Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life-and travel-leaves marks on you.
----Anthony Bourdain

Monday, May 20, 2024

Ireland 2024 Introduction

New adventures await as "Lost Mary"! I'm not wasting any time making good on my promise to Robert to travel. My first big trip without Robert was to Ireland. Where else would I choose to go? I have such good memories of our trip in 2022

If my memory serves correctly (and events around that time are admittedly a little fuzzy), just before Robert's passing I was texting with a couple of my sisters when we concocted the idea of going somewhere. One of my sisters mentioned Hawaii and I said, "What about Ireland?" And there we were. My Cooper SIL had a tour reserved with Vagabond and Driftwood Tours of Ireland in 2023 but had to cancel so she had credit she needed to use before August 2024. I suggested Driftwood to my sisters, we picked a date and started planning. I decided to stay another week after our 6-day Great Southern Tour so my SIL made plans to meet me and go on another tour with me. 

We had decisions to make, the first one being which Driftwood Tour to take. The one we wanted was full for the date we wanted so we chose the Great Southern Tour. Robert & I visited some of the places but I was definitely okay with revisiting, and there were plenty of places we didn't see. 

The next big decision was the airline to use. A couple of my sisters were insistent on Delta, so that was our airline. I will say that it was a good decision, although I was a little skeptical at first. They were right on time and didn't change our flight at the last minute (like the airline my SIL used). We flew from our home airport to Atlanta, then to Dublin. We had a long layover in ATL but it turned out to be nice having that extra time. We walked the 2 concourses since we had plenty of time and weren't stressed at all. 

3 of us flew into ATL on the same plane; we met up with the other sister at the gate

When we got into Dublin, going through Border Control was a breeze. The past 2 times I've visited Ireland, the line was long although it moved quickly. It may have been the airline I used in the past; Delta seemed to arrive at a time when no other flights came in. I don't know if it was a fluke or if it's always like this...I'll find out next time! Once we were in the country, we easily found the baggage claim and the taxi queue without any trouble.

Since we arrived in the morning (before 9:00), 1 of my sisters arranged for early check-in at the hotel for 2 rooms. The hotel had 1 room ready which was fine; we just needed somewhere to rest for a bit before we went to City Centre. The room was handicap accessible which turned out to be pretty nice. We took a cab to The Long Hall pub, but they don't serve food. It was lunch time so we needed to find something to eat. We were directed to The Hairy Lemon (where I had the worst Irish Coffee last time). I don't know if it was the food I had on the plane or if it was just that I was so tired (I can't sleep on planes), I couldn't eat much and wasn't feeling well. We had lunch, then walked around to find Trinity College.

Waiting for our food (and trying to stay awake) at the Hairy Lemon

The Hairy Lemon is much larger than I thought it was. When we were there with friends last time, we only went into the room directly in the back as you come in, and upstairs to the toilet. This time, we were in a different area and found at least one other lounge area upstairs. 

We had a heck of a time figuring out how to get into the College. There was a lot of construction going on so my thought was that they were trying to keep people from cutting through the college. We got in and found the Book of Kells. One of my sisters wanted to go in and I wanted the other 2 to see the Library. But, there was no way to only go to the library so we opted to wait for our sister to go through. It was a good thing we did; she said that the library is about to close for 2 years due to extensive renovations. A lot of the books had already been taken out so we would have been very disappointed if we went through.

Shortly after that we decided to go back to the hotel. 2 of us gave up and crawled into bed, I'm not sure what the other 2 did; I think they went to the bar. After a couple of hours, I was ready to go. We went downstairs to the hotel restaurant only to find the bar and restaurant packed. A Rugby Tournament was going on and the hotel was down the street from the arena. Apparently, this was a great place for people to stop off for a bit to eat and drink before heading to the stadium. As we were sitting at a table, my sisters were able to witness firsthand "flirty Irishmen": A man was selling Leinster paraphernalia who came into the restaurant. 1 sister bought a scarf and 1 had her picture taken with him. It was just a sign of things to come!

A round of Guiness Beef Stew to go with our pints of Guiness

What I Learned So Far

1. Arrive at least 1-2 days ahead of time. This time, it would have been nice to have had a day to acclimate myself and not be so tired from the trip over. 
2. Don't use the FreeNow App for using an Uber. My sister used this on our trip to City Centre and there is a surcharge just for using the app. On the way back to the hotel we used an Uber but one stopped as we were looking for a place to hail a cab. We weren't charged a surcharge.
3. Don't forget to take pictures! I can't believe that this was the second time I went to the Long Hall Pub and didn't take a picture. 
4. Make sure you have a decent length layover for your connecting flight to Dublin. Even though Atlanta is a big airport and has a train to take you to other concourses, it wasn't that big of a deal to walk. I would do it if I was pressed for time, but knowing we had hours before we boarded, we were able to leisurely walk to the gate.

Check in often for more "Lost Mary" Adventures!


  1. May your new adventures fill your heart with happiness, joy and peace.♥️

  2. Happy trails on your adventures! ♥️

  3. Mary, enjoy life and keep blogging your trips! ❤️

  4. Having a day to acclimate is such good advice!


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