Well, the great trip to Ireland is under way, and except for some travel delays, and rain, all is going well.
We pulled up and loaded onto the motor coach a few minutes before 10, right on schedule Friday, and were off to pick up the Marietta group.
A side trip to Newport was a surprise, as one couple was to be picked up there. After some discussion, we persuaded the driver to keep going up Ohio Route 7 to the Pittsburgh airport instead of doubling back through the Reno construction just to pick up I-77 again. Though slower, it was shorter and we made it to the airport on schedule.
A flight delay out of Pittsburgh threatened our connection in Newark, NJ, but once again Holiday Vacations came through with a phone call to remind the airline that we had 42 people they'd have to put up if we missed the connection. A departure delay from 3:22pm to 6pm was suddenly changed and moved up to 4:30pm, which they made with record time. The storms over Newark had cleared, and we were routed in quickly.
After a six hour flight, we arrived about 6:30 a.m. Dublin time to steady rain, much to the displeasure of all who had to carry bags from the airport to the motor coach, but a little liquid sunshine never hurt anyone. Though we tried to sleep on the plane, few could, and we were weary while starting our tour of Dublin.
A high point was stopping at St. Patrick's church, where Jonathan Swift is entombed. Though we knew he had written "Gulliver's Travels" , he was a razor sharp satirist! Not all knew he was posted to St. Patrick's. The dark interior and expert guide were fascinating for all who followed in the echoing darkness. We had some time to ourselves to explore and found the National Art Gallery. An impressionist exhibit was leaving tomorrow, so we took advantage of the free admission and walked the galleries.
For lunch, some opted for an Irish breakfast ($5 in Euros, please, for 3 of 7 hot items!) while others had buttered scones and milk. For lunch, some sought out McDonald's or Burger King or Subway for a taste of home. But few could complain about the excellent accommodations at Dunsboyne Castle!
Sheila standing in the whispering arch doorway
Kirk standing before the High Celtic Cross
Kirk adding a coin to a donation dish while the wind is blowing.
We had our choice of four course meals, some opting for fish and chips, some for duck, some for boiled potatoes, and even more delicate specialties, but the food was excellent. A good night's sleep in a large bed and we're ready for breakfast and our next leg of the tour.
I'll try to post more later, but things will be staying on schedule now.
We're having a great time and wish you all could be here in the Emerald Isle!