||[Jan. 8th, 2007|01:20 pm]
We arrived in Dublin at 3:30 am which is 8:300 am Irish time. They are 5 hours ahead of us time wise.|
I picked up my luggage and went looking for customs. There were 2 lines one for non-EU and one for EU passengers. The non-EU line was long and slow so I went down the EU line, which was empty. I saw no one as I went through. When I came out into the lobby I asked the Gardia ( policeman ) where to find customs. He said you just came through it. I hadn't seen it so I went on my way to the curb.
There was a ticket machine there where you could get a 1-3 day bus pass for Dublin. I purchased the 1 day pass for 5 euro which was good for 24 hours on all Dublin buses. I was in Dublin for 2 days and it always worked in the meters on the buses, which I rode a lot to avoid walking as much as possible.
I caught the bus to the main bus station and picked up my " open road " bus pass. Then I caught the # 123 bus from Oconnell street to the Guinness Brewery. My hostel was 100 yards down from the brewery.
The Brewery Hostel is in a very old building in the old part of town. The place is kind of run down and rickety but still comfortable and cozy, with a nice friendly, courteous, helpful staff. They carried my luggage up to my room on the 2nd floor, 3rd floor to me, as they call the 1st floor the ground floor in Ireland. They did all they could to make my stay enjoyable.
My room was an 8 bed crowded dorm room. I had heard of it having bedbugs but never saw any signs of the critters, It is far better than a park bench and more comfortable. It has en suite bathrooms ( loo's ) and was clean and airy.
The place caters to the backpackers and therefore has an abundance of young people. However they were all kind and courteous and treated me like their Grandpa. The room accommodated 3 Italians, and 4 Germans plus myself.
Breakfast is included which consists of Corn Flakes, granola, toast with butter and jam, milk tea and instant coffee. I don't think the Irish know about regular coffee as all coffee is espresso. Breakfast is from 8:00-10:00. The self catering kitchen is always open, but they pull breakfast at 10:00. To get to the kitchen you go downstairs, out the back door and around to the kitchen. There are 2 toasters and you queue up to make your toast.
There is a free Internet in the lounge if you can find it available. I did and tried to get on AOL to check my e-mail, kept getting the "page not available" flag. Then one of the computer savvy young people explained that AOL was a US company and you had to reach it through an EU server to get to it. He showed my how and that worked, so I checked my e-mail
I left my luggage and went out and about Dublin. I needed a collapsible luggage carrier. Everybody thought I was talking about someone to carry my luggage for me. Actually they call it a luggage trolley
I asked the clerk how far it was to find one. That is when I learned about the infamous Irish "5 minute walk" It seems that to the Irish everything is only a 5 minute walk. I think they think that from Dublin to Galway is only a 5 minute walk. Anyway it was 11/2 miles. 25 minutes later with aching feet and many long breaks I arrived.
The trolley cost me 30 euro. Darn I had gotten a nice for for my birthday from the kids but couldn't find it when I packed for the trip. However the one I got proved to be invaluable in my travels.
I was worn out so I went to back to the hostel, caught the bus this time, and laid down to think about it. I woke up 2 hours later and was hungry. I went looking for some food. It was 7:30 pm and most Pubs quite serving before that. I found Nash's Pub which served till 9:00 pm and had bangers and mashed. They sure give you a lot of food in the pubs and the price is right. I drank my tea slowly wanting to experience the night scene. I stayed till 9:00 pm which is my bedtime. So I went back to the hostel to go to bed. It seems they don't start partying till 10:00 pm and party till around 2:00 am. To late for me at my age.
My roommates were just going out for the evening when I got back and they came back in at 2:00 am. They were very quiet and respectful and did not cause any disturbance.
Next morning I got up late about 10:30. Breakfast was over, and I was looking for more than toast and jam for breakfast. By the time I got cleaned up and took my medicines it was 12:00 pm. So I took the #123 bus to the city center looking for breakfast. I also wanted a Rugby shirt for one of my sports minded grand kids. I found a pub which served breakfast all day, so I had the Irish Fry Up. Ham, sausage, bacon,1 egg, baked beans and toast with coffee ( watered down espresso ) It cost 7 euro which is more than my usual daily budget for food. It was very good however and filling.
Across the street was Carols Irish Gift Shop. I brought an official Rugby shirt for $50 US, awfully overpriced if you ask me. They only ship from the Internet so I had to find the post office to post it. It was only a 5 minute walk down the street. It cost 4.80 euro to ship it to the US, but that is better than carrying it all over Ireland.
I was tired so I went back to the hostel to lie down and think about it. 2 hours later I woke up and found the breakfast had burnt off so I was hungry and did a food search. I had heard the Brazen Head Pub was a good place to eat and only a 5 minute walk. It took me 20 minutes to get to Bridge St and the Lifty River where it is located and that was downhill, believe me I took a taxi back to the hostel.
The Brazen Head Pub is the oldest pub in Dublin and has quite a history behind it. It was the scene of many important decisions and discussions over the years. It has an old world look about it and traditional Irish music in the music lounge, if you can get in to hear it. One would need to come very early to get a seat cause once it is full they people stay and make a night of it.
So I sat at the bar and had a sirloin steak, with 2 vegetables, one of which is always potatoes, and tea. Very good and cooked just right and plentiful. The people were very friendly and talkitive and kept wanting to buy me a round. I declined for medical reasons and that seemed acceptable.
As mentioned before I took a taxi back, I never would have made back up that hill. When I got back my roommates had gone out for the night so I went to bed.
I realized that I better get out of town or I would spend my entire budget in Dublin so I went to the main bus station to catch the bus to Dundalk. The city bus doesn't service the main bus station so I took the #123 downtown and took a taxi to the main bus station. They said it was a 10 minute walk, and I figured that was twice as long as a 5 minute walk.
I only had to wait 15 minutes for the Dundalk bus, and I was off.