Day 0
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9

Day 5

Wednesday, June 23 , 2004


We were booked on the 9:35 flight out of London City airport for Dublin on Air France - City Jet flight. The Jubilee line was direct line to Canning Town, where we caught a special bus to the airport. London City (LCY) is an interesting airport. It is set up entirely for commuter flights. I don't think they could get a Boeing 727 on it. But the little BAe jet had a lot more seats inside than I would have expected.

The flight over to Dublin was an uneventful one and we collected our bags quickly and were on our way. Our cab driver was friendly and informative. We learned of the changes overtaking Dublin turning it into an international city.  
  When we arrived at the hotel they did not have a room ready for us, so we checked our bags and looked for a place for lunch. We found one outside of the mall at the corner of Grafton and St. Stephen's Green, Sinnott's. I had my first Guinness and a quite nice lunch, as did Karen.
We got back to our Hotel, The Shelbourne (a Marriott), to get our room. I should say that in Dublin, the Shelbourne, is more than a hotel, it is a monument. The lobby and adjoining rooms (one restaurant, a tea room and 2 pubs are beautiful. When we got to our room on the 1.5 floor, it was quite dated and not very large. Worse yet there was no high speed Internet as promised. Compounding things was that we had no GPRS connection with our handhelds. After being completely spoiled in London with full access this was a disappointing situation. On our way out, we asked about hi-speed Internet and the desk told us they could move us to another room. The new room was on the sixth floor. We gathered up our stuff and headed up. Unfortunately the elevator was malfunctioning and the doors would not open on the sixth floor. Ultimately we got off on the fifth and walked up. The new room was more up-to-date, if no larger. It also had two Ethernet jacks. We headed out happy with our situation.  

Outside things were different. The wind was blowing, the rain was falling and it was frickin' cold! We had thought we would take hop-on/off tour bus our first day. The weather was the clincher for that decision. We caught the bus and began the tour. With maps in hand I decided and now having a sense of distance and considering the weather, suggested that we do the Guinness tour this first day. Our tour on the bus confirmed what our cab ride had indicated, Dublin is not a beautiful city, it has beauty in it, but it is a working town with a thriving tourist trade.

At the Guinness stop we got off and went for the factory tour. Frankly the tour was a complete waste. You do not actually see the factory but some prepackaged presentation of it. The one thing that saves the tour from being total flummery is that at the end you can go to the top floor to the Gravity Bar. This bar sits atop the factory and provides a 360 view of the city. Best of all they pour you a complementary Guinness!

After enjoying our beer, we descended to the ground floor and made the obligatory stop at the souvenir shop, purchasing the necessary trinkets. We came outside to absolutely blustery conditions. Fortunately for us, the bus showed up straight away. Too bad for us it was THAT bus.

  The tour continued including into the very large Phoenix Park. The bus made its way back into town. Ominously, however, the driver hopped out at an Avis Rent-a-Car location and ran inside. He came back out a few minutes later with a watering can to refill the bus with water. At this point we were adjacent to the River Liffey and not far from O'Connell Street. I suggested to Karen we hop out right then, fearing things would get worse. Karen was not feeling well, however, and did not want to brave the elements, which were miserable.
  After a few more minutes, we continued on. The tour took us north, away from our hotel. At the next stop the bus driver hopped out again, and the Tour Guide spent sometime on the phone. Upshot, the bus was dead and we were to wait for the next one. Since the buses were supposed to run every ten minutes, this would not be a problem, except it was now Rush Hour, and it was time for the tour buses to stop operating.  
  Well we waited and waited, but no bus came. At one point we got up to go and walk home, but the Guide pointed to a Tour bus coming up the other direction and told us that was our ride. Well it wasn't. That bus never got to us. Nor did any show up for another 15 minutes. At that point we gave up on Dublin Tours and walked the 2 miles through rain, wind and cold to our hotel.  
  Back at the hotel we had a chance to relax. I decided it was time to fire up the high speed Internet. I plugged in the cable, fired up the computer and launched Iexplorer and guess what? No Internet! To make a long story short the hotel had no hi-speed connection capabilities. I will not go into details, but we were not happy. Essentially we changed rooms for nothing. Given the weather and everything else our trip seemed star-crossed.  
To console ourselves we headed out for dinner, grabbing a quick beer at the The Bailey, a pub off Grafton. It was a nice place; unfortunately they did not serve food for dinner. We continued on in search of dinner.  
  The Temple Bar area is known for many restaurants. Our wish was for a place serving traditional Irish food and we did find perhaps the quintessential place, Oliver St. John Gogarty's Restaurant. This 4-story place has a pub on the ground floor, music with dining on the second and straight restaurant on the final 2. The fair is advertised as traditional Irish. The restaurant was packed and we got our own table but in close proximity to another. While waiting for our food, two ladies were seated next to us. Once we got our food, one of them struck up a conversation. Turns out they were from Norway and on holiday. Before Ireland, they had been in Scotland. They were having a good old time and were taking each day as it came. This reminded us that despite our challenges of the day, we had to adopt the attitude of the Norwegian ladies.
  After dinner, we headed back to our hotel, stopped in to the pub-looking pub (called the The Shelbourne Bar, the martini bar is called the Horseshoe Bar) for a quick beer and then headed to bed.  

Day 6