Shared B goes to Dublin

Trip Start Aug 27, 2007
Trip End Sep 17, 2011

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Flag of Ireland  , County Dublin,
Friday, June 3, 2011

Hello my lovely Readers,

Welcome to the latest update of my adventures abroad. In case you don't know about where I work, Im employed by a large corporate travel firm. I’m a team leader and my role involves looking after a lively bunch of travel agents. I have the reputation of having the loudest and most lively team in the office…also possibly the naughtiest-interpret that as you wish.

Most people have the Monday blues but for me it’s the most exciting day of the week as I get to go in and catch up on all the goss…with 9 females and one bloke (albeit nicknamed Daisy) and not to mention that 4 of us are antipodean’s-there is always something exciting going on, and even if there is no juicy gossip or no drama I can always rely on a steady flow of conversation around shopping, men and makeup-all the while working hard of course. Work Hard Play Hard seems to be my team’s motto.

Given the above you can imagine I was a tad nervous when my whole team was invited to go to Dublin for the weekend on a trip hosted by The Beacon Hotel in Sandyford. It’s virtually never heard of these days that a whole team is invited on a fam trip so I was crossing my fingers and toes that we wouldn’t be the last.

The build up in the office for weeks prior was pretty big, we were all so excited like children about to go to the zoo. The big day came and on Friday the empty desk next to mine was piled with luggage, anyone would have thought we were going on a week long vacation rather than a two night getaway with hand luggage only.

They say that travel agents make the worst travellers and we certainly proved that true as it turned out we had booked one persons name incorrectly, we were measuring luggage to ensure it would fit in the overhead luggage racks and making mad dashes to the shops to buy just the right size clear plastic bags for the all important cosmetics. Considering we spend our days stressing the importance of advising that names should be per passport and advising security requirements it was rather ironic.

Due to some unknown miracle we all managed to leave the office on time and so headed with all our luggage to the local pizzeria for a team dinner before making our way out to Heathrow airport where we were to stay the night before catching an early morning flight to Dublin the next day.

With plans in place to dump the luggage and meet back at the lobby bar for a night cap you can imagine my roomie Nikki and I were frustrated to find our key card wasn’t working. Nikki headed down to reception to get on the case whilst I guarded the luggage. To further cement the old wives tale above it wasn’t until I heard the 'ding’ of the escalator whisking Nikki down to reception that I realised our card wasn’t working as were trying the wrong room number…

Eventually we made it into our rooms for a few minutes to use the facilities and unload our ‘essential’ supplies before it was back down to the bar. I went to the bar to order and as I turned round I could see two my team posing with a giant bottle of Moet for photos and also making a few ‘gestures’ with the bottle-or at least it looked like it from a distance.

Another of my team had caught the attention of two bar men and was insisting they were using ‘fake’ names, as surely ‘Jinzin’ and ‘Iggy’ couldn’t be real. Im sure to them she was flirting but to anyone who knows and loves her she was just being Michelle. At this point I had an inkling of where the rest of the weekend would head and I have to admit I was looking forward to it.

Ten quid and one measly drink later I decided to head back to the room as my bank account would surely take a hit if I stayed. Nikki and I jumped into bed (twins of course) with plans of falling asleep straight away but thanks to a faulty AC unit ended up gossiping til the wee hours of the morning. Again I refer to the children reference as it was like I had reverted to my 13 year old self on a sleepover heading off the next day to school camp.

The wake up call came all too soon and before I knew it we were sitting in an airport café nursing coffees feeling excited for what was to come yet also sorry for ourselves owing to the 5am wakeup. Of course we as travel agents were the last to board the aircraft and even then we managed to have a few stragglers.

In my usual style I was asleep before we even took off and didn’t wake up until after we landed. I did wake at one point to the whirring of a camera shutter in front of my face as my lovely team thought it amusing to take photos of me asleep with my mouth open catching flies and drooling. Why is it that in movies women always look so made up and dainty when they sleep yet when I do I look like a drooling pitbull?

We arrived In Dublin and were left as our driver was running late to get us, when he did arrive he took us on a walking tour of the airport as he appeared to have lost his coach. I took consolation in the fact that I am not the only person in the world who plays ‘Now where did I park my car’ however it had to be that this took place on a day where the airport had a mysterious Eau de Cow Shit. Never Mind all this would be forgiven in approximate 20 seconds.

We located the missing coach, and with tinted windows and a sleek black paint job it looked like any other transfer bus..that was until the stereo cranked up and the door automatically slid open and we were hit with loud base and lighting to rival any Dance Party.

Bearing in mind that it was not even 9 am we attracted a few glances but the loud music and coach drivers dancing soon lifted us out of our early morning funk. This coach was unlike anything I had ever seen before. You know those fancy stretch limos and the more recent stretch hummers with music, lights and champagne glasses? Well this was like that crossed with a night club and full of hyper travel agents let out on a hall pass from friends and family for the weekend. If this is what had been planned for us before breakfast I could only imagine what the rest of the day would entail.

A fun filled 30 minutes later we arrived at the Beacon Hotel to be greeted by our hosts for the weekend-Katrina, Leila and Raja. They were so fun and friendly and had obviously gone to a lot of effort to make our stay memorable. We were given key cards for our rooms for the night and we all headed off to unload our luggage. As the lift pulled to our floor and we each entered our rooms squeals of delight could be heard up and down the corridor as we all got our first glimpses of our rooms.

Considering we sold the property to corporate clients I was expecting the usual stale air, dark colours, heavy dreary fabrics and standard hotel room feel however I was pleasantly surprised that the hotel was nothing like this. Spacious, Airy and Modern are all words that spring to my head. The bathroom was to die for with not only a rain forest head shower but a beautiful extra large bath that I was dieing to jump into. There wasn’t enough time to fully test my surroundings as we were expected down in the lobby for breakfast. Champagne breakfast.

What a way to start the day than with a cooked English Breakfast with Champagne and Strawberries? It was divine and I happily munched away as our hosts told us they planned to take us to the most famous attraction in all of Ireland-The Guinness Storehouse after a brief tour of the hotel.

We were all sad to say goodbye to our coach when we arrived at the hotel so were very excited when we learned it was to be our personal coach for the day. And so with music blaring and another two bottles of champagne flowing in the back, a bunch of rowdy Travel Agents headed to central Dublin.

On arrival at the Factory we were met by our own Guide who would escort us through the attraction. Those who have read my previous Dublin blog know that I have been here before but because the building is big and there is so much to take in I learnt so much from being able to go a second time.

After wandering around and exploring our settings it was time for our next meal of the day at one of the Guinness cafes. Having only eaten breakfast less than two hours ago I was wandering where the heck I was going to put another full cooked meal. But I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge so before I knew it I was tucking into the worlds biggest Enchilada. Whilst I had kept it safe with my meal choice others were tucking into Guinness Stew, Guinness Bread and even Guinness Chowder.

With full bellies and woozy heads from all the alcohol already consumed we had the chance to hit the gift shops before meeting back at the coach. I love my souvenirs so was one of the last to arrive back. With our coach door open and being parked outside the attraction entrance the bright lights had gathered quite a few onlookers. By this point our early start was catching up with us and we were losing energy fast. Our coach driver soon changed this as he cranked up the stereo and started dancing in the coach entrance giving the onlookers their own performance. To set the scene our coach driver was wearing a button up short sleeve shirt with tie, had receding hair and was in his late 40’s yet was crotch thrusting to some dance track that I wouldn’t even know where to begin with how to dance to the song.

His performance soon had us back in high spirits and seat dancing as we headed to a local shopping mall for a spot of shopping. Some of us headed to the mall while others returned to the hotel for a few zzzz’s before reconvening for dinner and a night out in town.

After a bit of shopping we walked back to the hotel, to be honest I needed to walk off all the food and burn off the alcohol before the next food/drink marathon began. On returning to the hotel I finally got to try out the gorgeous shower and bath…yes both. Well I had to make the most of it didn’t I?

Once dolled up we reconvened in the lobby bar for you guessed it more cocktails before having dinner at the MyThai restaurant. Several bottles of wine later….and that was just me and it was soon time to head out to our Club for the night. The dinner was superb and unfortunately for me was the kind of place with a ‘magic’ wine glass that keeps refilling the minute I finish it-a sign of good service.

With the sky now dark and us carrying paper cups filled with wine our coach took on a new lease of life. We pulled up at a club called Samsara where we spent the evening drinking and having a photo shoot-many of the photos we would come to regret the following morning. For me I was just on water at the club as I knew the wine I had had earlier would catch up with me eventually. What can I say im cheap drunk on wine. Just for the record we weren’t being any more rowdy than our hosts, I distinctly remember at one point seeing Katrina our main host who was sporting a foot injury chair dancing with her crutch in one hand waving in the air in time to the music and a cocktail in the other.

Several hours later we all retreated to the hotel not to sleep but to hit the hotel lobby bar for cocktails. With sufficient time for the wine to wear off I was well up for trying new flavours.

Yet again morning came all too soon, and before we knew it we were dining on yet another Champagne breakfast. Not surprising though only two of us were able to stomach the Champagne this morning seasoned drinkers that we were. We checked out and boarded our coach for the last time as we waived our goodbye to our hosts. I found it rather amusing the subdued atmosphere on the coach compared to the day previous, everyone looking slightly pale and absolutely shattered-myself included.

Ill end this blog at Dublin airport where instead of nursing coffees like the day earlier I would guess many people were nursing hangovers. This weekend was the best team building exercise I had ever done and I think it brought our team all just that bit closer together. The team at the Beacon were amazing and it meant a lot to me that they had done something so special for us. I am fairly certain that this trip will stay in everyones memories for many many years to come due to all the laughs and memories along the way.

When I returned to London Laurent picked me up at the airport and said "So Missy I think you are getting quite accustomed to the good life…’ and you know what I think he may just be right…
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