ladder would be pulled in. Many relics and chalices, books would be put here so prevent invaders from getting their hands on them.





    The Cathedral is the largest building in Glendalough. It had several additions over the years which can be seen by the added decorations and carvings.

    The Priest's House was almost totally reconstructed using the original stones based on a 1779 sketch. It is where the priests were interred during the 18th and 19th century. It is thought that it's original purpose was to house the relics of St. Kevin.

    St. Kevin's Church or "Kitchen" looks like a small church with a tower. Because we took the tour we were able to go inside. Incredible seeing the stone roof from the inside. Behind the church ( it was actually the front of the church) was the marker for the end of the original property line, a stone Celtic (pronounced Kell-tick) cross.
    There are several Celtic crosses on the boundary lines across the property.

    Other churches on the property St. Kieran's Church, St. Mary's or Our Lady's Church, Trinity Church, St. Saviours Church, Reefert Church. We did make it to St. Kieran's but not the others. They were not near the center of the monastery and since we only had a limited amount of time, we had to chose what to see.

    There are 2 lakes on the property, the Upper Lake and the Lower Lake. We walked along the Green Road from the monastery across the bridge and down to the Lower Lake. It was about a mile and a half and the views and flowers, trees were amazing. The view at the lake was spectacular. Later in life St. Kevin became a hermit and lived for a time at the Lower Lake and then moved to a cave at the Upper Lake. We didn't walk up to the Upper Lake as it was quite a distance away but hopefully will get there next time.

    Walking back to the monastery, we stopped at a large curved tree. The picture says it all. We walked back, got a 2nd look at the monuments and grave stones, took in the short film that we missed at the beginning of the tour, hit the toilets (they don't call them rest rooms) and went out to wait for the bus. The 2 hour bus trip back to Dublin was uneventful. The kids went back to Barry's parents house. We would be meeting them there for dinner.

    More pictures post 13
    Last edited by ~Kathie; 07-04-2008 at 11:56 AM.
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    Default Dinner at the Groom's Parents House

    Dinner at the Groom's parents house outside City Center.
    Tuesday PM


    We arrived in Center City and headed to the bus stop near Trinity college to get to Tallaght. Found the bus okay and off we went. We arrived about 7 and called Barry when we got to the bus stop. 2 cars came to pick the 6 of us up. One thing about their cars. VERY expensive. We saw a new (tiny) Subaru in a car lot for 42,000 E (The forums don't like the Euro sign) or $67,000. Gas was sold by the liter and we figured it out to be nearly $8.00 a gallon. The cars are also a lot smaller than our models. Barry's sister owns a Rav4. I've driven a Rav4 but have never seen one this small. This one held 4 people and had very little trunk (boot) space. Only what would fit behind the seat.

    Dinner was wonderful. They had made appetizers of lox and shrimp on toast, with raw carrots and celery, roasted ham and turkey, roasted vegetables and potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower mix, stuffing, boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes. Dessert was apple pie, cheesecake, berries and cream and ice cream. Plus Irish coffee and lots of wine. The entire family was there, Barry's 2 sisters and their children, and his brother Daniel. Only 2 of Barry's brother's were unable to join us, one who lives 2 hours away and one who lives in Australia. We had met both of them at the wedding (in RI) and Adrian (lives in Ireland and his family would be at the reception on Saturday).

    Barry's parents Junie and Johnny and their entire family went out of their way to make us welcome. It was a great evening. Junie thought it would be better for us to take the LUAS back to our hotels. Steve & I could get off closer to our hotel and not have to take a bus from Center City and the rest of the gang would get off at the last stop which was near their hotel.

    Now here I have to mention that this time of year in Ireland it stays light until after 11 pm. On June 21st, the longest day of the year, it stays light almost 24 hours and gradually the amount of time lessens. When we went to the LUAS station it was just getting to be dusk. We bought out tickets (with Junie's help) and waited for the train to come. We were getting off at Heuston (pronounced Houston) Station and the rest were getting off at Abbey Street. Train came......on we went. There is no one on the train to collect tickets. They do have collector's get on and off randomly to check tickets. If you don't have a ticket, you not only pay the full fare but are fined.



    It is the law in Ireland that any signs must be in English and Irish. Traffic signs, street signs, direction signs, everything. When the stops were announced, they were announced in English and Irish. We had about 15 stops before we came to our stop. Let me just add here that we had questioned the hotel desk clerk about the station and we were told it was about a 10 minute walk from the hotel. On our walk the day before, we had walked towards the station but not very far. Keep that in mind as I continue.

    We got off at Heuston Station and never having been there before and being pitch black we lost our bearings. There was a lad close by, so we asked him which way to Kilmainham Gaol as that is a well known landmark. He pointed to the direction, said it was about 20 minutes and we were on our way. After walking for 20 minutes, we knew we were hopelessly lost. Not a good feeling being tourists in a foreign country, having no idea where we were, what kind of a neighborhood we were in (didn't look very nice) we took out out map, went under a street light to try to figure out where we were and what to do next. We decided to get back to the train station......at least we were told that was 10 minute walk from the hotel. One the way back to the train station we met up with a man walking and we took a chance and ask him for directions. What a nice man and very indicative of the Irish people. He literally took us back to the station which was out of his way. From there he directed us to our hotel. We chatted with him on the way to the station and he asked us where in the states we were from. We said Rhode Island and were about to say south of Boston, when he announced he had been there.......to TF Green airport. He could tell by our 'speech'. Too funny.

    We followed his directions (it was a direct route) and the 10 minute walk took us over a half hour. We are not slow walkers by any means but the Irish are speed walkers. We finally arrived back to our hotel almost an hour after being dropped off by the train. What was a wonderful evening, could have turned very ugly. We were glad to be back to our hotel and went to bed.

    Next: Wednesday Touring Dublin Center City and Dinner At Johnnie Foxes the Highest Pub in Ireland.

    Hopefully pictures soon.
    Last edited by ~Kathie; 07-04-2008 at 12:58 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunni View Post

    I have never been....was there a favorite food there that you liked? Something different?
    My diet (fruits and vegetables only and whole grains) was shot. I can have fish or chicken a couple of times a month but potatoes, pasta, scones, meats of any kind are taboo. With my dairy allergy it was all the more challenging.

    I decided that I would have to be very flexible while on this trip. It would be almost impossible to stick to the diet unless I ate strickly salads. As long as I could stick to it as much as possible AND avoid the dairy, I would be doing something.

    I was in Ireland while in college in 1972. The food was awful. Everything was fried or boiled, they didn't use any spices so very bland.

    We really found the food to be much better. We ate at several different restaurants and cafe's and everywhere was accommodating to my needs. Every restaurant had a varied menu and all the food was good.

    Was there anything special food that I liked? The scones. Nothing like the ones we get here in the States. Full of butter.....and not dry at all. I really wasn't supposed to eat them, but I did have a small piece here and there. Also the tea. Nobody makes tea like the Irish.

    The food was expensive. Even in the markets which we made a point to go into. We always love looking in markets when we travel to see to the different products they have available.
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    Love your report. Can't wait to see picutres.
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