Our trip started out on Dec. 20, 2010 at 5:45 AM CDT as we left the house bound for Houston. It is cheaper for us to drive the 4.5 hours to Houston for international flights than to drive 45 minutes to San Antonio. A lot cheaper, so to Houston we go. We had a layover in Atlanta, which kept getting longer and longer due to the weather. This is the time when Europe was having one of the worst snow storms in recent history. We finally get on our way and arrived in Dublin at 2:10 AM CDT the 21st of Dec. The time in Dublin 9:10 AM the 21st of Dec. This is not really a good time to arrive somewhere with a 6 hour time difference! But we decided to take a nap and then just suffer some the rest of the day, as long as the day was short!
The first thing we see after getting off the plane was that all the signs are both in Gaelic and English.
This was very cool! We were talking to a local woman on the subway one of the days there and she told us that the children have to learn Gaelic in school, but that there is only a very small percent of Ireland who speak it as a primary language. Gaelic was EVERYWHERE! It was neat until a scrolling information sign was in the middle of Gaelic and we needed to know what it was saying in English.
While waiting for the luggage we saw a brand of potato chips that was new to us and one we found quite humorous. Side note: The Irish LOVE their potato chips!
When we finally got out of the airport we saw that it was snowing! This was very exciting for all three of us. In our parts of Texas it doesn't snow often. For Frankie and I even less than where Angie lives. These were huge flakes too, not just sleet that we normally see if we even see anything!
We got tickets for the Aircoach bus that would take us right to the front door of our hotel. It was much cheaper than a taxi and it made it easier for us since we had no clue where or what we needed to do. From the bus, which had Wi-Fi (yipee!), I was able to capture a few shots of snowy Dublin, like the one above, and I captured a picture of The Dublin Wheel.
We wished we had been able to go on it, but time slipped away before we could. Plus, the way things went it probably wasn't open, but more on that later.
The Aircoach bus usually goes right to the door of the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire (a southern suburb of Dublin) where we were staying, but with the snow he wasn't sure if he could get turned around where he normally did, so he dropped us off just down the street. It wasn't too bad, but it was snowing, we had our luggage and it was all uphill. I know it sounds like that joke, "When I was your age, I had to get to school by walking five miles, uphill, in the snow, and barefoot.", but in our case this time it was true! We found out later that the airport shut down just a few hours after we got there due to the snow. This was the worst snow storm Dublin had seen in 25 years! Lucky us! :)
Since we had gotten there later than we originally thought we would, we were just going to try to stay up, but we had to wait for our rooms. We waited in the lobby in some very comfortable chairs where all three of us fell quickly asleep. When the rooms were ready we decided that we would take a two hour nap and then force ourselves to get up and go out. We did it too!
Once we woke up, we took our first trip on the DART, which is the Dublin subway, to the city center to see what we could see. It gets dark at 4:30 in Dublin in the winter. That wasn't good for picture taking, and the snow didn't help either. But there were a few things of interest of which to take pictures.
For example the James Joyce statue.
And lights strung across the street, which I love! This says Merry Christmas in Gaelic.