Friday, July 3, 2009

A Jet-Lagged Report on Day 1 in Ireland

It's hard to believe we landed here just 14 hours ago. John and I packed so much into our first day in Ireland, but the jet lag has seriously kicked in and we are fading fast. I'm uploading some pics from today to my Flickr photostream, so you can follow along here.

Getting to the Hotel
This was adventure in its self. Note to future Ireland travelers: you cannot get out of the airport with out cash (euro cash!). Eek! I really thought we'd be able to buy shuttle passes with a credit card, but noooo. Culture shock #1.

Then we had a hellava time finding the DART station because there are NO street signs and even if there were, places don't have addresses. No seriously, no addresses. You might get a street name (which won't be labeled), but no number. Culture shock #2. Everyone is really friendly and happy to give a hand, though which is nice. But Irish people can't give directions (might have something to do with the whole no street signs and no addresses thing) and in their minds everything, even a few blocks, is "a reeeeeeally long walk."

A REAL Irish Breakfast
We got a real taste of Ireland right off the bat by sharing a "Jumbo Breakfast" at a local pub. It included tea (for me) or coffee (for John) toast, fried egg, baked beans, mushrooms, sausage (a lot like little smokies), rashers (thick cut bacon), white and black pudding (not pudding at all! more like a cross between sausage and polletta), hash browns and fried tomatoes. See why we shared? It was all good, a little strange, but good. I have to say it was definitely meat overload for me, but a fun experience just the same.

Kilmainham Gaol
This stop was awesome! We had an amazing tour guide and she packed so much Irish history into this tour of the oldest jail in Ireland.

Dublin City Hall
We saw the beautiful rotunda and looked through an exhibit on the city's history. The highlight though was when we asked to see the Council Chambers, and we got a special sneek peek. John even sat in the Mayor's chair.

Dublin Castle
We weren't even planning to go here but we were on a roll and it was on the way. We miraculously snuck in with the very last tour of the day just as it was starting. Another stellar guide took us on a tour of this "castle" (technically not a castle anymore, long story with explosions!) that served as the Irish white house when the country was under British rule. It's still used for official state business.

Random Observations
There is no smoking in indoor public places, but everyone seems to smoke. I even saw a pregnant lady smoking. Culture Shock #3

Even though technically, they are speaking English, half the time I can't understand anything they say. Culture shock #4. John is doing a bit better and caching at least 2/3rds. After checking in we literally both looked to other and said did you understand anything she said? I'll never again get frustrated with a foreigner who just nods when they really don't understand you. Sometimes, it's just easier to figure it out later.

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