In December 2013, my boyfriend’s brother gave us the opportunity to use his rewards points to book a free flight for a trip to Europe. We planned a 10 day trip to the UK and Ireland. This is our story.
Glasgow – Mitchell Library
Skylor recapped some of this, but I wanted to give my two-cents. :) We had a lovely day yesterday – traveled by train from Edinburgh to Glasgow – switched stations – and caught a glimpse of the city – and took another train to Ayr – and then a bus to Dalrymple – where my last name comes from. There’s not much there, but we walked through a small graveyard, and picnicked on a hidden bench by a bridge over the River Doon, a very sweet, romantic spot. It wasn’t too difficult traveling by bus and train. People are helpful. The weather was actually beautiful, at times overcast, and then minutes later, sunny. Our host in Glasgow said it’s been some of the best weather we’ve had all season, as though we’re meant to be here. Skylor was such a gentleman when I got tired or wanted to explore – he dragged or carried my bags. Last night we traveled back from Ayr to Glasgow, and ate a fantastic dinner at The Bunker. Our hosts, Brendan and Anna, were very hospitable, and had a very well-located flat. I’m not used to the city noise though. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to stay long, but we got to know Brendan a little better by watching The World Cup final with him and learning more about each other. He’s from South Africa, and could relate to getting questions about why one would move from a warm place to a colder one (I moved from Florida to Virginia). We slept well and came to the Mitchell Library this morning to print out our RyanAir boarding passes. It’s a beautiful library, and I could definitely spend a whole day here if we had the time.
Alas, I’ve finished my delicious latte (coffee and tea are REALLY GOOD here), and it’s time to move on to the train station to get to the airport. Ireland has big shoes to fill. I adore Scotland and it’s people.
Glasgow Main Station to Dublin
We snagged the 11:30AM train to Ayr toward Prestwick Airport. At Glasgow Central there was a bro who was daytime drunk with an opened six-pack. He had four beers left, and was on at least pack number two based on the number of cans around him.
We quickly observed at Prestwick that it’s a RyanAir only airport. At the ticket counter there were no reps there to accommodate the growing line of people on the flight for about 15 minutes. :( Security at Prestwick is similar to the States. There were only two differences: 1) You can leave your shoes on, 2) They were pretty stringent about having both liquids from toiletries and “food stuffs” in a plastic baggie.
Waiting is by far my least favorite thing about travel. If I could, I would build a teleportation device to eliminate waiting at airports. Even then you’d have to wait for either weather or “the flux capacitor to reroute the mainframe’s encryption code.”
We landed in one piece in Dublin around 4PM. The flight only took about 40 minutes. We took a bus from the airport to Trinity College, and then walked about 10 minutes to St. Stephen’s Green, which reminded me of Times Square (filled with tourists and other folks). Many Americans saw my Tennessee volunteers shirt and immediately started talking to me. From St. Stephen’s Green we took the Luas tram to the Ranelagh neighborhood, where our host’s flat was.
It was a lovely home on a corner lot. This is by far the most luxurious spot we’ve been in. These guys are serious decorators. 5 stars! A+! Medal of Honor! Certificate of Achievement, etc.
Fred and Feargal gave us great recommendations for dinner, and we ended up walking down the street to a place called TriBeCa. After days of carefully budgeting, we totally splurged on dinner and dessert. Buffalo wings to share. Lisa ordered pasta with olives and tomatoes (blerg). I ordered mussels (Lisa said blerg). Raspberry soda. Lemonade. Sundaes for dessert. Amazing.
I woke up and did some light reading while Lisa slept. She was so excited by the comfy bed, and now I see why.
After departing the house around 10AM, we stopped at a café called Mima, right by the Luas tram, and enjoyed hot beverages and a muffin. Our first attraction of the day: The Little Museum of Dublin. It was fantastic. It has really sparked my interest in learning more about Irish history. It’s a great way to recognize that many of our perceptions of Ireland have been shaped via our (the United States’) relationship with the UK.
We ate a great lunch at Hatch and Sons, which was located right next door to The Little Museum. Ham cheddar sandwich with arugula. Chicken salad. The bun was baked fresh, as was the brown soda bread.
Next, we visited the Irish National Gallery. I learned that there are two artists with the last name Yeats, a painter, and a writer. Lisa enjoyed looking at Classical art. I still get guys like Renoir, Monet, Manet, Vermeer, and Picasso mixed up. I really like the “swirly” style by Monet. (As Lisa types this on Skylor’s behalf, she is shaking her head in mock disdain. Most of those artist’s come from totally different periods/styles, and that “swirly style” is Impressionism…the fast food of Art History).
Next, we went to a bookstore called Eason. It reminded us of Barnes and Noble. Lisa was on the hunt for some gifts. Now that we’re nearing the end of our trip, we have a bit left over to spend.
Our first bit of bad luck happened today. Ironically, in Ireland. We arrived at the Guinness Storehouse with plenty of money/time to indulge. We had added stress of jumping on buses trying to get there. Once we reached those delicious black gates, we were informed that they were closing early for a private event. To add salt to the wound, they gave us FREE VOUCHERS for the next day. Unfortunately, we had already booked and paid for our bus trip to Shannon in the morning, and would not have the opportunity to return. Womp, womp. Jim Joe.
We took it in stride (sort of), and headed back to the city center to totally be tourists. We stopped at a Starbucks for the wifi. Since this is Lisa typing on Skylor’s behalf, she would like to note that he was totally flirting with the barista because she upgraded his drink at no extra charge. ;) In all seriousness, we enjoyed our respite from all the adventures of the day.
Not only did we not have a pint of Guinness in Ireland, we didn’t have a pint AT ALL. Dinner time, and we pass by pub after pub without stopping. Finally, Lisa says “can we go to that Chinese place?” LOL. It was actually quite tasty, though your standard westernized Chinese food.
Skylor is asleep. He is so precious when he sleeps. I have to wake him up in a few minutes though. I love him so much.
We had a nice day in Dublin yesterday. I will journal more about it later. We have to get up and get ready for our long bus ride to Shannon today. Flying home tomorrow. :(