Day 1 - Exploring Dublin With Minimal Sleep and Jetlag

Dublin Travel Blog

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Grafton St. in Dublin around 8:30am.

Sept. 5, 2007:  Day 1 in Ireland – Exploring Dublin with Minimal Sleep and Jetlag

 

            The plane landed at Dublin International Airport at 5am (12am Eastern Standard Time).  I had slept maybe two hours during the night.  As I departed the aircraft I knew it would was going to be a day that tested my endurance.

            As I waited for the 6am bus to downtown I met Stephanie, another traveler from the US.  She is spending 1.5 months in Europe.  She’s from Florida and had a backpack on her just like me.  So I of course gave her my card, and she’ll most likely email me to meet up in France and Germany since we’ll both be there at the same times.

My first beer in Europe! A Guiness of course, in Farrington's of the Temple Bar area in Dublin.

            Two other ladies in the bus booth were from the US too; Boston in fact.  So, my exposure to Europeans had been minimal thus far, but that would change soon.

            If you ever go to Europe, make sure you have coins for the buses and near exact change since they do not give change back.  Since there were no banks or currency converting places open when I was at the airport I had to buy a small bag of potato chips at a little convenience store to break the two 50 Euro notes the ATM spit out for me.  The chips were 1.45 Euros.  The two ladies did not know you had to have coins, and had to miss the bus.  But, another one was coming 15 minutes later.  We all actually missed the first bus since it stopped across the street from us and we didn’t see it in time.

            The bus was a double-decker.  As we drove to downtown I had a great view of the buildings, traffic and people walking (those few at 6:15am).  And driving on the opposite side of the road for the first time threw through me for a loop.

River Liffey through Dublin
 

            Stephanie and I got off at what we thought was our stop, but it turned out I had to walk another five blocks (with the aid of two local Dubliners) to get to Connelly Station.  We departed paths since she was going to a hostel, and I kept on trucking.

            I was supposed to meet Blair at 7am at Sutton Station by taking a DART (Dublin’s commuter rail system) from Connelly Station toward Howthe.  I didn’t get there until 7:45am, and I was worried she would have given up and gone home.  But she was there, riding in on her bike.  Luckily for me she came back on her bike.

            I met Blair off CouchSurfing.com.  For the life of me I couldn’t find a CS host in Dublin until I posted a message to the Dublin CS board.  Blair saw it and responded.  She works and lives at a community for disabled people.  It’s a medium-sized, single story complex with about 10 people living there.

Christ Cathedral in Dublin
  Every one has there own bedrooms, and there are a few community bathrooms.  I got my own room!  I would have been happy with the floor, but a bed…yes!

            After setting up camp I decided to venture back into town; After all, I couldn’t spend my first day in Ireland not exploring Dublin. 

            When I got downtown I peaked at a tourist map and just started walking.  I ended up walking over 5 miles, and saw any sites and people.  Just from the sounds and atmosphere, I could tell I was in a different country.  The people of course talked with an Irish accent.  If I approached someone for directions, they would most often ask “What?” and I’d have to repeat myself slower.  Even though we both speak English, my English doesn’t sound anything like theirs. 

            Around 11am I was feeling famished and picked up a small loaf of bread and a 2-Liter of “Pure Irish Sparkling Water” for a total of 2.

Guinness Factory in Dublin
50 Euros.  I walked around eating the bread and drinking the water.

            Here’s a quick rundown on what I did/saw in Dublin:

-         Got off at Tara St. Station

-         Walked past Trinity College

-         Bank of Ireland

-         House of Lords

-         Grafton St.

Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness frozen in time

o       My Mom and Grandma would love it due to all the shops

-         Temple Bar area and had first Guinness in Ireland at Farringtons (one of only a couple bars open at 9am)

o       With tip it came to 5 Euros, and it wasn’t warm like I had heard they serve it in Ireland.  But, it was still my first beer in Europe!

-         Viking/Medieval Area

o       Christ Church Cathedral, 1030

o       St.

Spire of Dublin in the background
Audoen’s Church, 12th Century

§         Free admission

-         St. James’ Catholic Church

o       I had my first conversation about George W. Bush outside this church.  A local elderly gentleman on a bike stopped to enter the church at the same time as I and I asked him which street we were on.  He could tell I was not from Ireland and that’s how we got started.  He was glad to know I voted for John Kerry and that I had lived in Boston (where the Kennedy’s (an Irish family of course) name still lives on).  He didn’t have the warmest words for good ole’ George. 

o       Oh, and this church is free admission also.

-         Guinness Brewery, 1759

o       The Storehouse is 14 Euro, and I being cheap did not enter.

-         Got lost going back, took an excruciating additional 30 minutes to get to:

o       St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 1192

§         Thought they charge admission, but later I learned it’s voluntary

o       St. Stephen’s Green, 1663

§         Large park where a lot of people were sitting, eating, reading, etc.

§         I took a short nap on a park bench while the pigeons did their walk around my person

 

I was not looking forward to walking back to Tara St. Station from St. Stephen’s Green.  I had been carrying my backpack all day and my shoulders were starting to ache.  But I gathered up the energy and headed north. 

I made it to the station, and had to wait about 20 minutes for the next train to Howthe.  So I napped some more on a bench.  This time there were no pigeons.

The train came. I got on, and was enjoying the ride when we were told to get off due to an accident up ahead.  So we all had to get off at Howthe Junction.  There were a lot of grumbling people because they did not tell us what to do, how long it would be, and there weren’t any restrooms at the station.  I took my leave and found an isolated.  Forty-five minutes later we were back on the train. 

When I made it back to L’Arche (where I’m staying) it was about 4:30pm, and I fell right asleep.  Blair mentioned dinner at 6pm, but I thanked her and passed due to my exhaustion.

I woke up about three hours later and went out into the living room.  I chatted it up a bit with Blair and two women living at L’Arche, Karen and Jillian.  Then Reiji (a worker at L’Arche from India) came out and we had left-over dinner together.  It was one of the best meals of my life; Kielbasa, mushrooms and rice.  I was very thankful to them all.

Thus ends my first day abroad!

CrazyLisa says:
Sounds like good fun so far!
Posted on: Sep 07, 2007
hudub says:
Nice blog... keep them coming!
Posted on: Sep 06, 2007
Girl_from_Germany says:
Oh I remember most of the places you've been in Dublin. I might be there again in October and after I've read all that I acutally can't wait anymore :D
Posted on: Sep 06, 2007
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Grafton St. in Dublin around 8:30a…
Grafton St. in Dublin around 8:30…
My first beer in Europe!  A Guines…
My first beer in Europe! A Guine…
River Liffey through Dublin
River Liffey through Dublin
Christ Cathedral in Dublin
Christ Cathedral in Dublin
Guinness Factory in Dublin
Guinness Factory in Dublin
Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness frozen i…
Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness frozen …
Spire of Dublin in the background
Spire of Dublin in the background
Dublin
photo by: fransglobal