Traveling Abroad (One) — May, 2013

Bet you’re wondering where I’ve been for the past few days.

Would you believe Ireland??

You should. I might be part-Irish, but I wouldn’t lie about a trip to the Motherland!

It’s long been a dream of mine. Last summer, my friend Katybeth and her son went and had a blast.

Then in August, Notre Dame played Navy in the Shamrock Bowl in Dublin (and Domer and the Band got to go!). But they didn’t see much of anything, so I promised — if Domer wanted to — that I’d take him back as a graduation gift. He agreed.

I applied for, and received my passport, made travel arrangements, and was so excited about our adventure that I barely slept. I had all sorts of plans — kissing the Blarney Stone, touring the Guinness factory, seeing Trinity College and the Book of Kells and the Waterford factory, looking over Kilmainham Gaol, and taking a bazillion pictures.

To share on my blog, naturally!

We departed Wednesday, May 22, from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, intending to sleep the entire flight because we were to land at 9 a.m. the next day and hit the ground running toward the sights.

No such luck.

  • The flight attendants kept the overhead lights blaring and ran up and down the aisles feeding people every couple of hours.
  • Passengers tromped back and forth to the restrooms.
  • The girl in front of me leaned her seat way back (when I couldn’t move mine), squashing my space.
  • The man next to Domer coughed and snored — mouth wide open — for hours.
  • Somebody’s infant was most unhappy and let us all know about it.

The “fun” really started after we landed on Irish soil.

Domer and I snared a few Euros from an airport ATM and hailed a taxi into Dublin and our hotel. The plan was to drop off our luggage and sight-see.

Neither of us can be sure, but we strongly suspect that the cabbie — nice though he was — took a roundabout route, pointing out all the “bee-u-tee-ful” sights to see while we were in town. We grew more suspicious when he told us how “the missus” likes money and how hard it is to make a living driving a cab.

Thirty-six Euros later, we arrived in front of the hotel — the one Domer had found online before we left, the one I booked and in turn, received confirmation on.

The attendant said he had no record of our booking; however, he’d sell us a room. Figuring I was going to get charged twice, and not feeling comfortable with the seedy-looking place anyway, we high-tailed it back onto the streets.

Schlepping our luggage across crowded Dublin, we made our way to a Burger King. Twelve Euros for two burgers, one small fry, and two sodas.

(One Euro equals $1.30, approximately. You do the math!)

Feeling cheated but no longer hungry, we went to the Discover Ireland office. They found us a “guest house” and gave us directions on which bus to take and how to get there.

The inn’s rate was reasonable that night, but it nearly doubled for the following nights — apparently due to a football (soccer) match in town that weekend, along with some big concert and lots of tourists — so one night was all we booked.

It was a quaint little inn. Tiny, but clean. There were no amenities like in the States — no toiletries, no soap, no washcloths, no clock, no mini-fridge, no microwave. But they did have wireless Internet, which we used to search for our next night’s accommodation.

Frustrated and weary from jet lag, we toppled into our beds for a few hours (killing any hope of Thursday sight-seeing).

When dinnertime arrived, we prevailed upon the desk clerk for directions to a restaurant, and were led to a delightful spot for beer-battered haddock and fries.

Good, but expensive. Cha-ching.

Upon our return, we did more research, questioned the sanity of this trip, then crashed for the night.

Join me tomorrow for more!

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22 thoughts on “Traveling Abroad (One) — May, 2013

  1. Ah, so that’s where you were….IRELAND! That is a place I have always wanted to visit, Debbie!

    WOW…your trip there and your first day sounded “not-so-good.”

    I remember when I flew to Japan (27 1/2hrs.) and it being a challenge to sleep on the plane. The service was great and there was not too much distraction, but just the fact that people were getting up and walking through the isles to stretch their legs or to use the restroom was enough to interrupt my sleep. By the time I got to Japan, I couldn’t even hear or speak, I was to tired.

    “(One Euro equals $1.30, approximately. You do the math!)”

    OMG…over $15.00!?!?!?

    Looking forward to reading more about your trip because I bet you also had some really great experiences and stories to share!

    X

    • Ron, your trip to Japan sounds about like mine to Ireland. I hadn’t factored in the jet lag, ha!
      You’re such a dear to come along for the ride, but I’ve gotta warn ya — Hang on! Things are about to get bumpy (and that’s all the hints you’ll get, heehee!)

  2. Sorry about your troubles! Not having a hotel after flying for hours is hard. Our accommodations were very simple. As for, food it was very expensive and not very good. But we spent precious little time in the room, and mostly ate on the run…so I’m hoping your experience improved. Didn’t you love the accent up close and personal? Looking forward to reading more about your adventure. Thanks for the shout out.

    • Let me just say upfront that you handled things better than we did! Not that we’re “princesses” or anything, but we were woefully unprepared for what we found. Come back tomorrow and you’ll see.

  3. Goodness, Debbie, what an adventure! But what fun to be traveling with your son–and to Ireland. Oh, I’ve always wanted to go there, ever since reading “Trinity” by Leon Uris, while in college. Hope you post pictures!

    • Thanks, Monica. Traveling to Ireland has long been a dream of mine, too. You’ll just have to wait and see, as I take you along for the trip!

  4. I’m in the process of tracking some of my ancestors, and have gotten as far back as County Down. This tickles me beyond words, because my grandfather used to sing “Star of the County Down” to me.

    My aunt and cousin went about five years ago and had such a marvelous time. Sorry you had some glitches, but the truth is that some of the best stories come out of experiences that seemed ghastly at the time. I’m eager to see what your experiences were.

    • One of my uncles did a genealogy several years ago and tracked one of our ancestors to Ireland. Sadly, records didn’t seem as important back then as we know them to be today. Because of fires, mishandling, and general confusion, we haven’t been able to pinpoint why folks with an obvious English surname landed in Ireland. Nevertheless, it is what it is.

      “Some of the best stories come out of experiences that seemed ghastly at the time.” Truer words were never spoken, Linda!!

  5. Debbie, sometimes travel can be a comedy of errors – and sometimes, those mishaps and Plan B’s end up being half the fun memories. Not at the time – but in years to come you’ll joke about those with Domer. What a great time for you and your new graduate to spend together.

    And, by the way, I’ve had those suspicious cabbies too – one notoriously (that my sister and I still grumble about) was in Chicago. Buggers.

    • Chicago is great at separating you from your money, Barb! It’s sad, but cabbies like that really give the entire profession a bad name. And to think tourists, who have no idea where they are anyway, depend on them!

  6. Cha ching! Welcome to my pain, Debbie! Now you know why I can only afford to wear sweatpants! hee hee! Those cabbies are the worse. You should have verified the fare before getting in, lady. I got conned once and swore I would never be a victim again. Can’t wait to read the next part! And really, they should close down those horribly expensive Burger Kings! :)

    • They’ve got to keep the Burger Kings, Bella. Where else would tourists stop, hoping to find something familiar and willing to pay BIG BUCKS for it?!

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