05 June – Wednesday
We fly out at 17.45, so we check out after breakfast, store our bags and head off to the beach, not that we can swim, too much faffing around with wet gear. Mind you, once we get there we wish we had bothered. We waded out as far as we could without getting clothes too wet, and then went and sat on the rocks while wee fish nibbled at our feet. We were amazed that they were happy to come so close to us. We grab a couple of souvenirs for Suzanne – seahorses of course.
We take the bus to the airport, €10 again. We repack the bags at the airport, we need 20kg in each of the large packs, and the cabin bags can be two x 10kg, and two that will fit under the seat in front.
We check in our bags, and check the weight of cabin bags, everything is under the max weight. Yippee. We head upstairs to go through security, and Tony notices that the staff at check-in didn’t stamp the visa check confirmation. We need this done before we can go through security, so we are lucky we realised in time. Back down stairs to wait in the queue at check-in, again. We get to the counter and the staff member asks who checked us in, and goes to talk to her. They apologise and tell us to go to another counter (and another queue), and retain the luggage tags until we have done that. The visa check goes well once we finally get to the counter, and as we turn back to rejoin the queue at check-in, one of the staff sees that we have been processed, and brings the luggage tags over to us so we don’t have to wait in the queue again. Once more we are pleased we arrived with plenty of time to spare.
Security is quick and easy, and we head for the gate after grabbing a coffee and sandwich. The plane is delayed, we a75 minutes late leaving. We have priority boarding, and we are pleased to see that not only are there two queues, but also that they are strict about boarding protocol, directing those who “accidentally” got into the wrong queue to where they should be. We are directed down a set of stairs, and wait, and wait… many left standing in the stairwell. We are bussed to the plane, and after a wait in the queue (a plane leaves every 90 seconds at the moment), we are away just after 7pm. It was a smooth flight, just under three hours, arriving around 9pm (because the clocks changed by an hour).
Dublin airport had a lot of walking, but not as much as some we had been too. Immigration was quick and easy, we were asked how long we would be here, and where we were going. The airport bus, a number 474, into town was €14! We are dropped off a few metre from our hotel, around 10pm. It is still light here, being “summer”, not that the temperature feels like it. Around 9 degrees, but at least it is dry.
Four Courts Hostel is quite good, we got a warm welcome, and taken to our room, a six-bed dorm on the street front, so it might be a bit noisy. The guys in the dorm next door are making a racket, and hostel staff come and tell them to shut up before we have a chance to complain. Good to see that they are on top of it. We are not long getting to bed tonight. The bunks are good and solid, sturdy enough not to creak with every movement, and under the bottom bunks are two lockable cages to store small bags and miscellaneous bits. €84/$145 for two nights, including breakfast. We walked around 9km today.
06 June – Thursday
We had a good sleep, and after breakfast head out to explore Dublin. It is a nice day, cloudy, but dry, and although it is not as hot as we had been having, it is not as cold feeling as we thought it might be. We had seen a lot of Dublin on our last trip, so we felt we didn’t need to revisit any of the touristy spots again. We walked down to the train station and bought sail and rail tickets to get to Inverness next week. It was a bargain - €97 ($164) for both of us to sail from Dublin to Holyhead in Wales, and then take the train through to Inverness. Tony was told it was an open ticket for travel on the 12th, but we wanted to take the last ferry, and that did not arrive in Wales until the 13th. Despite assurances from the staff at the ticket office, Tony was not convinced that he could get on the ferry he wanted, nor that we could use the train ticket later that day. He emailed Irish Ferries, and was given a booking for the final sailing, and had written confirmation that the train ticket was valid for the 13th. Back at the hostel we booked a bed for the 11th, just in case the beds sold out (Booking.com was already booked out). Tony tried to book the bus tickets for tomorrow, it was a bit of a mission to tee-up everything with connecting timetables (it was a lot cheaper to buy return tickets). He bought the tickets from Cork to Kinsale, €30 ($53) return. Then he booked the express coach Dublin to Cork – well that was the intention. After going all through the process he gets to the payment, and it is declined…. Because you cannot book for the next day after 5pm. FFS. Why didn’t they say that at the beginning of the process when he chose the day/time of travel. He searched on line and could not find any other option, so it was basically wait-and-see. We just hoped that there would be seats on a bus before 2pm, and decided we would phone the bus company in the morning. At least there was one every hour.
We headed out to the area where we stayed last time we were here, past Christ Church cathedral and then headed for the Temple Bar area. What a surprise to find an Irish Bar, playing Irish music, and serving Guinness. So of course we had to call in. it was pretty packed, but we found room at the back of the bar, and ordered drinks. Hot food was finished, so we had to just settle for a Guinness or two, or three, instead. We met a lovely couple from Cincinnati, and had a great night.
About 8km walked today by the time we wandered back to the hostel.