The Winged Wayfarer Flies Across the Pond (Dublin, Ireland)

When I {interviewed to be a flight attendant} a little over a year ago, I had one cherished dream in my heart: to visit Europe.

Sure I wanted to travel the world, but I really wanted to traipse along some cobble-stone streets, drive on the wrong side of the road, visit ancient castles, eat some fish and chips and gawk at adorable accents. Ever since I was a kid and dreamed of being Princess Diana’s BFF, I wanted to see what life was like in Europe.

Now, I know my readers who are more seasoned travelers are probably rolling their eyes at my naiveté about the continent, but humor me will ya? It’s what I wanted.

I have a {friend}who makes it a point to travel to every country she can fit a stamp on her passport with, and she’s content to sleep on the floor, at a stranger’s home in a 3rd world country all for the sake of adventure but….not me. Sorry if that’s a disappointment, but this gal enjoys her first world comforts.

I digress.

Unfortunately, Charlotte doesn’t have a whole lot of international destinations (as opposed to my classmates who went to be stationed in Philly and are ‘across the pond’ all the time) so a year into the job and I still haven’t gotten to work an overseas trip past the Caribbean. The scheduling gods have yet to bless me with a coveted European overnight, and I was getting impatient.

So, my roommate Belle and I decided to take it into our own hands to skirt about the Emerald Isle together. Our vacation time this year overlapped, and it seemed like serendipity had chosen for us to travel abroad in tandem.

(For those of you asking why Darcy didn’t accompany us this time, something unexpected came up, and he and I are planning a trip this coming March.)

As for why we chose Ireland, as opposed to dozens of other possible European stops, there are a few reasons. For one, its only about $40 to fly out of Ireland (duty tax) and about $200 or so to fly out of the UK. Considering an extra $160 was a considerable chunk of my travel budget, we went with Ireland. Also, as much as I wanted to see London, Belle had just been there a few months back. It’s called compromise, folks.

I’ve been thinking for awhile on just how I want to write this post, because its pretty substantial. We spent 4 days in Ireland and a helluva lot happened. The best I can do, given that I have waaay more photos than anecdotes, is to narrate a photo time line. I’m pretty proud of how faithfully I took pictures of things and people and places that interested me, so we’ll start at the beginning and move forward.

On the flight from Charlotte to Philly, we were on an A330 (one of the biggest planes in our fleet). It was next to empty, because it was a 7:30 flight from Charlotte. We got to spread out and enjoy the luxury of this brand spankin’ new bird.
Speaking of enjoying myself, one of the flight attendants brought me some cranberry and vodka. *Perfect* for studying Anatomy and Physiology on the way over.

 

Once we arrived in Philly, our friends Mandy and Tim (who were in our flight attendant graduating class) took us out to get some Vietnamese at this little hole-in-the-wall. They had the freshest/best pho I’ve ever tasted!

 

Nom, nom nom, nom
Ironically, on the flight to Dublin, we were on a much smaller plane. Still, we got a whole row to ourselves and so I spread out and fell asleep for about 4 hours of the 6 hour flight. Belle wasn’t so lucky. She stayed up the entire time planning/talking to locals. Figures.

 

When we got to the Dublin airport, I was shocked that they were playing American music! REM’s “Man on the Moon” was playing, and I knew instantly that Ireland and I would be friends. Here is my first batch of Euros. It’s way cheaper to take out a bunch of Euros and incur a one-time ATM fee than to use my debit card and get pinged with fees every. single. time. So I carried around a stack of paper.

 

The front entrance of{ our hostel.} It was amazing and I’d recommend it to any weary traveler. Very comfortable, friendly and plenty of amenities. More on this later.

 

My first impression of Isaac’s was that it was cozy and smelled like toast. This happened to be because they have free toast, coffee and juice for breakfast every morning. Our flight got in around 7 am, so we were eaaaarly. Belle is already researching our plans for the day as you can see. Without international cell phone coverage (which would pillage our bank accounts nicely) we had to use the wifi to access the internet. praise be for free wifi!

 

Alternate view of the hostel: so friendly! It’s an excellent way to save money, and meet fellow travelers from all over the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A theme I noticed in Dublin. They are not afraid to experiment with color in their buildings. So pretty!
You can tell there’s a bit of a time period difference between when these 3 buildings were erected.

 

the remains of a middle ages church. It was so funny because we have absolutely nothing from the 1100′s in America. a building from the 1700′s is like….whoa, thats ancient. But in Ireland, that would be a fairly recent piece of architecture.

 

 

 

I’ll never forget the streets of Dublin. So perfectly European.

 

Even the graffiti is interesting. I love the skull head saying ‘no worries’.

 

The ever trendy hipster Temple Bar neighborhood.

 

The Ha’penny bridge. It’s a tradition to get a padlock, write the names of you and your love on it and then attach it to the bridge. You then throw away the key and kiss. It’s sort of a “love commitment” thing. Our guide joked that it would be wiser to have one with a combination lock…..just incase things don’t work out.

 

Queen’s College.

 

Interestingly, it’s a great deal cheaper to go to college in Ireland (5,000 Euro!), and a bachelor’s degree takes only 2 years to get. No matter what you do. Attendance/graduation is based on grades only.

 

Our walking tour ended up at this park where we hung out with some swans.

 

It would have been so romantic to have a special someone here with me ;)

 

downtown Dublin. No skyscrapers, no giant illuminated billboards. Just good times.

 

Apparently that big pointy thing in the background is called the Spire. It’s a fairly recent addition and the townsfolk make fun of it all the time. Helps drunk people navigate their way back home, so I’ve heard. ;)

 

I’m so glad I took a picture of our hostel room, because its hard to picture otherwise. Line after line of bunk beds shared with complete strangers. At first it was kind of intimidating, because, as anyone who knows me is aware, I like my private space and alone time. But after awhile, you sort of forget there are dozens of other people using the same area as you and its cool. All our stuff was kept in a secure locker downstairs (unlike these more trusting people in the photo) so we didn’t have to worry about someone pinching our belongings. Considering that you’re getting a warm bed, breakfast, wifi, hot showers and helpful staff for only around 10-15 Euro a night, its a good deal!

 

it would seem this bar welcomes international travelers as well!

 

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The lovely local bar where we listened to live music, drank some Guiness and I got to have some legit European fish and chips!

 

I kept passing this and cracking up. The Reddit alien in Dublin, yo!

 

King John’s castle. yes, the one from Robin Hood!

 

The cliffs of Moher at last! One of the most beautiful places in the world, and here I was at last.

 

overlooking the cliffs

 

No matter which direction you look, Ireland is absolutely beautiful.

 

 

the legend goes that a nobleman built this tower to impress the ladies and show them the cliffs. Very smoothe, bro.

 

 

I wanted to go inside but it seemed to be roped off.
probably some of the most stunning pictures I have ever taken. Really is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

 

I’m queen of the woooooooorld!

 

LOOK MOM! I’M IN EUROPE!

 

The gift shops were actually underground in one of the hills. So cool! It was like a hobbit town!

 

You can’t really tell from a still photograph but it was so windy/rainy I almost got knocked over several times.

 

 

No matter which end of it you look at, Ireland is some beautiful country.

 

stopping into a local pub to get some hard cider and Cottage Pie. It was completely delicious.

 

looking off into the Irish sea! I kept my distance because the waves howled against the cliffs and it got you pretty wet really fast. Considering it was a nippy 50 degrees, I decided to watch from afar and appreciate the view just as much.

 

 

 

some lovely Irish cows. Not a bad life, eh?

 

Some Irish fisherman in their wooden boats at a tiny village we stopped in. Doing what their father and grandfathers and great-grandfathers probably did before them. I love that Ireland has such pride in their culture and heritage. They don’t seem to be in any hurry to change either.

 

No matter where I go, I am always happiest when my plane lands back here. Good old Chattanooga TN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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