Gallery » EUROPE/AFRICA/ MIDDLE EAST » Round the World 2019 - Europe » Ireland 2019
Sat, 20 July: We arrived in Dublin from Helsinki, claimed our luggage and had to wait only briefly before a Crowne Plaza bus arrived to take us to the hotel. We were relaxing in the Club Lounge over a glass of red wine when we received text messages from Marc and Renee advising us that they too had arrived in Dublin. We’ll be meeting them tomorrow to begin celebrating Marc’s 70th birthday.
Sun, 21 July: We had a leisurely breakfast at the Club Lounge and, yes, Ed found some delicious smoked salmon. We then did a few business chores, etc. before returning to the airport to meet Marc & Renee and pick up our rental car. It was a very tight bit but Renee and Marc were able to squeeze into the back of our Corsica Opal with one of their bags. Then, we were off to Lough Rynn Castle, our home for the next two nights.
The drive was relatively easy albeit a bit crazy on the motorways. Lindy did manage to miss a turn but Marc had his phone on and quickly got us back on route. The travel app took us on the shortest route to the Castle so at the end we were on a one-lane road with a canopy of trees overhead. It was raining lightly but thankfully other drivers were careful as we had to find places to pass two vehicles. It all worked out and we pulled into the Castle near 3:00PM.
We quickly unloaded with the assistance of a young, strong bellhop and were shown to our upstairs rooms. We agreed to meet for tea at 4:30PM. It was an amazing spread! We enjoyed the delicious sandwiches and sweets over a two hour period. Since it was raining heavily, we toured the inside of the Castle. The rooms and furnishings were amazing! Near 7:00PM we settled into the bar and Johnny, a manager and barkeep, told us about the various beers on tap. Ed and Marc enjoyed a pint while Lindy and Renee enjoyed a half-pint (proper ladies indeed). Afterwards, we went our separate ways for the balance of the evening.
Mon, 22 July: Happy birthday, Marc! We began our day by meeting for breakfast at 9:30AM. Again, it was as delicious and huge as was the prior afternoon’s tea. Definitely no lunch needed today. We then decided to go explore the village of Carrick-on-Shannon. It was a lovely village that offered a bit of shopping and two amazing churches. Interestingly, there was a funeral underway when we first arrived at St. Mary’s Church. When we were photographing St. George’s Church, a docent told us that a traditional funeral procession would begin down the street. It turned out to be interesting indeed. Evidently, the deceased was part of a group of individuals who often live in caravans (campers). So, the procession was led by two young men holding a sign reading “Ya Hound’s Bastard”. Next came a man playing the Irish bagpipes. Finally, the body passed via a carriage drawn by four horses. Then funeral attendees followed. They were definitely a bunch that you typically wouldn’t see at most funerals – leather pants on the ladies and other attire generally not acceptable at a funeral. Anyway, it was interesting to see and when we returned to the Castle we were told that most of the pubs in the town had closed to avoid any incidents. Interestingly, when the funeral was underway there were groups of men outside the Church passing bottles of clear liquid and we don’t think it was water.
We returned to the hotel and agreed to meet at the bar at 6:30P to begin Marc’s birthday celebration. Wow, happy 70th Marc!! Renee was a bit delayed so the three of us enjoyed a cocktail although it took a bit for Marc to get his birthday martini (eventually Johnny came to the rescue). When Renee arrived, we began the festivities. We gave Marc a card and a cute “Happy Drinking Day” green t-shirt for St. Patrick’s Day. Then, we had him open a real gift – a lamb’s wool scarf we purchased from McDermott of Ireland which was shipped to us at home and then carried back to Ireland for the big celebration.
We had a 7:30P dinner reservation and it was once again a feast. Thanks to Johnny, we began our evening with a glass of bubbly; a wonderful gesture! Then Renee had identical cards for each of Marc and Ed. The card was brilliant! We enjoyed our wonderful dinner with a delicious bottle of red wine. Afterwards we returned to the bar so that Renee could get some photographs of Marc and Ed with their cigars (actually chocolate cigars). However, Marc wanted to enjoy a real cigar so he and Renee went outside to enjoy the crisp evening air. We retired for the night.
Tue, 23 July: On our final morning at the Castle, Ed and I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast. Marc joined us for coffee but Renee abstained and took time to repack. We left the Castle at 10:30A after enjoying such a wonderful time together. The ride back was uneventful (no getting lost in Dublin). We arrived at the airport at 12:30P and dropped off Marc and Renee so that they could catch a taxi back to Dublin to enjoy two final nights there. We then put petrol in the car and returned it to Budget. Afterwards we got a lift to the main airport buildings where we subsequently caught a shuttle to the Crowne Plaza Northwood. We enjoyed a nice walk in the park and then a relaxing evening.
Wed, 24 July: We enjoyed breakfast and then arranged to stay in the Club Lounge till 3:00P at which time we took a shuttle back to Terminal 1. We quickly checked in with Finnair for our evening flight back to Helsinki. We enjoyed it thoroughly and arrived in Finland at 11:00P spending a night there before heading to Vienna the following day.