Ireland Getaway 2014 Post: 1

Oh my goodness friends, there's so much to share!!! This trip was wonderful! It was in no way relaxing, (which is a bummer but there was so much to see!!) but it was exactly what we needed!

Where to begin? I kept a travel journal while we were there, but I'll only use it as a rough guide as it would be totally boring if I just transfered that over to here. It's still so very fresh in my memory and I'm excited to relive it through these blog posts. They will get too long if I do a day by day recap so instead I'll break it up into events or places, which ought to make it more exciting to read or at least easier to navigate if you don't want to read about every single thing we did.

Let's dive in!!

driving to LA. the last time we were well rested

4 am, not my favorite time to be up
let's go! 
Dublin or bust!

My least favorite part about traveling is well, the actual travel involved. I have never enjoyed flying- in fact it's one of my irrational phobias- and this trip was no exception. We were very fortunate going east that we had some good tailwinds, so we had smooth flights and arrived early at each of our destinations. Newark airport is nothing to write home about, but it was interesting to people watch and it was really interesting to experience the food court area of the terminal. I know that airport restaurants don't necessarily indicate the actual culture of a place, but I was kind of wowed by the weird selections of restaurants, and cafes. I know that Dunkin Donuts is popular back east, but I'm not entirely certain why- people rave about their coffee but it wasn't that good (according to my husband) and the man working the counter had no idea what soy milk was when I asked. I'm lactose intolerant so I'm basically stuck with soy, coconut or almond milk from here to eternity so it was disappointing to know that I couldn't partake in a much needed caffeine boost. This, my friends is when I realized I was definitely not in Kansas anymore. (a little side note here: soy milk was available everywhere in Ireland so I got to indulge my latte obsession freely once in the Emerald Isle.) The other thing I found weird on the coffee front- Juan Valdez cafes- yes that Juan Valdez of  grocery store instant coffee fame. I never thought I'd see a cafe celebrating instant coffee.

airport chillaxin'

Onward to Ireland and our flight was full and cramped. I was shocked to see how small the plane was. I have done a few international flights and I've never been on a plane so small going overseas. It was no  bigger than the domestic flight. Such a disappointment. Fortunately the passenger sitting next to me kept to himself and didn't need to get up very often. I was going completely on adrenaline and didn't sleep a wink the whole flight- I wasn't even tired.

We landed in Ireland early which was a blessing and a curse. I was so happy to be off that plane but arriving early meant that we had even more time to kill before we could check into our hotel. We called them from the airport to ask if we could check in early and they said no, although they did tell us to come to the hotel and drop off our luggage. I was fully prepared to hit the ground running and start sightseeing at 8 am, because what else were we supposed to do?!

Dublin airport

waiting for the bus and FREEZING! Oh and it's morning but black as night!

We grabbed the bus to the City Centre which landed us directly across the street from our hotel! What luck!! Our hotel was perfectly located. Just across the street from Christchurch Cathedral, on the edge of Temple Bar and walking distance to every Dublin attraction, (expect perhaps the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery- which we did walk to but I think the average person wouldn't.) I would stay at the Harding Hotel again in a heartbeat and I absolutely recommend it to anyone considering going to Dublin.

view of Harding Hotel (left side of photo) from the archway of Christchurch Cathedral
This is where I would like to give Harding Hotel a virtual high five!! We walked into reception to leave our bags and the front desk clerk didn't miss a beat and told us we were welcome to go up to our room immediately. I wanted to kiss the woman! Supposedly to help stave off jetlag you're meant to stay up until a normal time locally, so we were going to try our hardest to make it until at least 5pm. Well, it didn't happen folks. We promptly fell on the bed and napped for an hour. We woke up a little more refreshed and decided it was time to jump in and explore Dublin.

First thing we did was skip across the street from the hotel to Christchurch Cathedral. As I said, our hotel really is at the center of it all on one of the main streets in the City Centre.

archway into Christchurch Cathedral

Christchurch Cathedral. Gargoyle rain gutter

Christchurch Cathedral
We didn't go inside the cathedral because a service was going on and we didn't want to disturb it, so we decided to hoof it on down the main street to Trinity College. A word to the wise: Irish streets can change names willy nilly in the middle of a block and you haven't even turned a corner. The main road past Christchurch Cathedral for instance is Lord Edward Street, Dame Street and College Green all rolled into one. And that is just the 3 blocks from our hotel. It can be confusing. Oh and they're long city blocks too- it was quite the trek from Christchurch Cathedral to Trinity College but well worth the walk. Dublin is a city to love but best loved from a pedestrian point of view- it is made for walking and wandering!

Next post: our experience at Trinity College, The Book of Kells, The Long Room (library) and our evening stroll through Dublin- all in the first day!!


  1. Really enjoyed reading this - well written and loved the photos as its been a few years since I visited Dublin.

  2. Great stuff Leah- Next time we hit Old Blighty we'll stop in and see Dublin too. I wish to make a pilgrimage to the Guiness Factory. -John Loey's husband

    1. Hi John!!! Yes, it's definitely worth a visit!! Dublin has become one of my favorite cities, right up there with San Francisco! Everyone needs to get a Guinness straight from the source at least once in their life, right?! Please, tell Loey I said hello!!!


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