August 28 - How To Get To Ireland
I am a planner. I do most of our trip planning with some essential and worthwhile input from Ann. I made all of our plane, car, hotel and train reservations many weeks ago. I even changed our flight to Dublin because I didn't think there was enough layover time in Frankfurt. With our new flight plan, we were routed through Newark with a comfortable two hour layover. So I was in panic mode when UAL and my premium Tripit accounts contacted me on Monday at 8 PM that our flight to Newark was cancelled. I immediately called UAL to reroute us. After an hour and forty five minutes, we were booked on an itinerary with stops in Chicago O'Hare and Washington Dullas. The flight was to leave SFO later than our original one, so we would be able to get another 1 1/2 hours of sleep and Bay Porter Express would pick us up at 7:30 instead of 5:30. I was a bit uncomfortable because our two layovers were about an hour each. I was really worried when UAL and Tripit notified me early on Tuesday morning that our new SFO flight was delayed. We got to the airport, breezed through check in and security and used some complimentary tickets to United's comfortable business class lounge. We kept our eyes on the departure board to check the status of our flight. It was delayed only by a few minutes.
Our flights were uneventful. The layover times were just right. We arrived in Dublin early. Passport control was quick. Our checked bags arrived shortly. We booked the Carlton Airport Hotel and when we asked directions to it, we were sent to the Clarion Hotel, not the Carlton Hotel. I guess that the similar names confused the person who gave us directions. The walk felt good, though, and the Clarion van driver gave us a ride back to the airport where we caught the Carlton shuttle. Our driver was an older, chatty Irishman who entertained us all of the way to the hotel.
We had a nice room with a king-size bed, lots of hot water and free Internet. The location is not so good if you arrive in the morning. We were isolated in the airport area with very little around to see or to entertain us. We had lunch in the hotel's restaurant, took a short nap and did a walk around the area. There were a lot of small businesses like car repair shops, used and new car dealers, cemetery monument sellers, gas stations and a huge long-term parking lot. More interesting were some old houses with thatched roofs, a sports facility for the Royal College Of Surgeons Of Ireland and another sports facility for the Whitehall Comcille which includes ladies football. This is Gaelic football which is very different from American football and soccer. Although our walk was sort of interesting, if I had known that were were going to arrive so early, I would have booked a room in the city center so that we could have done some real sight-seeing.
We managed to get through with dinner at the hotel without falling asleep. Guinness and Irish Ales were good choices.