I flew directly to JFK in New York from Tampa, where I had a meeting for work. I got there in plenty of time, but wandered around a bit before I finally found the Aer Lingus desk. (It’s tucked in with JetBlue in Terminal 5, FYI.) My traveling companion, Angela, was already there waiting for me.
We checked our bags, went through security, and boarded the plane. I was instantly charmed by our adorable little leprechaun flight attendants. Those Irish lilts! Too cute to be withstood, really. The flight from New York to Dublin is only seven hours, but there is a five hour time change. So we arrived at about midnight to our bodies, but 5 AM to our location.
We picked up our rental car at the Dan Dooley counter at about 5:30. When we first reserved it, we got the lowest price option – a stick shift. Since I STILL can’t drive a stick, and was a little skeptical about making Angel do ALL the driving while shifting with the opposite hand, I sort of railroaded an upgrade to an automatic transmission. We were required by law to take out a TON of insurance on it – probably because Americans have a bad habit of crashing into things on the left side of the car. Pretty much every car in the lot had gashes up the left side, scuffed hubcabs on the left, and we were told that Americans were forever breaking of sideview mirrors on that side. OOPS!
Off we went, with no GPS. Which is probably why we ended up in a town called Swords instead of Dublin. After some directions asking, accidentally driving on the wrong side of the road (several times), and some light screaming on my part, we ended up on a residential street. Where we passed out for at least six hours. At one point, a woman knocked on our window and told us the car was running. I’m sure she thought we were drunk, but we were actually just running the heater. We turned the car off and continued sleeping. At about noon, I hear the same woman loudly talking to a man VERY near the car: “What are those girls doing in there? They’ve been in there for hours! Something is going on. I’m going to call someone.” The man, presumably after taking a peek in the window, says, “Oh, come on. They’ve obviously just come from the airport! Look, you can see their bags, and this is a rental car. Haven’t you ever had to spend the night out in Dublin?” She responded in a huff, “I guess not!” but must not have called anyone, because the police didn’t show up. Soon thereafter, we were on our way to begin our day.
On the agenda:
Stopping at a couple of pubs. Lunch, dinner, pints, all in the pub.
The Guinness Storehouse. This was pure chaos, but you have to do it if you’re there. They give you a free pint of Guinness, and yes, it does taste fresher and less bitter in Ireland.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We tried, but it was closed for graduations, so that will have to wait for another day.
Next stop: Cabra Castle in County Cavan, near Kingscourt.