After our last Full Scottish breakfast for awhile we headed to the airport. We talked about taking the bus which left from about a block away but the timing was difficult to understand and it was going to take over an hour, so we needed up taking a cab, which while it cost 20 pounds was much more convenient. We have found that we are more comfortable taking public transportation FROM the airport where time isn’t as critical as opposed to the airport where we don’t want (can’t) be late.
Ryan Air checkin was a breeze-they like many European airports have selfcheck in kiosks which issue the luggage tags which you attach and then take to a conveyor and drop off. So no lines unless you have an issue! EasyPeasy.
Security was busy but turned out to be fun. Apparently, a groom and his mates were off to Malaga for his stag party. And like the bachelor we ran into on the train from Salzburg to Passau a few years ago (check the archives for April of 2016 i think) the groom was in costume. So what we first thought was a very tall Emirates flight attendant wasn’t!
We enjoyed some of the artwork on the LOOOOONG walk to Ryan Air’s gates – it basically is in Cork, but at least it was a fun walk.
We soon boarded and were off to Ireland.
We have found Ryan Air to be no better or no worse than legacy airlines. We need to pay for luggage as our “rollaboards are expanded and are over the maximum weight for cabin bags and with one of their programs, you can assign exit row seats for a little bit more money, so we have plenty of leg room and typically the cost is about half of what one of the legacy airlines charges. Of course you have to bring your own drink or food, but with the 50% savings it really is a no brainer.
We arrived in Dublin and based on earlier research we bought the 72 hour LEAP pass at the tourist info stand in the airport. It cost under 20 euros (Ireland’s is not part of Britain so they are on the Euro) and was good for all public transport in Dublin for the three days we were there. The express airport bus (Route 747 – how cute is that?) whisked us into the city and to a bus stop about a 10 minute (flat) walk to our Airbnb. The roundtrip cost for the airport express was just over 12 euros so for only a little more we got three whole days of usage (and I gave two grateful Ryan Air gate agents our tickets when we left Dublin which meant they had a free ride home from the airport since there was still two or three hours validity.)
Our Airbnb https://abnb.me/D4oHLL1RiR was in a typical working class neighborhood of Dublin on the south side near Christchurch and St. Patrick’s (which is pictured at the top of this post). It was as expected though I had forgotten it was up two flights of stairs. I guess it was getting us prepared for what was to come in Porto.
We particularly enjoyed the shower and the comfortable sofa and the umbrella which was provided and which unfortunately we would need.
By the time we got settled in, it was almost dark and we were tired so we went around the corner and got a bake it yourself pizza and just relaxed.
After a great sleep, we got up early and rode (thank you Leap Card) the bus from just down the street across the river and halfway up O’connell Street (the main drag of the northside) to meet our “Free Walking Tour. We have found these tours to be great wherever we have taken them and Dublin was no exception. You tip what you think appropriate at the end of the tour.
We met at “The Spire” which was erected in 2003 as part of the redevelopment plan for the street. It stands on the site of a former column honoring Nelson which was bombed and destroyed in 19666 during the disagreements between North and South. Apparently it is a hot topic among Dubliners, our guide didn’t seem to like it much as it doesn’t have any tie to the historic nature of the city.
There were about 120 folks at the spire for the tour, luckily there were four guides so we split into four groups and set off towards the river. Along the way we were told about the history of Dublin and the buildings we were seeing.
After crossing the river, we saw Trinity College and walked through the Temple Bar area of town. This part used to be a dying part but is now nightlife central.
After a coffee break we headed towards Edinburgh Castle. This was once the Queen’s house in Ireland but now is the President’s place. Elizabeth was the first monarch to visit since 1922 when she was here in 2011. It’s history goes back to the 12th century but only one of the four round towers remains standing and the entire place has had many additions offer the years.
From the castle, we continued our tour to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This church is built at the site where St. Patrick baptized the heathens while he was the catholic church’s missionary. The grounds are beautiful and we wished it hadn’t of been raining and cold so we could have enjoyed them more. So we said goodbye to the group and we headed towards our apartment in search of lunch as it was after 2 pm.
We stopped into the pub just down the street and had the perfect meal. Guinness beef stew (with mashed potatoes) and a Guinness. Does it get any more Irish?
The pub was obviously popular with the locals and we were warmly welcomed by the Owner, Wayne who was proud to let us know he had once’s worked at a hotel in Dallas. There was a group of young (?) ladies preparing to head to Liverpool for a “Dirty Thirty” party for one of their birthdays. They all had apparently gone to the Bianca del Rio school of makeup and it seemed to add at least 10 years to each of them. However, they were having a good time and added to the ambiance! But the stew and beer really made the day, hot and tasty on a cold and wet day.
The next day was also rainy and cold so we elected to use our LEAP pass and ride the train as far north as we could to the seaside town of Hoath. It was an interesting ride through the closein suburbs and then we reached the North Sea and big houses that purportedly sell for upwards of a million pounds.
We wandered around the village, saw some sea lions, had fish and chips, and then made our way back to the City.
Afterwards, we retired to our apartment and I had my first nap in a long long time.
That evening it was still raining (we have been so lucky, Scotland and Ireland are the first places we have really used our umbrellas – well Mike has used his, I lost mine in Lisbon in June but thankfully lots of the Airbnb’s have had them. I am worried about next week in Italy -writing this from Portugal on 10/25/18 and the forecast for Italy all next week calls for showers) so we ran down to Wayne’s place and got two containers of potato soup…Yum!
Then we packed and prepared to heads to Porto.
There were no issues the next day taking the Airport Express bus back though we were worried there might be due to the hurricane, the first ever to make landfall in Portugal. Luckily it only delayed our flight by about and hour-we even had time to have one last Guinness for Mike and a G&T for me in the lounge before it was time to board.
So that should catch us up….I think I have been keeping up here in Portugal. While we hate to leave, we are looking forward to our week in Italy with Peggy and Lowell, especially bein able to drive and see the Tuscan countryside – here’s hoping Mike doesnt’ see some villa he wants to buy to fulfill his “Under the Tuscan Sun” fantasy…though I did overhear he and Peggy discussing which fountain they were going to jump into naked!