As I shared in the previous post, flying to Dublin was a breeze! We rarely fly with the boys because we need so much stuff. That means most of our travels have either been close by (within 10 hours) or we don’t go. This time we were blessed to be able to go without the boys. See, it all started when Matt wanted to take me to a ball. The real, “Cinderella” kind of ball. He wanted me to feel like a princess and actually said, “I wanted you to feel like the Belle of the Ball.” We lined up
sitters saints and I got a dress (which he has still not seen… saving it for the MI Ball in May). As we started to add up the cost we were going to pay for said trip, it was close to $1,300. We wanted to see as much as possible while there, which still, wasn’t going to be much. I threw out the idea that we could spend less money and pick a city in Europe that we really wanted to see. That’s when the Dublin idea was conceived!
Within hours we had the flight and hotel booked, and a few days later, our activities. planned and paid for. All for MUCH less than $1,300!
Part of the savings was in the flight. We flew RyanAir and didn’t check any bags. Our total cost for both tickets, round-trip, was $149. Not each. Total.
We arrived at our gate early enough to play a partial round of Hill Rummy as we waited for our flight. I think we played a total of two and a half games the whole time we were gone but played them in about 10 different locations, including the hotel, pubs, museums, castles… anywhere we had to wait for any length of time. We even created a new version, which we call, Hamrick Rummy, in which you also play a round of 2s and a round of Aces.
Not sure why I was surprised by this, but Ireland follows the UK as far as driving on the left-hand side of the road. I guess since they’re not part of the UK and ARE a part of the EU, I just assumed they would drive on the right-hand side. Interesting! (They also have all their signage in kilometers but they still refer to distances in miles. I figure this is what we would endure in the states if we were forced to convert… we might see KPH on our signs but our minds would still think in MPH.)
After landing and hitting up the Tourist Info booth at the airport we ate lunch at Matt’s favorite restaurant, McDonald’s. I don’t say that sarcastically. He really loves it. We then boarded the Airlink, which activated our three-day Dublin Pass. This pass got us into several exhibits and activities for free, and gave us discounts at other places. We did detailed research and found that the things we wanted to see added up to make the Dublin Pass worth the cost. We had also pre-purchased a 1-day Hop On Hop Off Bus Ticket. What’s great about these tickets is that while getting around town the driver tells you about what you’re seeing. And, the ticket, though it says “1-day” it actually works the 2nd day as well. So, we got to the City Centre by way of Airlink and walked 20 feet away to the next bus stop and got on the Hop on Hop Off, headed towards the first place on our “to see” list. (Matt had done a great job of organizing the things we wanted to see based on their days/hours of operation as well as their placement on the Hop On Hop Off route.)
Our first stop of the day was Christ Church Cathedral. I’m not a big “cathedral” person so I don’t have much to say about these. I was glad we went and would recommend anyone visiting Dublin to see them, but they’re just not my thing. Some interesting things about Christ Church Cathedral is that it dates back to 1030 at this location, the Tudors filmed there and you can see some of their costumes, and this cat and rat fossil thing… pretty funny story. These were real animals that got stuck in an organ pipe while the cat was chasing the mouse and there they were for many years. When they were discovered a new saying was developed around town: If someone got in a tight spot they would say they were, “as stuck as that cat to that mouse in that tube of that Christchurch organ.”
We walked from Christ Church Cathedral to the next place on our list of places we wanted to visit: St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Aside from being a beautiful building, the “Choir School, which had been founded in 1432, supplied many of its members to take part in the very first performance of Handel’s Messiah in 1742.” (Info from Wikipedia… can’t remember where I first read this.) Matt was fascinated by all the colors displayed around the room. Also, very notably, Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, is buried here, as is his friend, Stella. Swift was the Dean of St. Patrick’s for over 30 years.
After seeing both of the Cathedrals we “hopped on” the bus and rode to the main part of the city. I want to point out that when Dublin says, “City Centre” it encompasses a lot of territory. Most of it is easily walkable, but the busses provide shelter in rain and a lot of information along the way. When I think of “city centre” my mind goes thinks more of the area that includes the tourist information center, Fleet Street, a Starbucks, and Trinity College where the bus originally dropped us off. It seemed to be hub of activity; the place where all the different places branched from, including our hotel.
Because it was included in our Dublin Pass we hit the Wax Museum before dinner. We got quite a kick out of most of the exhibits, but honestly, there were some fascinating displays as well as some that were absolutely heartbreaking, including the figures of a mom and her baby they way they might have looked during the great potato famine. A warning was given to parents encouraging them to exercise discretion regarding allowing children to enter that room.
Dubliners are very proud of their history, specifically the heroes of the 1916 Easter Rising and this was displayed in one of the rooms.
Then we were off to dinner. We had been told by two different people before the trip we needed to try out Gallagher’s Boxty House, with its potato pancake boxty dinners. (See bottom left image.) We really loved our meals and highly recommend this restaurant. In the top row you’ll see an Irish coffee. Not my favorite coffee drink but it was free as a part of our Dublin Pass so we each drank one. It’s more pretty than tasty.
You know I had to hit up a Starbucks, right? We grabbed a coffee and walked to our hotel, which was about a 10 minute walk from the hub of activity I described earlier. (I think to walk from one end of the map’s “city centre” to the other it would take about 25 minutes.) I wanted to buy Dublin mugs for all my fellow coffee-loving peeps but there was no way they would all fit in my backpack and I had to be able to fit everything in my bag for the flight home. That was the one drawback of flying RyanAir. Less space to pack souvenirs.
And thus concludes Day 1 of our Dublin trip. For the purposes of this blog, at least.