Hello…allow me to introduce myself. My name is Sir Winston Paddington Nigel Gerheart Bear. You’ll find a snapshot of me below but let me give you a few tidbits about myself and my contributions to this blog over the next few weeks.
My friends call me Nigel…everybody else calls me Sir Bear…as they should since I am a Sir of course. I’m briefly taking over the blogging duties from Uncle Gunther as he’s hefty frame is simply too large to easily fit into luggage. At least that’s what they told him…I think it’s because he’s a bit of a staid, stodgy old kinda bear and you need a more refined outlook to properly appreciate and chronicle the adults journey over here in the Emerald Isle.
So let’s get right down to business.
After leaving yesterday from Junction City around 1000…they drove over to Kansas City and stopped at Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ for lunch. As we expected fro previous visits…it was outstanding although they did eat too much…but then given the consequences for their supper as you will see shortly it’s a pretty good thing they did.
They arrived at the airport afterTravel Woe #1…which turned out to be a non issue although not without 15 minutes or so of serious angst on Connie’s part. She decided to check on their flight status after they left the Oklahoma Joe’s for the 20 mile drive over to the airport. They knew their flight departed at 1735 which would get them to the departure lounge 2 hours or so early. She called up the United Airlines site, punched in the flight number and it said that the flight to Newark was leaving at 1430 or approximately 45 minutes from when she was reading the site. Neil immediately sped up the Mazda to attempt to make the flight while she grilled him about misreading the actual flight departure time. He assured her he had done no such thing and showed her the confirmation paperwork…so she did some more checking and discovered that the flight number of the later flight had been changed and there were two flights to Newark…the earlier one which they would not have made and the later one which matched their scheduled departure time.
After that was taken care of they continued to the airport, parked in the Blue Lot in area C3, got to the terminal and got checked in for both the US and international flights and checked their luggage through to Dublin. On arrival at the gate they grabbed a Newcastle Brown Ale draft from the Heineken Bar and waited…and waited…and waited.
Our scheduled boarding time of 1700 came and went…and there was no plane at the gate. Turned out it had been delayed previously and didn’t show up until 1742. After a quick turnaround of the aircraft we boarded and took off just about an hour late…entering Travel Woe #2. This one looked to be more serious as instead of an hour and 20 minutes on the ground in Newark they now had a scheduled layover of 20 minutes…they weren’t worried about making their flight but given the short turnaround figured they would have no luggage on arrival in Dublin.
The pilots made up a few minutes on the way to Newark so on arrival at the gate and exit from the plane they had 23 minutes before the scheduled departure…and they arrived at gate C36 (all the way at one end of the terminal) and needed to get to C136 (one gate short of the completely other end of the terminal. So they took off running (and alternatively walking since Connie got winded on the way) and made it to the far gate with 11 of their 23 minutes left to spare. Neil ran ahead the last couple hundred yards to plead (if necessary) for them to hold the door but luckily for us the plane was broke (albeit a minor broke) and didn’t leave until 20 minutes after the scheduled time. The gate agent assured us that the luggage would make it given the amount of time…especially as the distance the luggage cart had to traverse across the apron was only about 10% of the distance that passengers had to run between the two gates.
So we got settled…along with another half dozen or so people who turned up later than we did…and enter Travel Woe #3.
Our seats were occupied by this guy and his son and their clearly past the limitations of the carryon rules crap. Turned out that they didn’t like the seats they were assigned and just picked out some near the rest of their family and expected whoever was actually assigned those seats (on a completely full 757 no less) to just move. Connie told him to get the Fark out of her seats and he did, complaining loudly all the way. Neil hit the head about 10 minutes later and the guy showed up again asking her if his seat was taken…at which point she agin run him off. We were left with just his teenage son in the window seat and we had the middle and aisle seats in row 29 just aft of the wing.
After taking off 20 minutes or so late they finally got around to serving dinner about an hour and 20 minutes after take off…which meant that we didn’t get supper until 0100…which definitely did not make our day. We then tried to sleep…but the A/C wasn’t working well despite the exterior temperature being -61F…Neil didn’t really understand how the inside of the plane could be sweltering with the outside air was that cold; all they needed to do was introduce some VENTILATION and the heat problem would have been solved.
After a hot night with no sleep…a halfway decent albeit late supper and some fruit and a croissant for breakfast we landed to overcast weather in Dublin and a temperature of mid 60s…this is pretty much the forecast for the rest of our time here. We figured out how to catch the bus to our hotel and after boarding the Air Coach Bus #700…a quick half hour five stop trip later we got to to the Kilronan House Guest House and checked in. Desk attendants Remy and his French intern Clementine (that’s Clementine with an een sound on the end and not an ine sound like Clementine in the Oh My Darling, Oh My Darling song) quickly got us registered for our 3 night stay and our luggage delivered to room 19 on the second floor…which is actually the third floor to us Colonials as we count the first floor…in Europe the first floor is the Ground Floor and the First Floor is up the stairs.
By this time it was 1300 and we were exhausted…so we opened the windows, pulled the drapes closed and had a 2 hour nap to get us at least partially refreshed. Our plan was to make it as late tonight as we can then get up in the morning with hopefully a full night’s sleep and our internal clocks working on Ireland time…at least that’s the theory…I’ll let you know later how successful the theory converted to practice.
Arising from our nap we headed across a local park named St Stephen’s Green founded back in 1663 by Lord Ardilaun; Sir Authur Edward Guinness (yes, that Guinness). We grabbed a few shots as we walked through it to the Temple Bar area of Dublin right next to Trinity College. The first shot is the train station near our hotel which looks like it dates from the earliest days of train stations in Ireland, the second and third are of the cottage at the entrance to the park and the steeple of the Unitarian Church across from the cottage and the remaining ones are from the park itself.
We then arrived at our first beer stop…a pub named Grogan’s. Nothing really spectacular about it but we were trying to get away from the 10,000 square foot ‘pubs’ that catered to the tourist trade in the Temple Bar District and it was the first one that looked more like a local pub. Here were are with a Beamish Stout for Neil and an O’Hara’s Irish Red Ale for Connie. Mighty tasty indeed.
After that we were tired and remembered another pub we had passed with traditional Irish food on the menu so headed back there for dinner at J. Sheehan’s of Chatham Street. Neil grabbed a photo and we headed inside…according to the sign it’s only been open for 75 years so Neil was expecting them to still be having a Grand Opening Celebration.
We decided we wanted a lighter brew for our dinner…so based on the nice taste of the O’Hara’s Irish Red ordered a couple of O’Hara’s Irish Pale Ales…and again they were mighty tasty. We split a platter of Fish and Chips (hey, it’s Ireland) which was also mighty tasty.
As we were sitting there enjoying our beers…Connie noticed this barrel end hanging over in the corner of the bar.
As we had quaffed several pints of this stuff on draft in Kentucky a couple of weeks back we chatted with the bartender a bit about it then took the picture…of course taking the picture resulted in more conversation and we met our first two Irish friends…Paul Mather and Crocodile
We watched a bit of the World Cup match involving Mexico and then headed home to the hotel. Grabbing a quick picture of the entrance sign we had a shower and watched TV until our early bedtime.
One last thing…I can happily report that the Legend of the Alabama Crimson Tide has made it here to the Old Country. We was walking around in the park and Neil had a ‘Bama shirt on and this young lady says “Roll Tide!!” Gotta love it. She sorta had a local accent and not a Southern one…but mebbe she’s just abeen here awhile.
We’ll do some planning for our two days in Dublin the morning before setting out on our touring.