Members Login
Post Info TOPIC: Fall Fling Scotland Northern Ireland


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 1382
Date:
RE: Fall Fling Scotland Northern Ireland


As my camera is like an extension of my arm, I read your last post with an increasinlgy queasy feeling. I am so sorry that you lost your camera. I think I would have put up a notice with a reward...if I were going to be anywhere close for a few days.

At least you had something to take photos with for the rest of the time   hmmcry



__________________

www.rinconcreekstudios.zenfolio.com



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 728
Date:

After considerable thought, I wondered if it would be advisable to take along extra sd cards, and plan on 1 sd card for each day, or at least change them every other day. Then you wouldn't lose a whole week like I did. It would only be a one-time additional travel expense, you could delete them after you stored the photos after arriving home, and would be able to use them for the next trip. Just a thought. Even thought about a back up camera (besides the iPhone). Also thinking about getting another iPhone for DW and forget about taking any other camera.
Dan

__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 1382
Date:

Because of the amount of photos I take in one day, I carry a laptop and move my photos over to the laptop every night...I also back that up on a portable hard drive AND a thumbdrive...



__________________

www.rinconcreekstudios.zenfolio.com



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 728
Date:

I had thought about that too, but am reluctant to drag along a lap top; or even one of the mini versions. However, an iPad or mini iPad may be in our future, and that may present an option to download photos for a back-up. On this trip, "G" was tormemted about whether she shoud bring along her iPad, and at the last minute decided not to, afraid of losing it or theft. There were numerous times during the 2 weeks that she mentioned that she wished she would have brought it along. She said it would have come in handy, as most B&B's and hotels we stayed in had wifi free, or available for 2 Euros. She would have used it keep in touch with family and friends by email and facebook.

Need to get on the ball, and finish this trip report!

Dan

__________________


Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 2151
Date:

I always carry 3-4 spare SD memory cards, since they are pretty cheap.  I also bring along a computer of some sort -- my current device of choice is a Samsung NP530U 'Ultrabook'.

I found one (with the Hard Drive, rather than Solid-State) at Sam's Club for about $650.

It's much quicker, but still light-weight (about 3 lbs), runs about 6 hours on battery and is much less frustrating than my previous Netbook.  I can access the internet through WiFi, hard wire or using a USB 'Aircard'.  I bought a Vodaphone, Pay-As-You-Go model for Ireland, about 2 years ago, for 50 Euro and I have a Virgin Mobile unit for the USA, as well, that I only 'Top Up' when I am traveling -- $10 gets me 7 days of "light" use - checking email and perusing Michele's Forum.  That much tech is probably a BIT excessive for the average traveler, but it works, for me ... 

We own an Olympus DSLR -- an older, 4/3 E-510 but we seldom drag it along.  Our weapons of choice are two Cannon 'Point and Shoot' models -- an older, SD800IS and a newer, ELPH 300HS.  Both are small, light and sleek enough to easily slip into a pocket (the ELPH, even more so).  Neither were particularly expensive and BOTH take excellent quality pictures.  I set them for Maximum quality and size, figuring that I might be able to salvage a decent shot, by 'cropping down' a mediocre one ...

We won't be giving Bit, Christy or Michele any serious competition on Zazzle, but we're happy with our efforts.  My wife has a better 'Eye' than I, but I've gotten lucky a few times -- so we've gotten a some shots that I'm particularly proud of. 

I usually download pictures nearly everyday.  This past trip, I actually had a Memory Card FAIL.  It cost me about a dozen shots that I REALLY regret losing, but thankfully, that was all.

Another alternative would be to have your pix converted to a CD or DVD at a Camera shop, every couple of days.

Bob

 



__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 728
Date:

Just got an email from Apple promoting iPads and mini iPads for Valentine's day. Looks like you can get a mini iPad 64g for $659, and a regular iPad 64g with retinal display for $699, all from the apple store. Still haven't figured out if these would be good devices for backing up pictures, either from a point and shoot or iphone. I have an iPhone, DW wants one, I want a mini iPad, and DW wants a regular iPad.....4 Apple devices in one household (besides 2 hp laptops) may be over the top! If we can use one of the devices to process credit cards at the business, we could get rid of our land line....will ask the tax man if the business can own 3 out of 4 of these devices! Too many toys these days!

Our yougest techie son, who is an IT, just applied for a job with a company of 80 employees, all issued company iPhones. He has owned his for 6 years, and he can do about everything he wants to do on a iPhone that you can do on a full size, netbook computer!

I was astounded to see all the people on the plane, in airports, hotels, and tourists out and about with iPads (or similar tablets) during this last trip!

Dan



-- Edited by murphy on Tuesday 29th of January 2013 08:49:50 PM

__________________


Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 2151
Date:

Dan --

I actually noticed a LARGE number of tourists using their full-sized IPad to take photos!

It seemed kind of cumbersome, but I have to admit that seeing the snap on that BIG screen WAS impressive!

Personally, I'm more of a PC guy, rather than Apple -- but that really is a familiarity thing ...

Understand that Apple plans to DOUBLE the memory capacity on the Next Generation of IPads.  Does the IPad come with a USB Port?

Bob



__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 728
Date:

I don't think it has a USB Port. It says: Lightning to USB cable, and USB adapter. If you pm me with your email address, I'll forward the info to you. Dan

__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 298
Date:

You can buy an adapter that has a USB port in it.  That's what we did with the IPad Mini.  Not expensive and serves the same purpose.



__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 728
Date:

Sunday Oct 28

Woke up refreshed and feeling almost human again, and after another hearty full Irish breakfast, we headed out.  This day trip was to be dedicated to the Eastern portion of the Causeway Coast.  Just a short drive east of Portrush, we arrived at the Giant's Causeway.  We drove into the parking lot, and an attendant showed up to collect their fees.  I had read numerous complaints on the internet about the cost of this new visitors center, and the amount that they were charging to park and see the center, and while most said it was an ok visitor's center, it was not worth the price they were charging.  Sure enough they wanted 8.95 Euros/person.  I inquired about what it would cost just to park the car and not see the visitor's center.  They said this was not possible....the parking was included with the visitor center price...per person in the car!   (HINT!  If you drive there, drop off all your passengers at the adjacent train station, where they can easily do the less-than-5-minute walk, while the driver parks the car for 8.95!  Or better yet, just park the car at the train station for 6 Euros, and all walk to see the stones)!!!

We drove out of the parking lot, over to the train station, and inquired about parking, and what it might cost to ride the Causeway scenic railway back to Bushmills village, which we had just past on the way to the Causeway.  The per person cost was 6.95 round trip.  We inquired about the drop off point, and its proximity to the distillery.  The ticket agent said it was about a 10 minute walk.  We inquired about parking at the train station while we walked over to see the stones.  They said it would be 6 Euros/car load, and free if buying train tickets.  So we walked back over to the Giant's Causeway parking lot, past the money grabbers, and on down past the right side of the building where there was a road leading down to the stones.  It was about a 15 minute scenic walk, or you could take the bus down for 1 Euro-one way.  L&G opted for the bus, DW and I decided we needed to walk off some breakfast. 

Went down to see one of the more interesting and unbelievable sights of the trip!  Have seen numerous pictures....but until you see it in person, it is really awesome!  Spent about an hour down there.  Noticed an aid car sitting nearby where the bus was emptying and filling, and walked over to talk to the 2 men.  Asked if they ever had very much emergency work.  They indicated that yes, they had to go pick someone up off the rocks from time to time... since they are quite slippery.  I mentioned that Michele's husband had needed help down here earlier in the year, and they remembered the situation, as they were on duty when it happened.  They  wanted to know how he was doing since the fall, and I told them I thought ok, but was a scary time for all involved.

Took the bus back up to the visitors center, walked back over to the train station, and bought our tickets.  It was a scenic 30 minute train ride along the water's edge, and was just ok.  The reason being, when we got off, it was way longer than  a 10 minute walk to the distillery...and it started to sprinkle.  Was more like a 20-25 minute walk to the distillery, and L&G were both dragging by the time we arrived.  Took the tour, was as good as any distillery tour we have been on (5 other ones to date), got our free sample of 12 year old, and also our first taste of "honey whiskey"  It was really good.  Priced a bottle to take home, but seemed too pricy at $40 US to risk packing in the check-on luggage.  (L has since found Bushmills Honey Whiskey  in Maricopa AZ at the CVS Pharmacy for $20/bottle! and he brought it here to share with us during their last visit!)  YUM!

Elected to get a cab back to the train station.  The cab drived went on by the turn off, and luckily L noticed it, and questioned him about it.  He thought we were going to the Irish Rail train station, instead of the Causeway train.  So he made a U-turn, and back we went...just getting there in time for the 2:30 train, or we would have had to wait an hour in the rain for the next return.

Got back to the car, grabbed a latte and scone in the train station coffee shop, and then headed for the Rope Bridge.  This was a NOT-TO-MISS attraction for DW and myself, and L&G were having reservations about going, esp in the light rain, although we were all dressed for the weather, then decided at the last moment to try it.  It was quite a walk, about 2/3 of a mile each way, but they said over and over again afterwords, that they were glad they didn't pass it up.  It was really neat!  Nobody was too freaked out by the swinging bridge...I even crossed without using the rope hand rails so I could take a video of the operation, steadying the iPhone with both hands!  G thought the steep steps going down to the bridge were more scary.  We had a wonderful time at this attraction.

Back at the gift shop, we inquired about the distance and time for touring the Torr Head loop, our 4th and final attraction of the day.  But since the time had changed, the daylight hours were fading, and only had a little over an hour left of sun, then 30 min of twilight...and the gift shop employee was pretty firm about not driving on that kind of road after dark...so we bagged it.  Once again, we were resigned to the fact that 3 major attractions in one day is the norm, esp during the shoulder season, when day light hours are less.  Just one more reason to go back to Ireland!

Drove back to Portrush and to Averest for our 2nd night.  Had heard the seafood was good in town, so went to a seafood restuarant.  We were hoping for a lighter meal, and the menu didn't comply.  We left, and ended up at the Ramada for a mini fish and chips meal from the bar menu for L & G & DW.  I was able to get the mussels and veg soup appetizer also from the bar menu.  Perfect size and reasonable price.  I had mussels once in Washington State...and they were tough and chewy.  This was not the case in Ireland.  They were very tasty.

No trad music available in town tonight, so did a bit of packing, and crashed.  Everybody was ready for an early night after all day in the fresh air, and all the walking!  Everybody agreed that the Giants Causway and Rope Bridge were both "wow" experiences.

Dan 



-- Edited by murphy on Saturday 2nd of February 2013 09:49:11 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Saturday 2nd of February 2013 09:57:00 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Saturday 2nd of February 2013 09:59:18 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Saturday 2nd of February 2013 10:04:26 PM

__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 728
Date:

Mon Oct 29

By this time in our trip, we were closely watching the developments of Hurricane Sandy, bearing down on the East coast of the USA, and our upcoming flight to and thru JFK.  We checked out of our B&B, and contemplated visiting the trees that form a complete canopy over the lane, which was roughly on our way south to Dublin. Also contemplated a lengthy drive along the east coast of Ireland...at least part of the way. In the end decided to make our way straight to Dublin, and try to figure out what our options might be regarding "Sandy" with an early afternoon arrival in Dublin.

It was a good drive...good roads, and we made good time. Stopped for a coffee and petrol break just before crossing into Republic of Ireland. It was our first fuel stop since we picked up #2 car at Hertz Sligo. The car got awesome fuel economy, as it only took 58 gbp worth diesel to travel around the north 1/2 of the island with numerous day trips too. Will try for a diesel rental in future trips!

Arrived at Dublin Airport Premier Inn about 1:30PM. Had pre-booked pre-paid for 39Euros/double. (internet special booked 5 weeks or more prior to your stay) It didn't include breakfast, but it was available for purchase. Checked in our rooms, and then L & I took the car back to Hertz. Topped up the fuel tank....a petrol station just opposite side of the main street past the hotel. The return was easy-peasy...our gps and the road signs all agreed, and it was a done deal. No problems, no extra charges. Took the Hertz shuttle over to the airport Term #1. Checked in at the Aer Lingus desk to see about our flights in regard to Sandy, and so far everything was a "go". Took the Premier shuttle back to the hotel.

Did some re-packing, as we always check our luggage for the return part of the trip, except for items we have purchased that we want to safe-guard in our carry-on luggage.  Had planned to spend the last evening downtown for a pub dinner and our last chance for Guinness, craic, and Trad music.  Our goal was to get to Cobblestone...after our evening meal.  Had asked on TI about a decent place to eat close by Cobblestone.  Someone suggested L Mulligan Grocer.  Took the city bus down town, which picked us up about 2 blocks from Premier Inn, cost 1.65 Euro.  Got off the bus on O'Connell Street, and hailed a taxi to L. Mulligan's.  Well, it turned out to be a "gastro pub" and most of the menu was stuff that was not real familiar....being use to the ususal pub-grub menu.  We finally settled on the pork belly dinner for 15.50 Euro...split between DW and I.  L & G did likewise.  Well, it was pretty disappointing!  The waiter said it was a good choice, but turned out to be a miserly serving and none of us were pleased.  It was about a 2"square of half fat, half lean...but uncured pork.  yuk!  We had our heart set on one last chance for bacon and cabbage, but this didn't come close.   There was a little bit of mashed potatos and mashed carrots smeared around on the plate!  All the menu items were priced at about double what we were use to for pub meals.  They did, however have an outstanding selection of alcohol options....but no Guiness on tap!  So an all around failure for best laid plans.  They didn't have wifi, so couldn't check on Aer Lingus flight status/Sandy progress.  

Stepped out to make the 5-6 block walk to Cobblestone, and it turns out that there just was not much for choice in restaurants in that part of the Smithfield area.  Did spot an oriental restaurant that would probably been better than what we ended up with.

On to Cobblestone....easy walk.  Quaint old pub...but once inside...the music was sub-par on this night.  An out-of-tune fiddle player who played so loud you couldn't hear the flute.  Oh well we can say we've been there, done that.  Cobblestone didn't have wifi either...and we were anxious to find out if our flight was on or cancelled.  Did enjoy the ambiance of the old pub and people watching!  Had a couple of pints, then decided it was getting on toward 9:30 and time to head back to the hotel.  No taxis around.  However the luas was running just a block south of us, so went over to see how those connections would be.  Finally spotted the ticket kiosk after searching around for a way to purchase tickets.  We couldn't make heads or tails out of the instructions or the map routes.  Finally an 11-12 year old lad came up to us and listened to our perplexed conversations, and offered to help.  He determined that a ticket to Abbey street would be the best bet for catching our bus back out to the airport, so dumped some change from all our pockets into his hand, and in no time he had 4 tickets for us.  He tried to hand back the remaing change to us and we told him to keep it.  He refused to keep it and stuffed it into G's hands.  What a kid!  Not too many places in the world where a pre-teen would be so helpful...and refuse a little pocket change!

Our first Luas ride...and it was a quick and comfortable way to get across Dublin.  Walked a few more blocks to catch the 47a bus back to the hotel.  Once back at the Premier, I purchased 24 hours of wifi for 3 Euros, got my code and got on the net on my iPhone. 

Checked the AerLingus web sight...flight cancelled!  Talked to the night desk man and asked him for advice about what to do.  He said that subsequent flights that had any available seats...would fill up fast.  We had talked to a young gal on the bus downtown who was already stranded, and she spent 3 hours on hold on the phone with AL and no luck rebooking.  Her boyfriend back in the US was able to book her another tiicket on the internet for an AL flight thru London, and on to the west coast.  I was not in the mood to spend 3 hours on the phone, or to go on line, since we had 2 bookings for the 4 of us...and we were afraid to book one set of 2 then have the next set not be available.  The desk man suggested we go to the AL desk at the terminal and try to book all 4 of us on the same flight.  By this time it was 11PM.  Asked him how late the AL desk would be open at the terminal.  He said 2AM, as that was AL's last flight in for the night.  He suggested we go over yet that night and get our tickets booked.  Our other option would be to wait and go over at 4 AM and re-book.  Decided that by going right away tonight....we might get out sooner, so we got on the premier shuttle and went over to the airport.

Got to the AL desk...and it was CLOSED!  Had been since 8:30PM!  We were not happy with the Premier Night Desk Man!  Now it is closing in on midnight, and we were going to have to be back down to the AL desk at 4AM!  L thought we should just sit there and wait it out.  I looked around, and not much for creature comfort to catch a few winks.  I decided that if he wanted to stay....ok, but I was going to go back and get at least a few hours of sleep.  By now the last Premier shuttle had run, and no taxis at the big taxi rank.  Summoned a night security guard, and told him our situation.  He got on his radio, and had a cab there in 5 minutes.  Now we had the luxury of a 15Euro late night cab ride over to the Premier...a price that seemed rather steep, but what were we to do.

Fell into bed around 12:30.  Had inquired at the desk (after informing the desk man about the AL hours of operation) what time the first Premier airport shuttle ran the next morning.  It was 4:30, 1/2 hour after the AL desk opened.  Short night.

TUES OCT 30

 

Set the alarm for 4:15AM and was on the shuttle at 4:30.  Upon arrival, much to our surprise...no long line of people waiting to rebook!  Only one other person ahead of us, and within 5 minutes we were talking to the desk agent.  He turned out to be a crabby old guy, and not very friendly and helpful,,,unlike most of the rest of the Irish we had encountered.  He said he could not get us into JFK till possibly Sun at the earliest.  The other options were thru Boston, or Chicago, or Orland.  He didn't have anything available from any of those cities for the flight on to Phoenix.

The gals had heard on the TV that Aer Lingus was re-booking people for no extra charge, so we scrapped our first idea to book what ever we could get with any airline and turn it in to our trip insurance.  But then we got to thinking that if AL was offering us a free re-booked flight and we refused it and took another airline to get back sooner, they may not pay the insurance claim (Turns out we were right, and lucky we didn't try that!)  I was perplexed why we couldn't be booked on to Phoenix, but figured it must be Hurricane Sandy related, so opted to just book the flight that would go the soonest...through Boston Logan on Fri at 11:00AM, and once in the USA...would let the trip insurance pay for what ever it took to get to Phoenix.  The original JFK-PHX leg was scheduled on a US Airways flight # on our documents, so assumed that I could work it out with US Air on my own on the phone once we got back to the hotel.  Arrived back there about 5 AM with our DUB-Boston flight documents in hand.  Went right back to bed for some more much needed sleep.  Woke up about 9AM and decided to call US Airways-Ireland office.  They were not able to help us with the 2nd leg to PHX.  They said since it was all booked thru AL, we HAD to go to AL for the 2nd leg....that they could not even see our itinerary or flight information on their computer screen.

Found L&G having coffee and pastries in the coffee shop next door, and told them about our dilema.  We decided that we had to go back to AL to get it booked.  While eating breakfast, I started surfing on the net on my ita app to see what was available.  All kinds of flight options available...United, US Airways, Delta, American.  So we got on the shuttle back to the airport for the 3rd time in 12 hours to try to get it sorted.  A  friendly young lady came to help us this time, and I presented our paperwork to her regarding our 1st leg.  She studied it over, then said I'll be right back.  She went to the back room, and came back with "crabby man"  and said since he did the initial booking, he would have to finish it up.  I told him that I had found several connections to PHX.  He looked at his computer for several minutes, and said nope...no direct flights to PHX.  I pulled out my iPhone to look, and sure enuf...they were instead, all 1 stop flights.  I told him I guess we will opt for a 1 stop flight, just get us to Phoenix.  After several minutes of work on the computer, he was not having much luck.  I was studying my iPhone to see what he might come up with that was similar to what I was seeing.  Finally he said I'm just not having much luck getting a connecting city.  so I started reading them off my iPhone:  a Chicago connections on American, a Denver connection on United, and a Minneapolis or Atlanta connection on Delta, and we finally settleled on a connection thru Atlanta, though it was only a 40 min layover.  He said he doubted we would make the connection in Atlanta in 40 min, but if we wanted to try, he would book it.  I said, that's what we have the trip insurance for, so go for it.  It didn't make much difference if we had to spend the night in Boston or Atlanta, if worse came to worse.  Deal done.  More paperwork in hand, and we were back on the shuttle to Premier.  Upon arrival, the gals were listening to BBC while L&I were making arrangements for an extra 3 nights stay at Premier  Inn.  Of course they wouldn't give us the 39Euro special that we had just used...but said for a 3 night stay they could do the manager special for 49 Euros.  We agreed that we loved the facilities and we would take it, rather than to try to hunt down something else. 

Upon returning to the room, the gals had heard on TV that all European  based airlines HAD to furnish lodging for stranded travelers!  Went down to the desk to inquire, and they concurred.  I asked if they ever booked in stranded AerLingus travelers.  "Not very often" was the response.  "Only when all the hotels closer in to the airport are filled up"  Asked how we get our comp rooms from AL.  You have to go back and talk to AL!  Having been at their desk 3 times in 12 hours, I wondered why they didn't let us know that we had free rooms coming to us?  So back on the shuttle at 10:30AM to the airport.  Check out time was noon , but they said they would hold the room till 1PM, and gave me a business card and said if you need to cancel the room, to call before 1. 

Back to the airport AL desk and guess who...crabby was off shift!  Lucky us, or he would have had a piece of our mind!  The lady said yes, they would give us room vouchers for 3 nights.  Asked if we could stay at Premier since we had all our luggage there and were all settled in.  Sorry was the word, we will put you in the Carlton.  So she prepared hotel vouchers for Carlton.  By now it was 10 minutes to checkout time...we were not going to make it back in time, so dialed on my trusty Ireland Tesco phone, and reached the front desk just in time to cancel the room.  Now to get moved out by noon.  Asked them to dial the rooms to see if we could catch one of the gals to let them know that they had 5 minutes to vacate.  Luckily, one of them answerd, as it was rumored as we left the room to go to the airport, that they might go shopping in the strip mall nearby.  They decided not to go shopping, luckily, and they were not too happy to hear that they had to clear everything out of both rooms without our help.  When we got off the Premier shuttle, they were waiting in the lobby, with all the stuff.  Now our options for getting to the Carlton.  Either a 10-12 Euro cab, or the 1 Euro Premier shuttle to the airport, then the free Carlton shuttle to our hotel.  Since the day was almost shot, and we had nothing but time to kill, we opted for the 2 shuttles.  The Premier shuttle driver was shocked to see us heading for the airport for the 4th time since 4AM!  Told him our dilema, and he felt sorry for us and didn't charge us for the final ride!  Got off the Premier shuttle at area 14, and shortly the Carlton shuttle arrived nearby.

Arrived at the Carlton about 2 PM, and presented our AL room vouchers.  Our rooms were not ready.  So they offered us meal vouchers, and wanted to know if we had lunch.  Of course we had not so opted to accept the vouchers and go eat at the hotel resaurant.  The buffet was tremendous!  We had a carvery with 3 choices of meat/fish, a great salad bar, dessert bar, and any soft drink, or coffee or tea that we wanted.  It really hit the spot.  Asked the cashier what the meal would cost if we had to pay for it, and she said 15.95Euros with dessert and bev.  What a generous hotel...to give us a meal like that....just because our rooms weren't ready!  Went back to the desk about 2:30 and the rooms were ready to occupy.

Now these rooms were a little larger, but not near as nice as Premier...but the price was right!  They turned out to be drafty, cold...the computer had to reset the heater several times while were there in 3 days, and a draft from the window...but the price was right!  Settled in and took a 1 hour power nap.  Woke up refreshed, and realized that we had 2 free days in Dublin ahead of us.  DW had picked up brochures in the lobby and suggested that there was still a lot of Dublin that we had not seen.  My first concern was travel between the hotel and downtown for 2 days.  Discovered the brochure about the 3 day freedom pass for 28 Euros, which included unlimited rides on any Dublin city bus (hotel to downtown and back and all over downtown) plus unlimited rides on the green hop-on-hop-off bus, complete with 24 stops at all the major tourist stops in downtown Dublin.  Went over to L&G's room and they were just finishing up a much needed nap.  Explained it all to them, and they were unwilling to commit to my scheme.  I told them I wasn't about to sit around in an airport hotel room for 2 more days, that we were going to make the most of it and DW and I were going to see all of Dublin we could in the next two days.  They seemed unimpressed!  So I opted to take the Carlton shuttle over to the airport for the 5th time in 12 hours, and purchase the freedom pass directly at  old Terminal #1.  2 tickets in hand, I returned on the shuttle to The Carlton, and sat down at the desk to plot our sight seeing for the next 2 days.  Spent a couple of hours pouring over the HOHO map and brochures that DW had gathered in the Lobby, and decided on about 7 stops each day.

Having just completed that, G knocked on our door and came in to chat.  She was trying to talk L into doing the Dublin tour with us.  As it turns out, L would have been content to sit in the hotel for 2 days and watch hurricane Sandy on the TV!  G was not liking that idea.  Finally L came in, and I showed him my plans for the next 2 days.  He decided that it would be pretty boring just watching TV, and they decided they wanted freedom passes too.  The desk at terminal one that sold them was now near closing time, and it was too late to try.  The info I got with my tickets showed a ticket outlet downtown, not too far from our Abbey street get-off point.  So they agreed that they might be going  along, depending on how rested they felt by morning.

By this time, we were thinking about an evening meal.  None of us were very hungry after the 2 PM buffet, but opted to go to the hotel restaurant for soup and bread.  After paying for our meals, we started visiting with a lady who was also stranded by Sandy...an AL traveler too.  She said that it was really great that AL was going to pay for all our lodging and meals.  MEALS????  Are they paying for our meals too, I inquired?  Yes, she said, all you have to do is go to the front desk before breakfast, lunch, or dinner, give them your room number and identify yourself, and they would provide meal vouchers.  I stood there with my credit card slip in hand, and a desk person had overheard us, and came over and took my cc slip and L's cc slip, and proceeded to reimbuse the amount back to our credit card!  Wow life is good!  3 extra days of vacation (except for beer) paid for compliments of AerLingus, due to Sandy!  It didn't really seem fair, we were going to be living it up in Dublin and all the folks on the eastern seaboard were going thru this horrific storm.  But it was out of our hands, so decided we would make the most of the next 2 days in Dublin!

Made plans to meet for our compl. breakfast at 7AM....if they decided to go along, and be on the city bus (again just 2 blocks away for the bus stop) by 8:15 for the 30 minute ride downtown, as the HOHO buses started running at 9AM.

Hit the hay early for much needed rest after a long stressful day getting it all sorted out.

More to come about our wonderful 2 days in Dublin!

Dan    



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 14th of March 2013 06:28:34 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 14th of March 2013 06:43:59 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 14th of March 2013 07:06:31 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 14th of March 2013 08:51:39 PM

__________________


Host

Status: Offline
Posts: 10684
Date:

Dan,

Nothing like making lemonade out of lemons! I can't believe your friend was going to just sit in the hotel room for 2 days with Dublin on the doorstep. Good on you for getting him moving.

My husband is doing fine now after his Giant's Causeway concussion. I'm surprised the mountain rescue guys remembered him. They must pick up people who fall there every day.

Glad you enjoyed the Premier Inn. They are pretty consistent as a chain. Besides Dublin Airport, I've stayed at them in Coleraine and Belfast Titanic Quarter too. Basic, clean, comfy beds, everything you need and nice employees.

Michele

__________________

"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 2151
Date:

Dan -- It sounds like we must have passed each other in the Prenier Inn lobby a few times, according to your schedule!  Sounds like your 1/2 day of chaos was worth it, though -- as you got the free, two day extension!

During one of my forrays past the Front Desk, I over-heard a woman who was using the counter phone to LOUDLY and repeatedly berrate her Travel Agent, DEMANDING that something be done about her cancelled flight.  confuse  confuse  confuse  I never realized that TA's were expected to be Masters of Weather.  Some people apparently think that the world revolves around them, I guess. 

We also met a couple on the Citilink Bus that received a 3 day 'Weather Extension' -- they snatched up a stack of Day Tour brochures and were heading off the next day to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway on a RailTour!

Guess the world is filled with ALL types of travelers.  I always say, "Lemonade takes up a LOT less space than a pile of lemons" ... biggrin

Bob



__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 728
Date:

Wed Oct 31

Bonus Day #2!

Caught up on some much needed sleep, and reported to the Carlton hotel restaurant for our breakfast compliments of Aer Lingus! Great full Irish breakfast...as good as any B&B breakfast!

Easily found the city bus stop, and shortly we were on our way downtown. DW and I swiped our new freedom pass, and L & G had to feed the coin box. Departed the city bus near O'Connel St, and just across the street was the place to buy freedom passes, so L&G did so. From there we proceeded to the nearest HoHo bus stop #2. They started their circuits about 9 AM and we were on the first available. We went past stop #3 (Trinity College) the same place we had gotten off the airlink bus 18 months before). The bus passed withing a few yards of the Montef Clare Hotel where we had stayed during our last trip. We departed at stop #4. Stopped at the National Gallery, which L&G had briefly visited on the previous trip while DW and I were doing geneology research at the nearby National Library. Since they change the art displays from time to time, L&G wanted to go for another walk thru. Spent 90 worth-while minutes there, then wandered a short way down the street to the National History Museum. A great "not-to-miss" stop! All the gold, the bog man and numerous other fascinating historical displays.

Got back on the HOHO bus at stop #6, and got back off at stop#7 which was in front of one of the main gates of St. Stephen's Green. Another worthwhile stop-a beautiful park and we enjoyed our walk....trying to expend some breakfast calories. Spent about 30 minutes there, and then determined a need for a pub stop....no need to worry about driving today...and....Betty had instilled this little habit in us by now, so we proposed a toast in her honor. We had texted Betty, and she went to London to visit her Sis while we were in Ireland.

Asked a gentleman on the street for a suggestion for a area pub, and he pointed us to Davey Burns, where we had a pint. No one hungry for lunch at this point so we walked on down to Grafton street to catch the HOHO Bus. Always enjoy this street...so vibrant with shoppers, street musicians etc. Got on the bus at stop #8, and got off at stop #9, the nearest stop to Dublin Castle. Knew that we needed to catch a guided tour to get the most out of this stop, and luckily they had just 4 spots left for the 3:15 tour. Don't remember what the price was...but was well worth it. With 45 minutes to kill, I remembered that the Chester Beaty Library is right behind Dublin Castle, so headed out the south coffee shop exit down the steps to a great library. So much stuff in there....we could have easily spent 2-3 hours, even an half day. A quick look around a couple of floors, then back over for our castle tour.

Dublin castle was awesome. Lots of history here! And the decor! Much more interesting attraction than I expected. Saw the "state room" where the Irish President is sworn in. The most interesting story was about the time in history when the British handed over the keys to Dublin Castle to the Republic of Ireland. It was a big ceremony, and the Irish dignitary who was to receive the keys was about 10 minutes late. His British counterpart reminded him that he was late. The response was something like this: We (the Irish) have waited 700 years for this moment so we are entitled to be 10 minutes late!

From this vantage point, we decided we could walk the short distance to catch our city bus back to the hotel instead of riding the HOHO bus on the last half of it's 24 stop route. We started 2nd guessing ourselves on this decision, cause it was a quite a bit longer walk than it looked on the map!

Arrived back at the Carlton Hotel about 6:15. Had a another great carvery meal at the hotel restaurant...thanks to Aer Lingus! In addition to the meat entrees that were available the day before....the salmon was to die for!

Didn't stay up too late...had one pint at dinner and another for after dinner, and on to an early night in....to get ready for another day of HOHO in Dubs!

more to come....bonus day 3!

Dan

__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 728
Date:

Thurs Nov 1

Bonus Day #3

Woke up on this first day of November, and the weather had turned on us.  It was cool,  blustery, and the forcast suggested rain would develop later that day, and it was every bit the way you might think November would be in Ireland....because it happens exactly the same way on the Olympic Peninsula in Western Washington almost every year...give or take a few days!  But it didn't dampen our spirits!  Ate another hearty Irish breakfast at 7AM.  Layered up, grabbed our rain gear and plodded down to the city bus stop.  Got on the bus by 8 AM and arrived at O'Connell Street by 8:30.  Had a half hour to kill so grabbed a latte at the "Golden Arches"....one of the few times we patronized them during all our travels...nothing against Micky D's....we generally just go for the more traditional Irish options instead. 

The temp was about 40 and a fairly brisk wind blowing, but no rain...yet.  Got on the first available HOHO bus at 9AM.  First stop for us was #14 on the map, Kilmainham Goal.  Had toured the goal in 2010, but we were interested in the Museum of Modern Art nearby in the old Royal Hospital, Kilmainham.  Bad timing, the galery was closed on this day due changing the art show.  Walked thru some of the building, but most rooms were off limits, as they were busy setting up the art displays for the next day...unable to remember the featured artist.  Putzed around the beautiful grounds for a while to walk off breakfast, then headed back to the HOHO. 

Drove thru Phoenix Park home of Dublin Zoo.  Heard it was a fantastic zoo...but no one in our group interested in going to a zoo.  We decided to  once again visit the park in walking mode so departed the HOHO!  It is a huge walled park, over 1,700 acres, one of the largest in Europe.  It has large areas of grass, and numerous tree lined roadways, and walkways.  The President of Ireland's residence is located in the park.  There are 2 main monumets there, the Papal Cross being the newest, erected in 1979 before Pope John Paul ll arrived for a Mass in the park that was attended by over 1 million people.  The other being The Wellington Monument.  Quite impressive...over 200' high.  It was erected to commemorate the victories of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.  There were 4 bronze plaques, cast from the cannons captured at the "Battle of Waterloo".  Also the US Ambassador to Ireland resides at the Park Bailiff's lodge.  Also Ashton castle is the oldest building located on the park grounds...it is a tower house from the the 15th century, located near the visitors center, and the peoples Gardens, dedicated to the executed Easter Rising leader; Sean Heuston.  Also the headquarters of the Irish National Police force is located in the park.  Lots to see!

Back on the bus and on to stop #19 the National Museum and Collins Barracks.  All I can say here is WOW!  Lots of history of the Easter Rising & that was probably the most impressive for me!  Massive 4 story building surrounding a stone courtyard.  Was a military barracks housing both the British armed forces, and Irish Army garrisons thru 3 centuries...the barracks are the oldes continuously occupied in the world.  Now they house the National Museum of Ireland, and Decorative Arts and History.  Formerly called "The Barracks" and later "The Royal Barracks"  When the Brits handed it over to the Irish free state in 1922, it became known as Collins Barracks.  There is a memorial Garden at Croppies Acre, marking the 1798 rebellion, but gates were locked and couldn't go inside.  The exhibits were 2 pronged:  military galleries, focusing on Irish military history.  Very interesting! and the other was decorative arts and history, including fantastic displays of art, crafts, wares, Irish coins, currency, silverware, furniture, folklife and costumes, ceramics, glasswear, vases, gauntlets worn by King Wm at Battle of Boyne, artifacts salvaged from the RMS Lusitania (sunk to start a world war), and one of Wolf Tone's notebooks that he carried while imprisoned there.  Killed 2-3 hours there...and probably didn't see it all.

We had developed a mighty thirst by now, and understood that our next stop was just past the "Brazen Head Pub"  L&G offered to buy us a pint there, and as my full-blooded Irish Grandpa Murphy used to say when offered a drink:  "I hate to make a habit of refusing!"  So after a short walk over the Liffey arrived at the Pub.  Was really a beautiful old Pub, believe to be Dublin's oldest dating back to 1198.  We pondered what all had happened within these wall over the past 800 years...as we enjoyed our pints.

Next stop was probably the most interesting of the entire 2 days...St. Michans Church.  It was near the Old Jameson Distillery, a little difficult to find...but just ask the locals....they will gladly point you in the right direction.  It is a Church Of Ireland Church, dating back to the 5th century at this location.  The current structure was erected in the 1600's.  The organ is sort of famous, as it is the very one that Handel rehearsed on right before the inagural performance of "The Messiah" , which occured in Dublin!  But that wasn't the most interesting part, it was the crypts or vaults, which uniquely contain hundreds of mummified  remains!  It is the perfect location for mummies, due to the limestone walls, which keep the air dry, and perfect conditions for preservation!  We got to see the 400 year old body of a Nun, a 6'6" man who was believed to be a crusader...with right hand and both feet severed!  We were taken in in small groups, and was very dimmly lit!  The guide used his spookiest voice, and it made the hair stand up on the back of your neck.  We were all invited to go in and shake hands with one of the mummies, and most did!  Weird, huh?  but one of those special times you will never forget on a trip like this!  Since parish members still have the option to be buried there, most sections are off limits...you can just look thru the arch doorways to numerous cripts, stacked floor to ceilin with wooden coffins.  Last bruial down there was about 20 years ago.  Cost was a few Euros to go in, and well worth it...if your stomach is up to it!  L was shocked that G actually went in to shake hands with the mummy...since she is pretty superstitious!  He was proud of her!  We had a great time there, but was time to move on.

Last stop was near the writers museum.  Went to the door, but was near closing time.  Likewise for the Hugh Lane Gallery next door,  so just went to the memorial garden across the street instead.  Beautiful sunken garden with a reflecting pool featured.  Spent a few minutes, then rain drops started, and decided to call it a day and head back to catch the HOHO bus and traveled just a few blocks back to O'Connell street, just in time to catch a city bus back to the Carlton.

Had our last meal in Ireland at the Carlton Hotel Carvery, and headed to the rooms to re-pack for our scheduled departure the next morning, Friday Nov 2.

Dan

 

 



-- Edited by murphy on Wednesday 10th of April 2013 12:45:05 AM



-- Edited by murphy on Wednesday 10th of April 2013 10:03:28 PM

__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 728
Date:

Friday Nov 2

5:45AM wake-up call at Carlton Airport Hotel, Dublin. Hotel restaurant opened at 6:30AM, and that was when we showed up for our last freebie AerLingus meal in Ireland.

Boarded the 7:30 shuttle for the airport. 3 hours was plenty of time for a proper check-in....complete with 1 pint of Guiness after checkin before pre-clearance. A little different format this time...they wouldn't give us our gate right away, so sat and sipped Guiness and watched the overhead departure board in one of the lounges. After about a 20 minute wait our notice came up for preclearance/customs and our assigned gate. As luck would have it....another chance for Guiness at a snack bar right adjacent to our departure gate....Life is good! Had an on time departure at 11:am.

Landed in Boston (Logan) at 1:32 local time. Had a 2 hour layover there, then on to Atlanta. This is where it got hairy, with only a 40 minute layover before our connecting flight to PHX. Got off the plane and discovered that our next departure gate was clear across on the opposite side. Started walking....half running....poor G was not going to make it at this rate. Had asked for a wheel chair for her, but nothing waiting there at the gate as we departed the plane. Long walk, up an escalator, down an escalator, long walk....did this about 3 times...at least 7 more to go....kept seeing a tram going the opposite direction....but nothing on our side. Finally decided G wasn't going to make it this way....too far....she said go on ahead, she would get a later flight! We all said no way...we all make it or we all dont, we are going to hang together. Went to wait by the tram door. Just a few minutes one showed up going our way!...Whew...we just might make it.

Arrived at our gate as they were giving the final boarding call. Wow this was crazy...but we knew going in, that it might happen just this way!  Got on the plane and seated, they boarded about 6 more souls, then shut the door.  We had about 3 minutes total to spare!

Arrived at Phoenix about 8PM...a real long day, but we were happy to be home, hurricane and all.  You guessed it....we made the connection in Atlanta...but our luggage did not.  Delta, assured us that the luggage would be delivered to L&G's home the next morning.  And it arrived about 4AM.

Some random thoughts about the trip.  I used my iPhone "notes" section to keep my daily diary instead of a moleskin notebook.  Worked great.  Apologize for this report taking so long, as I noticed that my last entry in my iPhone was 160 days ago! yikes!

Not sure that I would do 2 coutries in 2 weeks again.  NI and Scotland were both on our bucket list, and though only separated by a rather small section of salt water,....transportation between the 2, going both ways took a lot our valuable time.  Enjoyed the ferry ride over....would recommend it.  Flybe coming back...well you are always at the whim of airlines on schedule.  Dropping the direct flight from EDI to Knock, and then changing our flight time really took their toll....totally unplanned, but what are you going to do?

Am going to try to rank the top 10 things we got to see/do on this trip.

1)  Sitting in for a 2 1/2 hour pub session with the 3 time All-Ireland flute/tin whistle musician.  Unplanned...but just awesome....we lucked out here!

2)  Edinburgh Castle.  Stunning!

3)  Carrick Rope Bridge.  Words can't describe....what a rush of excitement as you descend and start over this rope bridge!

4)  St. Michan and the mummies in Dublin.  Unplanned bonus thanks to Hurricane Sandy
5)  Stirling Castle-Scotland  Wow!

6)  Derry Walls; "Martin McCrossin" Historical walking tour.  Very informative...and the bonus rainbow's end touching down on the murdered school girl's mural was unbelievable!

7)  Bobby Walsh  "Black Cab" tour of Belfast  Spent just enough time to realize we will need to get back to Belfast for a more in-depth look, much like we did the 2nd time around in Dublin

8)  Giants Causeway.  Photos don't do it justice....just have to go there...to see for yourself...and  then not able to believe your eyes!  How did this happen?

9) Collins Barracks, Military museum and museum of decorative arts.  Could spend more time there! fascinating stuff!

10)  Belleek Pottery factory.  Enjoyed this much more than I ever imagined I would.  True artists at work in every phase of production.

Honorable mentions:  Dublin Castle, Isle of Skye, Urequay Castle/Loch Ness, Royal Mile, HOHO bus Dublin

As for another trip(s) to Ireland? you bet!  Would like to do the entire east coast of the Island.  From just south of the Carric-a-Rede rope bridge, see the enchanted forest and Torr Head drive, and just follow the east coast of NI all the way down to just outside of Dublin airport, swing around Dublin on the M50, and continue the coastal loup all the way south as far as you could go before turning west.  How about it Ireland Irregulars....would that be a good 2 week trip?  Would also like to spend 2 weeks in SW Ireland...starting where we left on the south east corner, and head west, but spend the majority of time in the southwest.  Would also like to spend a 2 week time-frame starting in the Clifden area for a 2-3 day stint, then drift eastward toward the interior, Quiet Man territory, county Clare, on thru where Tony hangs out...esp the lake areas.  That about wraps up my wish list for 2014, 2015, and 2016.  Pretty sure we will spend our 2013 vacation time in Germany in Oct.  Planning to go with L&G, as L was there for 3 years teaching at a military base, so would have a tour guide!  Hope to get in on the tail-end of Octoberfest.  Airfare looks really expensive...so far.  Booked last year to Dublin for $749 round trip.  From Seattle, or Portland, or Phoenix to Frankfurt looks to be in the 1,032-1200 range right now.  Will wait a little while longer to see if the price comes down.

Thanks to you all for the good advice for this trip! 

Dan  



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 11th of April 2013 11:04:35 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 11th of April 2013 11:17:07 PM

__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 1764
Date:

I will have to take all the bits and copy/paste them into a readable document, (CFS and dyslexia don't lend to reading unless I spread it about). Glad you had a good time and enjoyed the experience's. You would be more than welcome over here in the Lough Derg catchment (as is everyone else) just give a days notice so we can get the bread and scones done fresh.

__________________

Two rules for Ireland, Take your time & bring a sense of humour 



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 728
Date:

Thanks for the invite, Tony....sounds too good to pass up! Hopefully someday...soon!
Dan

__________________


Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 2151
Date:

Dan --

Sounds like a VERY fortuitous hurricane -- Speaking as someone who lives in Florida -- those are the very best ones ... biggrin biggrin

Our June 2011 and April 2012 trips covered a fair bit of the SE, if you are looking for some ideas.  It's funny, because our original 2013 plans were to fly into Germany and do a Western Europe Train tour ... Now, after we part company with the kids, I'm hoping to spend a week exploring the NE ...

How is the Genealogy search progressing?  A couple of new sites ...

http://www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/

http://www.irelandxo.com/genealogy

There are a number of Murphys listed in the Tithe Lists that might be of interest.

What a pity that they have taken to locking the gates to Croppies Acre again.  It used to be that you could get one from the Gate House.  It's a favorite place of mine -- very low-key, but quite inspiring.

Bob

 



__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 728
Date:

Bob,

I had no clew that we might have crossed paths at the Airport Premier Inn Dublin. We were in such a whirl wind of indecision....the Queen herself could have walked in....and we wouldn't have noticed!

Thanks for the update on the geneology websights. DW did a little surfing this AM and found that a Johanna Murphy was murdered (throat slashed) by a 17 year old....Don't know if that is the Mother of my Great-great Grandad...or not. Maybe that is a clue to our "lost generation" Will do more digging. Looks like we need to go to Dubuque Iowa and get into the newspaper archives. Seems that one of Denis's son's, John, made a couple of trips back to Ireland. Hopefully there are some newspaper articles that would tell when and why, and if he visited anybody back there.

Yea, pretty disappointed at not being able to go into Croppie.

You say you will be "exploring the NE" meaning??? NE part of the Island(Northern Ireland) or NE part of the Rep of Ireland? or both? I hear the coastal suburbs of Dublin, both north and south are worth checking out.

Is Germany/Western Europe still on your radar someday? It looks like if we go to Germany, we will be doing "Globus" or something similar....which is so unlike DW and I....but our friends have taken a couple of those kind of tours and really liked it. The big thing for me is the language barrier...and Globus would solve that! Italy is also on my bucket list....if I ever get tired of Ireland!

Dan

__________________
«First  <  1 2 | Page of 2  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to Del.icio.us


Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard