Ireland - Day 1, April 14 &15

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11:16 am
Rushing around getting final details done.
What do you know, we didn't leave anything at home.

11:33 am
In the shuttle & on the way to DFW.

12:26 pm
Checked in & waiting to board.

1:15 pm
On the plane, waiting to take off.
*free flight!*
I wrote this in reference to the fact that we flew to and from Ireland using points we'd earned.  It took all we had, but the tickets were practically free.

1:40 pm
Now rolling down the runway

Here's a bit of Dallas seen just after takeoff.  Well, ok.  It's a bit of the airport.  It was fairly cloudy that day and a good precursor to Irish weather.

3:46 pm
Coming down (roughly) in Chicago (at a sharp angle)
For a moment as we were approaching the ground I thought we might be crashing rather than landing.  Our approach angle was so steep that I wasn't entirely sure just how many pieces the plane might end up in.

4:00 pm
In terminal, wandering.

4:43 pm
Wasted time waiting for bags which are evidently going to Dublin by themselves.
Now on the train to downtown.
Woman on board who looked familiar but I don't know why (maybe from uk morning show?)
This person looked extremely familiar to me but I had no idea why.  It was only later in Dublin that I saw someone on TV who looked just like her.  Chances are good that I saw the same person several months ago when I was in London.
Other than that person, the train ride had nothing of interest to write about.  Most of the people were not particularly interesting (the way that Tube denizens are) and the scenery wasn't too special.  The company was good though.

6:00 pm
Downtown in O'Callaghan's having a Black&Tan, Killians & mini pretzels with mustard
The pub was nice and the waitress was friendly and quick.  Susan left her a frog tip and while I was taking a picture of the outside, the waitress came out to thank us.  I've yet to find someone that isn't tickled to get an origami frog from Susan.

Picture taken shortly before finding O'Callaghan's.

We didn't have too much time, but there was a decent looking pub.  They had some yummy bar snacks and a map of Ireland on the wall behind Susan. It was fun to point at the map and talk about where we would be in a few hours and days.

6:36 pm
Back on the train headed to O'Hare.
General mix of people, nobody too interesting.  Most buildings outside are pretty run down.

7:32 pm
Rush for airplane, got our name right in one (at the boarding desk), gaelic, pretty irish ladies.

Ok, sue me.  I have a weakness for the celtic look.  I could stare at Susan all day long but she'd get embarrassed and make me stop.
As we were running for the gate (we'd discovered late that we needed to go to a different terminal.  Evidently we weren't firing on all cylinders), a gentleman working for Aer Lingus asked "Harrison?".  That was wierd.  I know we weren't the last on board but it may be that we were the last couple. On the way back from Dublin, they again demonstrated that they will wait a bit for late passengers.  I like Aer Lingus.  They remind me a lot of Southwest.
The Gaelic note was due to the fact that they make most of their announcements in Irish and then follow in English.

7:46 pm
up, up & away!

8:03 pm
Switching to island time*poof*

2:04 am
Drinks are coming. Baileys on ice for me, rum & coke for Susan.

2:52 am
Dinner of chicken & rice, bread, carrot cake and Guinness on the side.

3:31 am
Stewardess (Orla) is checking to see if they can keep us on this flight.
We heard that our flight would be continuing on to Shannon and thought that perhaps we could change our arrangements to avoid the two-hour layover in Dublin.  Orla didn't even pause when we asked her, and said she'd take our flight information and see what could be done.  As it turned out, the Captain sent the information on to Dublin and got the ball rolling.  Cool.

5:29 am
Just finished watching "What Women Want"
Susan and I had seen it in the theater and since we couldn't sleep, watched it again.  It was still good.

7:17 am
Got to go into the cockpit & take a picture of the glorious sunrise & talk with Capt. Harry Hallaher & Barney ? about digital cameras.
Steward: Paul

Sunrise in an airplane.  Just way too cool.  I was as far forward as I could get (most of first class was empty) and trying to get a shot of this sunrise when one of the stewards (Paul) asked if I'd like him to get a shot from the cockpit.  Not being a complete idiot, I said yes, showed him how to use the camera and off he went.  He came back a few moments later and asked if I wanted to go up to the cockpit and take a shot.  Hell yes.  Turns out that the captain was looking to buy a digital camera and after taking a few shots, we talked about my camera as well as flying.

7:51 am
breakfast of tea, juice,

8:17 am
land ho!

Somewhere near Dublin airport.

8:26 am
Down (
safe) & rolling.

9:22 am
Waiting for the Dublin to Shannon leg to begin.
This got a bit nerve-wracking as we ended up waiting quite a while for word about our bags.  We were eventually told that all was well and our bags would continue on to Shannon.  Little did we know...

9:43 am
We're outta here!

11:07 am
baggage lost
We made it to the Shannon airport but our bags didn't. They were held up by customs at Dublin or somewhere in Shannon (we think).  In either case, we had to file a report for "lost" baggage and give the address of the B&B where we were staying.  They said that the bags would be sent to us as soon as they turned up.

11:20 am
Susan's driving! Eeek
She was not only driving on the wrong side of the road but there was this awful screaming sound.  I eventually realized that the screaming was coming from me.
Ok, I'm kidding.  Susan was driving fine.  In fact, we both did well except when it came to an attempt at parallel parking.

12:17 pm
In room 11 at Cill Eoin house
Sleepy. Our hostess said a nap wouldn't be a bad thing....

Susan drinks a spot of tea

The view from our room.  Yes, that's our rental car down there.
Cill Eoin is a nice B&B with nice hosts.  They collect china and the public areas of the house were just full of it.  I can't believe that I didn't get a shot, but I believe they have a few on their web site

3:05 pm
up from nap

5:12 pm
Been wandering Ennis, now in Odd Fellas, drinking Guinness & waiting for food.
Parking hell, don't try parallel parking on a narrow street on the wrong side of the car& road. At least we both met with equal non-success.
Many of the streets in the An Lar (city center) were very narrow and parking was a bit random.  We found a spot and both attempted to parallel park in it.  After several minutes we gave up and kept driving around, looking for parking.  We eventually lucked on a parking lot (the tourist maps are horrible for actually finding anything) and used that from then on.
Duck being chased by geese
This was near the river running through Ennis. I suppose that a duck decided that he owned that particular spot and was moving the riffraff out,
knotted cord music store,
We didn't stop in this time, but did on the following day.
Live Willy Nelson sounding "traditional" music.  I don't remember where we were, but it really hit us as just plain wrong.  The music sounded like Ireland, but the voice sounded like Willy.

I have no idea what church this is.  Somewhere in Ennis though.

5:36 pm
Susan just finished Kathi's glass of Guinness. It didn't suck. ;-)
Susan isn't a Guinness drinker but promised to have a glass for a couple of people at work.  The version of Guinness over there tasted smoother  than what we get in Dallas.  I don't know if they do something different for our version of the Gold but it does taste better in Ireland.

6:14 pm
Back at Cill Eoin & we have our luggage!!
The lock on the small bag was broken off, by customs no doubt. There was no need to do that as an x-ray should have shown only clothing. Lock missing.
The broken latch and missing lock was annoying but at least we had our bags and all our belongings.  We had just returned to our room and I had just left a message with Aer Lingus asking about the luggage when our host called up to say that the bags were here.  I quickly called back to say "never mind". 

8:11 pm
To Kilfenora
Mad tourist, driving while American
There's a fairly common phrase in Dallas that ties a persons nationality with their driving ability (or usually, lack of).  That's Driving While "x", often shortened to DWx.  Something about our own driving reminded us of this and hence I wrote down DWA.

9:02 pm
At Vaughn's
Susan got hit on.
a few pints later & dancing begins?
We spent the first hour sitting in the pub enjoying a pint or two.  Susan got up to at one point and got hit on.  I was wondering what was taking her so long to come back and looked around to see her halfway across the room talking to someone I couldn't see.  What I could see was Susan being friendly and talking but with a clear look on her face that said she wanted to get away, but at the same time she was trying not be be rude.  A day or so later we were again in Kilfenora and stopped at Vaughn's (on the way toward exploring the Burren).  Unfortunately that same person was in the pub so we didn't stay long.

This was taken just outside Vaughn's pub as the sun was going down.  It was actually a bit darker than this but the camera did a good job of getting the picture.

A church near Vaugn's, in the setting sun

9:59 pm
Dancing is on in the barn

The sets were incredible.  We were quite intimidated as our knowledge of sets at that time was quite limited (now it's slightly less) and it was clear that these people had been doing it for a while. The music was by the Four Courts Ceili Band and they kept making our feet and bodies move even though we weren't in a set.
The battering shook the entire barn.

10:27 pm
How do we enter a set?!
Power& speed! It's driving me crazy!
I asked a woman behind the bar what the etiquette was for entering a set and she said just get on the floor as fast as possible when a new dance starts up.  We were too chicken to just do that given our limited knowledge of sets.  If we'd been there the following Thursday we might have gotten up (and warned the people that we were relative newbies at sets).  As it was, we left early partly due to frustration (but a good kind) and partly due to the fact that it was packed in the barn.
There are additional pictures of the barn on Bill Lynch's site Set Dancing News.

11:51 pm
back at ce. Stars, darkness, fast cars on the road. sneaking in.
We stopped on the way back to Cill Eoin and looked at the stars.  The digital camera couldn't get a shot of them (and stupid me didn't even think about using the Pentax) but they were a gorgeous sprinkling of sparkling diamonds across the sky.
The people over there drive incredibly fast on the small roads even late at night when visibility is low.
We snuck back into Cill Eoin as quietly as we could given the late hour.  Unfortunately the key to our room was the old skeleton key type (which my sister Liz would have liked us to bring back for her, but our hosts probably wouldn't have been happy to be missing a room key) and made a fair amount of noise as we attempted to unlock our door (although nobody came out to throw us down the stairs, so maybe it wasn't too bad).

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Last modified: Thursday, April 24, 2008