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Ireland Trip Recap – Day 0 and 1

May 17, 2012
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Day 0 – Traveling from CA to Ireland – We made it from SFO to Dublin with only a minimum of fuss. By “minimum” I mean, we had to take an earlier flight from SFO to O’Hare because our flight was delayed and we would have missed our connection to Dublin. Also a crazy lady accosted Jake and spent 15 minutes telling him about the perils of the x-ray security machine and how the US government is just trying to kill people.  I have also learned that I dislike O’Hare greatly. Mostly because they have no food past security in the International Terminal. Seriously O’Hare?! Major fail.

Day 1 – Arrival in Dublin – Unfortunately, our excitement at being in Ireland experienced a short damper caused by Oscar the Grouchy Customs Agent. Side Note: I was going to give him a more Irish sounding name like Seamus, but then I discovered that Oscar is, in fact, an Irish name. Learn something new everyday! Anyway, when you land in Dublin, you’re supposed to fill out a “Landing Card” that asks for all sorts of information like your name, passport #, etc.  Jake & I are usually very good at following the rules and would have been more than happy to comply with this one, but well…we didn’t have a pen, pencil or any other writing implement. Somehow we managed to travel 5,000 miles from California to Ireland without anything to write with. Jake asked the flight attendant for a pen and she said she’d find him one but then never returned.

When we got off the plane, a girl in front of us asked a security guard for a pen to fill out her landing card. She was informed that it was “no big deal” and that she could fill it out when she got to the Customs Officer.  Sweet! We hopped in line and were soon greeted by Oscar. We handed over our passports and he asked for our landing cards. We explained that we didn’t have a pen and he looked at us rather incredulously, and said that the airline was supposed to hand them out when they handed out the landing cards. Well…er…they didn’t. He said that he’d find us a “fecking pen” and proceeded to look through his desk to no avail. Then he stomped out of his little office and returned with a bag and a pen. He gave the pen to us and told us to come back when our cards were filled out and not to steal his fecking pen. Ooohkay…someone had obviously spit his Cheerios. It should be noted that at this point the girl in front us who also didn’t have her card filled out was through customs because she got Mr. Rogers the cheery customs agent. Since we’re talking about Ireland, maybe that should be Mr. O’Rogers? McRogers?

Thorougly chastised now, Jake & I move off to the side and quickly fill out our cards. We got back in line, hoping to get ANYONE but Oscar but no such luck. We returned to Oscar’s window, handed him his fecking pen, our passports and filled-out landing cards.
Oscar: *mumbled something or other that we couldn’t decipher through the bullet proof glass and Irish accent
Jake/Jen:  Huh? (very intelligent response, no?)
Oscar: TELL ME ABOUT YOUR TRIP!
Jake: We’re just here to visit
Me: We’re here for a week. Just driving around
Oscar: mumble mumble grumble
Jake/Me: Huh?  (again, we are clearly showcasing our highly educated brains)
Oscar: Do you think that’s sufficient information? That that is ALL I need to know? That you’re here for a visit, for a week and you’re just driving around?!
*we were pretty sure that this was rhetorical question and decided to remain quiet. Didn’t want to intimidate him with any more examples of our awesome brain power
Oscar: When are you leaving to go back to the States? (he is thoroughly exasperated with us by this point)
Me: May 5th
Then he stamped our passports and slid them back to us. I’m rather grateful the bullet proof glass was there, otherwise I think he might have thrown them at us.

We scurried away from Oscars window to baggage claim. There were only a few bags left going around the turnstile and none of them were ours. I had a sneaky suspicion when we got moved to the early Chicago flight to make our Dublin connection that our bag did not make switch and I was right. We went to the Baggage Info area where we had to pick our bag “type” from a chart of options and tell them the color. It was a blue #5, if anyone is curious. Then they said they needed to know where we’d be staying the next couple of days. We gave them our hotel info, and they didn’t bat an eye. I admit to being skeptical about them actually delivering our bag to us, because by the time it got to Ireland, we’d in County Clare which is all the way across the country. Surely they wouldn’t take it ALL the way out there would they?! Not that it mattered, because we’d done all we could do and it was time to move on to the next step: Rental Car

Renting the car was uneventful but we really lamented our lack of luggage when we had to wait outside for the shuttle to take us to the car. We waited forever and it was so cold. I had my jacket, scarf and hat, but my only shoes were flip flops. Jake had it even worse with shorts & t-shirt. Finally we arrived at the rental car parking lot and got situated in our car, ready to head off on our adventure.
Jake: Okay, where do I go when I get out of here?
Me: You need to take the M1 North.
Jake: Right but where do we go?
Me: What do you mean?
Jake: How do we get to the M1 North?
Me: Oh! Um…don’t know. It’s just a big airplane on my map. You need to drive.
Jake: I know, but where am I going?!
Me: I don’t know where we’re going until I know where we are. So you need to drive so I can figure out where we are.
Jake: I don’t like this. We should have gotten GPS.
Me: It’s an adventure!  (he didn’t look very comforted by my response)

So we were off! Except not, because Jake stalled out the car which cause lots of giggles from me and glares from Jake. Our 2nd attempt was more successful but my navigating skills were not yet accustomed to Ireland road signs. Thus a drive that was 54 km and should have taken 40 minutes and looked like this:

Turned into an 85km drive that took us 2 hours and looked like this:

We checked into the Slane Farm Hostel and were greeted by a young gal and Oscar! This guy’s name is actually Oscar and he was not the least bit grouchy. Although he did have a tendency to bite your clothing if he felt he wasn’t being paid his due attention.

She showed us to our room where we promptly passed out for about six hours.

We seriously loved this place and hope to come back someday.

Anyway, after we awoke from our coma, we set off to find some groceries. We headed towards Drogheda (please refer to the maps above) and found a shopping center with a grocery store and department store. We bought Jake a sweatshirt and got some bread, lunch meat and cheese for meals on the go. Then we headed back into Slane where we celebrated our first night in Ireland by dining at the Old Post Office restaurant. We had steaks and Bulmers cider and it was delicious. Then we headed back to our cottage and tried to figure out what to do the next day.

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