Over the pond to the land of frozen leprechauns

Trip Start Dec 30, 2009
Trip End Jan 19, 2010

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Flag of Ireland  , County Dublin,
Thursday, December 31, 2009

Well we made it..... 14 hours after we left Orlando, we landed in Dublin, Ireland only to hear that they were having the worst winter weather in over 40 years...lol. So we have been surrounded be snow, ice and people in heavy coats for our first day of our honeymoon,but.....we're loving every minute of it.

On our first day after we got settled in at the airport, we rented a small Ford Fiesta and learned real fast how to drive on the opposite side of the road. Also, the steering wheel and pedals are on the opposite side (which is the passenger side in the states). So imagine driving, shifting and steering from the wrong side of a small 5-speed compact and also being 6' 5'' tall and feeling safe. A few times I relapsed back to the "U.S. style" of driving, but snapped out of it when Jenn was screaming at me to get over to the side. Fortunately, she has driven a few times to with similar screams from me, lol, but so far we've survived.

Since it was early around 7am when we arrived in Dublin, we decided to drive around the city before we could check into our hostel at 11am. Downtown Dublin, Ireland was busy for a New Year's Eve morning, but it also was still a Thursday workday for the city. However, since it rarely snows over in Ireland and this was the first huge ice/sleet storm in over 40 years, most Irish do not know how to drive in those conditions. Cars were sliding all over and people walking down the street were falling on their butts. We even over heard that "no leprechauns 'tis
caught anywhere outside in below freezing weather", so no luck of the
Irish for us in seeing one while we're are here. Even though I've lived in Florida for over 20 years, luckily I was raised in Indiana winter's and know how to drive in sleet and ice.

We parked our car and walked around downtown Dublin for a few hours. The city has many statues honoring the Irish citizens fighting during the Irish War of Independence in 1921 with the  Great Britain. We walked in to the main Post Office to mail home some postcards and found out that the postal building used to be the Irish stronghold during that war and outside many bullet holes could be found still embedded into the concrete walls!

We walked some more around Dublin, went to the Irish National Museum and then went to our hostel to check in. WOW.... it was like staying in a college dorm room. The Isaacs Hostel was mostly filled with young guests from all different countries staying there, but everyone was very friendly. The hostel used to be a 200 year old Irish winery, so turning it into a college backpacker hotel was an obvious no brainer...lol.  We took our luggage in and locked it down in the old wine cellar basement storage and saw that our room was an eight bed shared room. The hostel was packed for the New Year's weekend, similar to being Times Square in New York City, so finding any place to stay was tough, let alone a private room. So we had to settle for a room with four bunk beds with four loud 20 something Italians and two Germans. Luckily, Jenn got the bunk bed above me....lol. Downstairs it was like an international college campus with guests of all ages talking, eating, drinking everywhere. Sounds crazy and insane, but we got along well with everyone and met alot of people. You could even use the kitchen to cook grocery items since they had five stoves and microwaves.

After we took a much needed jet lagged nap, we got up and went out to get a bite to eat. We didn't know most restaurants would close at 6pm for the holiday so we went to a local grocery store to buy some wine and beer for the night's celebration and picked up a pizza and some vegetables to cook back at the hostel. Cooking in the kitchen was interesting while listening to so many different languages being spoken around all the stoves being used. An Italian girl we met, Chiara, and her German boyfriend, Jan, even stopped me from pulling out the pizza too soon saying it wasn't ready. She told me "since she was from Italy, she knew how to make pizza perfecto mundo"...lol. Eveyone was sharing their wine and beer with each other around the lobby and fireplace before heading out before midnight to celebrate the new year.

We left at 11pm to head down to the 1,000 year old Christ Church Cathedral to hear the church bells ring in the New Year. Much like going to Times Square in New York City. The monorail train dropped us off three blocks from it and as we walked to the church, huge snowflakes began falling. We rang in the year with thousands of Irish, singing and celebrating in the streets.

A picture perfect night to end the first night of our honeymoon trip to Europe.
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