This evening we depart for Dublin, Ireland. We will arrive there on Wednesday morning around 8:30A.
We will be here seven days and plan on many day trips revisiting the small towns of Ireland.
We also are looking forward to spending time with my nephew Brian's future in-laws, Marie and Bernard, who reside in Dublin. It will be nice to have a "pint" with them in their homeland.
Wednesday July 23, 2008
Our flight yesterday was canceled due to three inoperative lavatories. We were rerouted 3 hours later through London and connected to Dublin in the afternoon.
After a few delays along the way we finally arrived in Dublin at 5p, 8 hours later than planned.
We arrived at our hotel, The Merrion just after 6p.
We were invited to a cook out at Marie & Bernard's home (Fionas parents). Bernard insisted that he "collect" us from our hotel instead of us driving to their home and trying to navigate through Dublin after our long day.
Great food, friends and a great welcome to Dublin by the McEntee's.
(Marie & Bernard)
Thursday July 24, 2008
We spent the day walking around the city of Dublin. Visited a few shops, and a tour of the Jameson Brewery. Later we had lunch in pub, washed down with a pint of Guinness.
Dinner tonight was at the Bleu Bistro.
Friday July 25, 2008
Today was a full day of driving out of Dublin headed toward Kilkenny. (Loaned GPS, perfect travel companion) The weather is cool and raining on and off all day. Very typical weather this time of year and perfect for sight seeing.
Kilkenny is a quaint small town with many shops, pubs and hairdressers.
We parked the car in the garage and walked a few blocks to the castle for a one hour tour. No photos were allowed inside the castle.
After our tour, we stopped for lunch at a pub recommended by Mr. Travel, Rick Steves
We both had sandwiches (no beer, driving) with other tourists and many locals.
Since we were south of Dublin already, we decided to do the 45 minute drive to Waterford. On our previous trip in 2002, I regretted not buying more future gifts at the Waterford factory. Since we had arranged dinner plans, 45 minutes was all the time to shop. It was a marathon shopping spree. Completed in 40 minutes. The box will be shipped back home.
We made it back to Dublin in plenty of time for our dinner out with th McEntee clan. There was nine people in our party for dinner at The Trocodero Restaurant.
Wonderful place that requires advance reservations. Lovely, as they say.
After dinner we strolled over to the Shelbourne Hotel.
We found our way to the smaller of their two bars where we were able to have a few corner tables (photo above).
While we were enjoying the evening, Fiona received a call from Brian back home with some great news. Her green card had arrived. She now can go back and forth to Ireland and not apply for all the necessary visas.
We finished the night off at a local club that was filled with people on both levels.
Saturday July 26, 2008
We slept in today until mid-morning. Well needed rest from the full driving day and evening out until the wee hours.
We were told about Phoenix Park in Dublin, the largest enclosed urban park in Europe. It encompasses over 1760 acres, and is located just outside the city centre.
We rented bicycles at one of the designated entrances. Perfect way to see the park and get the well needed exercise. Bargain priced at 10 Euro for
2 1/2 hours. A must see and do if you visit Dublin.
After our ride we walked past the Guinness Brewery (toured last trip), stopped for a late lunch at Foley's Pub and rested a bit before our full night ahead.
Tonight Michael Buble' concert, thanks to our new friend Dolores in Dublin.
The venue was a short distance from the hotel, but we managed to get lost and a taxi took us to the correct location.
The concert was outdoors and the weather was perfect and our seats were in the second row. In our opinion the concert was better than when he appeared in Chicago.
I was able to take some video of of 5 of his songs. If your interested in viewing them click here.
After the concert, we met Marie, Dolores and Ann at the Westbury Hotel for drinks. We relaxed in the very nice bar until just past 1.
Dolores had made arrangements for us be admitted to Lillies, a club that is private on the top floor.
This was a relatively small room that you were only admitted if you were on the list. The three piece band was excellent and played to the quaint room of about 60 people.
We sipped champagne, enjoyed the music and people watching until 4A.
Now we were starving. No White Castle here.
Near the hotel was an all night stand serving Turkish pita sandwiches.
They hit the spot.
Perfect day in Dublin.
Sunday July 27, 2008
Late morning start but we decided on a drive to Glendalough, the valley of two lakes. It is renowned for its Early Medieval monastic settlement founded by St Kevin in the 6th century.
It was a perfect walking day with beautiful grounds and scenery.Dinner this evening was at the Eden Restaurant, located in the Temple Bar area of Dublin.
Monday July 28, 2008
We decided that today would be our last road trip out of Dublin. We traveled on 4 lane highways, fast moving and winding narrow 2 lane roads and roads that were barely large enough for 1 car.
(click below to play short drive experience)
The return trip, we drove along coast of the Irish Sea, through the great small resort town of Wicklow. Very picturesque and the perfect setting for a short holiday.
Our travels today took us south of Dublin to Wexford, where we strolled around this medium sized town. More winding town streets filled with shops, restaurants and corner pubs.
We arrived back at the hotel around 8P. At the last minute we were able to get a reservation at the Tea Room, located in the Clarence Hotel.
Tuesday July 29,2008
Today was our final day in Ireland. We opted to just take it easy and stroll around Dublin.
(Jim with Oscar Wilde)So this was a great way to see the city again in perfect weather.
We had pint at Foley's (Fionas uncle has worked there for about 9 years) and had a nice chat.
Our final dinner was with the McEntees at a great restaurant Fallon and Byrne.
Our group ended the evening with a stop at the pub, for a final cocktail and Guinness.
Wednesday July 30, 2008
Return flight home on AA 5 hours late due to an earlier mechanical delay.
Back at home by 6P.
Cannot wait to return to Ireland.