Ireland Day 1 and 2

Ireland Day 1         Maidenhead to Dublin                Overcast/cool

 Janet and Adrian dropped us off at Heathrow Terminal 1 (which we hadn’t been to before).  We continue to be surprised at the size of Heathrow Airport.  From the time we arrived until the time we got on the planed it felt like we had walked several kilometres.

We experienced a couple of little minor glitches to commence our Ireland Tour. 

Firstly, when we tried to check in online last night, the system wouldn’t allow us to and when we got to Heathrow, the British Midlands desk couldn’t immediately get us checked in either, as for some reason, our ticket had been locked.  She phoned someone and they quickly got it sorted (as well as our return flight and hopefully our flight from Amsterdam in a few weeks.)

Secondly, our plane was an hour late taking off – we sat in the plane on the tarmac until we were able to get clearance from Dublin. 

Thirdly, when we arrived to collect our VW Eos, which we had paid for at the beginning of March, they didn’t have one – they didn’t actually have any convertibles in stock at all, and what sort of car would we like, they asked.  We told the gentleman, politely, but firmly, that we were not happy with this arrangement and showed him our confirmation, specifically stating that it was the VW Eos convertible that we were renting.  He was surprised to see the paperwork and after ringing several places, made his apologies and suggested that we could have a BMW Coupe 3

Series instead, for the same price, and if he could lay his hands on a convertible he would bring it to us at our B&B.  Needless to say, we are disappointed that we don’t have a convertible, but are very impressed with the car we do have!

We gave Sean, Janet and Adrian’s trusty GPS, our B&B address and voila! within 10 minutes, we were at Griffith House B&B.  We checked in, dropped off our suitcase and walked up the road to the bus stop to catch a bus into the city (Janet & Adrian will be very impressed with our adventurous spirit!!) We caught a 123 bus, which cost us three euros and 20 cents, for which the proprietor, Eugene, had pre-warned us that we had to have the correct money and even organised change for us. 

On the way to the city, we passed the huge football stadium which holds 80 thousand people and was hosting a major game this afternoon, which had just finished, which somewhat delayed our trip into the city.

We decided to have an overview of Dublin by catching the Hop On & Off Tourist Bus for what was to be an hour and a half trip around the major scenic attractions. 

Despite the fact that the skies were grey and threatening, we decided to sit in the open section of the top floor of a double decker bus so that Richard could take photos.  We went down O’Connell Street, Ireland’s widest street where we saw the tallest sculpture in the world – a big pole really – then over the River Liffey, then past Trinity College, Houses of Parliament, the Christ Church Cathedral and other churches, Guinness Storehouse, past Dublin’s notorious Kilmainham Gaol, Phoenix Park, and many other interesting/historical places.  This tour of Dublin gave us a good idea of what we would like to have a better look at next weekend when we return.

We were pleased that it didn’t rain and at times blue sky actually appeared, but the wind was a little on the chilly side – thank goodness we had brought our jackets!

When we arrived back in O’Connell Street, we found a lovely place to have dinner, called Flanagans.  We both had a Guinness Steak pie, which was scrumptious.

We found the bus stop for our return trip on the 123 bus and arrived back at Griffith House at about 9.30, after a lovely afternoon/evening.

Ireland Day 2                  Dublin to Waterford       Cool, but fine – no rain

 After a hearty breakfast (Richard is back to having bacon and eggs and sausage – Sandy is still having cereal), we loaded the car, set Sean to take us to Waterford and headed off.  We chose to use the tollway, which cost 3 euros and then we travelled through County Kildare, with beautiful scenery, and quickly found ourselves in Kilkenny where we had planned on seeing the castle.  The big game that we told you about last night turned out to be between Kilkenny and another team and Kilkenny apparently won, so the town was putting up roadblocks ready for a big parade through town.  The castle was blocked off, so the best we could do was to stop and take a photo.

From there we continued on, through beautiful green rolling hills, to New Ross, on the River Barrow, to look at a replica of the Dunroby Emigrant Ship.  The impressive three-masted ship took immigrants from New Ross, Ireland to America to start a new life away from the desperation of the Great Famine in Ireland at the time, supposedly offering them a better life.  However, quite a number of them died on the way.  The steerage passengers had it pretty tough.  They had one bunk-type area for the whole family – 6 people shared each section – see photos on the gallery.

We had lunch on the wharf at the visitor’s centre and then continued on to Waterford.  After we checked in to the Waterford Marina, where we have a lovely room overlooking the River Suir, Sean took us to the Waterford Crystal Visitor’s Centre, where we wandered around looking at all the amazing pieces of crystal.

We went for a look around Waterford and then came back to the hotel to have showers, ready for dinner.

Richard is fascinated with the car and has taken numerous photos.  Sandy thinks it is very comfortable and easy to drive.  At one stage the car was telling us that it was 13 degrees outside, not long after we left Dublin and it only got to about 16 when we were arriving in Waterford.  Just love the gadgets!!!  When we get into the car, a little gadget hands us our seatbelt……. could get used to this type of luxury………..

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