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Ireland baby!

IRELAND | Wednesday, 29 April 2009 | Views [293]

Dublin is 5.5 hours from New York – it takes longer to get from Melbs to Perth! Our pilot on Aer Lingus did a great job catching up for lost time and getting us to our connection in Shannon, on the west coast of Ireland, for the 30 min flight to Dublin.

I literally drooled over the scenery as we flew in, the landscape was incredibly beautiful – like a whole new shade of green. Despite seeing vast changes in the landscape across Canada (snow and mountains in the west, hot flat praries in the interior and farmland/great Lakes in the east) Canada has nothing as lush and beautiful as Ireland. Andrew got very excited as we approached immigration, where he whipped out his never-been-used Maltese passport and skipped over to the ‘EU citizens’ line. He grinned like mad as he waited for me to pass through the slower ‘foreigner’ line…. He is so cheeky.

The character-filled streets of Dublin

So there we were in Dublin with 2 nights to fill in and a strict budget to keep to… not an easy task considering how amazingly expensive Dublin can be! But we had a nice hotel, kept the food simple and used our feet and our eyes, rather then our wallets, to explore the city.

Andrew looking very patriotic in the rain thanks to Marions Aussie gifts!

There is a fair bit to see and do in Dublin and we had a great day seeing the city, university grounds and visiting the Archeological museum. Afterwards we strolled through Temple Bar and relaxed in one of the busier pubs (where we drank a mandatory pint of Guinness, we are in Ireland after all!). Temple Bar really cemented our ideas of Ireland as a nation of drinkers when a man was literally dragged legless from a pub and left lying in the streets…. At 5pm in the afternoon! We roared with laughter.

No visit to Dublin is complete without a pint of Guinness!

The following day we went to another museum, this one dedicated to Ireland’s wartime history and located in a brilliant Barracks. We skipped the Guinness Factory Tour and instead spent the remainder of the day on a trip to Howth, a fishing village about 30 minutes up the coast on the DART train line. It was a beautiful spot to wander around and at one point we took a muddy little track and ended up quite lost in a farmers field in the middle of nowhere! It had stunning views but I am not sure the horses inhabiting the fields were too happy with us! We snuck through the fence and several fields later found the road back to town. It was a fun afternoon.

Unfortunately the problem with cheap flights is that they are never the most convenient. We had to leave Dublin early in the morning to catch a very short British Midland flight to Heathrow and then transfer over to Gatwick airport for our connection to Malta Airlines. I swear the Airports in London are colluding to make as many people as possible need to transfer airports because the Airport buses make a fortune! We had to get some pounds from the ATM to pay for the ridiculous 1 hour bus ride (about AUD$100), and then found ourselves with nothing to do in Gatwick for several hours. We would have gone into London for the day but our budget didn’t stretch that far! Oh well, there is always next time!

Lost in the fields overlooking Howth

Despite being in the airport all day we had fun drinking coffee and having endless chess wars (I win a fair amount of our games now!) and then got on our flight to Malta. We got a very clear night and the highlight was being able to clearly spot the Eiffel Tower, despite the endless sprawling lights of Paris, as we flew over. We flew into Luqa just after midnight and got through customs in a flash (Andrew getting very excited, this time using the ‘citizens’ line) and caught a taxi to our hotel in Sliema, right on the northern coast of Malta, overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

Howth Harbour

Tags: dublin, howth, ireland


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