Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Traveling to Ireland (Days 1&2)

As I am sure many of you have found, all the pictures from my Ireland trip are posted to my flickr account. This is the first of 6 belated blog entries with a few of my favorite photos.

My sister and I set off for Ireland on Monday, May 12th, and oddly enough this was the only day of our trip where weather was a problem. Our flight was delayed almost an hour getting out of Phoenix to Philadelphia, and when we did get over Philadelphia airspace, they were still backed up from all of their weather problems, so we had to circle the airport. We were lucky though, at least our connecting flight to Dublin was still boarding when we arrived. Other people on the plane had to run across the concourse where their flights were being held (if they were lucky!!

Danielle and I had planned well, and slept for most of the flight, which was helpful since we left Phoenix at noon on Monday and arrived in Dublin at 10am on Tuesday!! We got through customs, which was slow. However, getting a new stamp on my passport is always exciting!!

We stopped by the Tourist Office in the airport and purchased 6 day Dublin passes. These passes are quite a good deal because they include free admission to several tourist places (Guiness Factory, Jameson Distillery, Dublin Castle, and various other museums and historic sites around the city), and discounts to many other places and shops. The passes also include "fast tracking" at many of the sites, where you get to skip in front of the line of people who are somewhat less prepared.

Dublin has an amazing transportation system. The public bus runs every 10 minuts from the airport to the city center. Luckily there was a stop only 2 blocks from our hotel, and the one-way transfer from the airport to Dublin was included in the Dublin Pass. I took many photos from the bus, then we got off and headed to our hotel, the fabulous Conrad Dublin The concierges at the hotel were incredibly nice and helpful, and iwthout them I doubt we would have seen or done nearly as much as we crammed into our week.

After checking in, we set out to do some light exploring of the city and grab some lunch. The weather was absolutely beautiful, big blue skies, mid 50's for the temp, and just a light breeze. The main area of the city has a pedestrian only street, the famous Grafton Street, lined with shops and restaurants. We grabbed a bit of lunch, then headed over to St. Stephen's Green, a small park in the center of the city that was filled with people in business suits, students, families, kids, lovers, and individuals, soaking up the sun and enjoying the unusual weather.

After this round of exploring, we took a quick nap, then made dinner reservations at the Arlington hotel for a night of traditional Irish cuisine, music, and dance. (not us, thank goodness, but professionals!!).All in all, a very successful first day in the Emerald Isle.

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