Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ireland Revisited: Dazed in Dublin

Day 1 of 35: Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Rushing to Dublin at dawn. According to the cool screen in front of my seat, our land speed shortly before this photo was taken was 695mph (assisted by a 170mph tailwind), the fastest I've ever known I've been moving.

Sleepless but excited, we arrived at the Dublin airport at a little before 8am, local time. That's about the same time of day and exactly the same condition we had arrived four years earlier, and we faced the same problem: we wouldn't be able to check in to our hotel until mid-afternoon.

Dublin Airport's new Terminal 2, nearing completion in August, 2010. It's impressive and award-winning -- but, unlike the old terminal, it wasn't engineered by the Chieftains' original flautist.

The way we handled the issue on the previous trip was straightforward if not elegant. We went directly to the hotel and sat in the lobby for a few hours, listing like zombies, until the staff took pity on us and prepared a room a bit early. While that worked, in retrospect we didn't think it helped recovery from jetlag very much since it didn't provide anything in the way of exercise before sleeping (something that's recommended for travelers over many time zones.)

So this time we took our luggage via shuttle van to the hotel, arranged for the bags' safekeeping, and took the hotel shuttle right back to the airport. There we caught an express bus into Dublin for some sightseeing and (at least on Diane's part) some shopping. We never got any closer to Dublin itself than the airport in 2006, so going into the city was high on our list of must-dos for this trip.

The primary thing on my agenda was to see the epicenter of the 1916 Easter Rising, the General Post Office on O'Connell Street in the heart of Dublin. The primary thing on Diane's agenda was to get a hair dryer that runs on European voltage.

Not just a post office, the Post Office

Not just a national shrine, but a hardworking post office

We accomplished both things. Like zombies.

As you can see in the slide show of some of the day's photos (intentionally left askew as they were taken), I could tilt on the street this time just as well as I could list in the hotel lobby last time. As we wandered agog and dazed, it crossed my mind that maybe this was what Leopold Bloom felt like in the latter part of Ulysses, so maybe it was appropriate that I see Dublin for the first time in that state. When we finally located hair dryers (I think it was in a Macy's, but I may have been partly dreaming by then), a middle-aged gentleman smiled at me while I with eyes glazed watched Diane do her shopping among the hair dryers. "You're the husband?" he asked. I nodded faintly. "You're a saint," he said. I told him that the only part of being a saint I had achieved was feeling dead.

This sign (and the wall behind it to its right) added to the sense of hallucination. (Click on any image, but especially this one, to see it in a larger format.)

By the time we arrived back at the hotel, both of us were feeling saintish dead, but very, very happy. We unpacked, ate, and collapsed.

A slide show of 18 images from this day is available at by clicking here.

Next: August 5, 2010 -- Alive in Dublin
Previous: August 3, 2010 -- On Our Way

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