Dublin and Homeward Bound, August 9-12, WTRD 64-67
Our last days on our 2018 Travels were in Dublin, Ireland. We arrived late in the day on August 9.
We enjoyed our time here as much as we could given that we are not really into big cities. Our AirBnB accommodations were within a 15-20 minute walk to the downtown area from the two bedroom apartment. We had our bedroom, private bath, and could use the kitchen and living area.
We stayed with a delightful young refugee/immigrant couple originally from Venezuela, making ends meet by hosting travelers. They are starting a new life in Ireland having arrived here a few years ago with just their two suitcases, leaving friends and family behind, and with limited English language skills.
|Caro and Ren|
Both are college graduates working temporarily in jobs unrelated to their professions. There was no transitional assistance from the Irish government to help them get settled. The couple are hopeful now that they have decided to stay in Ireland permanently that they will find jobs better suited to their training, and eventually help members of their family immigrate. They have positive attitudes. We admire their courage and spirit of adventure.
Our first full day on Friday, August 10, was to have a leisurely morning, then get a hop on hop off double-decker open air bus. We hopped on the bus at 11:00 with our picnic lunch and stayed on until the end of the 90 minute tour in and about the city seeing the sights, hopping off only once where we had started.
|Dublin Conference Center|
|The taller and more ornate entry staircase symbolized wealth and status.|
|Sculpture of Oscar Wilde "Be yourself, everyone else is taken."|
We sat outside in the sometime sunny, sometime sprinkling weather enjoying the sights and eating our lunch. Since we had not been here for 47 years, it was all "new" to us.
When we finished the tour we walked back toward the the Harp Bridge, EPIC Emigration Experience and Irish Family History Center.
We planned to see both and bought one dual ticket as Russ is not so much into the research.
I wanted to start in the Research Cente, so Russ was on his own for a couple of hours browsing exhibits and the neighborhood, while I conducted an electronic search for ancestors from Ireland until just before the center closed at 5:00 pm. Interesting, but unfortunately, I already knew what I previously known about the Power and Flynn side of Russ's family, and the Flack side of my family. The trails prior to 1840 are thin or have been destroyed by fire or politics. Sigh! I guess some mysteries will never be solved.
The genealogy specialist who helped me, suggested examining baptismal records in the counties from where I think ancestors came, church by church. He said I would have better luck with protestant records because Catholic records are apparently kept very private. Hmmm? Don't think I'll be coming back to go church by church. But I did get some links though and access to a data base for four weeks that might help with more online research. We will need to come back tomorrow to see the Museum.
It is after 5:00, and we decide to walk into town to the Belvedere Hotel where we have dinner/show (Irish step dance and music) reservations at 7:00 pm. We arrive early and relax in the bar with a drink. Then we feast, sing, laugh, and celebrate Ireland by enjoying the music and dance.
We hail a taxi, and get driven home by a Cameroon Immigrant. He tells us how expensive Ireland has become, and while he is not a big fan of AirBnB that has driven land owners to gain more profit through short-term tourist rentals than, long-term local rentals reducing rental availability and rent upwards, he is happy to hear that we are staying with an immigrant family through AirBnB allowing them to earn additional income.
Saturday, August 11, 2018
Today at 2:30 we have pre-booked a tour of the Guinness Storehouse, so the rest of the day will have to sort itself out around that booking. We think we can do it all in the morning and wind up at Guinness (saving the best for last), but as it turns out we spend most of our morning packing for our departure tomorrow, and visiting a REPLICA of one the emigrant ships that transported people out of Ireland around noon, touring Guinness at 2:00, and returning to the EPIC late in the afternoon and staying until it closed at 7:00 pm.
|Jeanie Johnston didn't lose a single passenger, in fact there was one gain.|
|Close proximity of people on these ships caused spread of infectious diseases.|
Most of the ships out of Ireland during this period were called "coffin" ships because so many people died along the way of disease and illness or the derelict ships sank. The Jeanie Johnston was one of the tall ships that never lost a person. Our tour lasted for an hour and was very interesting. If your ancestors came from Ireland in one of these ships, you come from a hardy, determined gene pool of survivors.
After our tour of the ship, we ate lunch in a local cafe then boarded the tram to Guinness. We got there before our appointed time, but it didn't matter as the tour is basically self-guided and start times are basically monitoring the flow of tourists through the halls of Guinness history and brewing process. With our online ticket though we bypassed a long line of people waiting to get in who had not pre-booked.
|It's the Mountain Water...or is it the yeast, or perfect roasting of the hops?|
|We love the rich roasted tasted and the creamy head of 30 million bubbles in each pint.|
|How to correctly pour a Guinness.|
We wound are way through and up the massive structure, passing through exhibits, sculptures, videos, tasting and performance halls, until we reached the top level bar with great views of Dublin and a pint of Guinness. What can I say? mmmmmm! Slainte! (To your health) in Irish/Gaelic.
As it turned out, we did save the best for last. The EPIC Emigrant Experience, founded by Neville Isdell, former Chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company is definitely a 5 star must do in Dublin. The underground storage caves, in close proximity to the Customs House and across from the docks, have been repurposed for this fascinating electronic experience that introduces visitors on a personal level with Irish people of the past.
We really enjoyed the experience and it was a great way to bookend our 2018 journey to Europe.
When we returned to our accommodations, we visited with our hosts, ate some dinner, and turned in early. We plan to leave at 5:30 am to return Avis car to Dublin airport and catch our flight home to San Francisco via Heathrow.
Sunday, August 12, 2018 - Homeward Bound
It's going to be a long day as we travel westward and chase the sun to California. All of our travel went without a hitch. We flew from Dublin to Heathrow on Air Lingus and from Heathrow to SFO on Virgin Airlines 787 the Queen Bee.
It was the first time we have flown either of these airlines, both were good. We booked economy plus (premium) seats on Virgin and were treated very well during our trans Atlantic flight. The seats were comfortable, the food was good, and I was able to binge watch three movies while Russ read and slept.
We met one couple from Minnesota, traveling with us from Dublin to Heathrow and they were wondering what our reception was like as Americans on our travels in the UK given the adversarial/controversial nature of our current president and administration. We told them that everywhere we went, we did not meet one person that held that against us, in fact all commiserated and sympathized with us. They had spent a few days in Dublin and said that even in the few days they had been in Ireland, they felt safer than they did at home when discussing the state of America.
We arrived in SFO at 2:30, collected our luggage, bypassed the hoards at passport control with our Global Entry card, took the air train to the rental car terminal, settled ourselves in a right side drive vehicle again, and got into a freeway jam of stop and go all the way across the Bay Bridge. We got a long, long look of the changing skyline of San Francisco, arriving on the east side of the bay about 5:00 pm!
Our geocache in Emeryville needed some maintenance, so we stopped by their to stretch our legs and reside a new cache, stopped just outside of Davis for dinner and some shopping for breakfast supplies. We are struck by how dry and brown everything is. When it happens gradually over the course of the spring to summer, we get used to it, but after being away from California all summer and in rainy green Scotland and Ireland, it is a stark contrast. We arrive home in Colfax by 8:30 and in our own bed by 9:30! Sleep after 25 hours awake is most welcome.
Our next adventure is Africa in 2019. Until then, (or earlier if a serendipitous travel Comes our way), we are signing off.
All is Well with the Worrall Travel R's at Home in California.