Dublin....1st Stop On My Big AdventureAuthor: Toni K N (More Trip Reviews by Toni K N)
Date of Trip: November 2008
After the tour guide commented on the Shelbourne Hotel facing Saint Stephens Green and the fact that Kennedy had stayed there as well as Bill Clinton, I stopped by. I was given a tour of the rooms and I must say the Heritage Suites overlooking the park are wonderful. High ceilings with beautiful moldings, very spacious rooms with sumptuous baths and goodies plus use of the Heritage concierge. Lovely would be putting it too mildly and not too badly priced to boot. They just did a multi million dollar renovation a few years ago and it is top notch.
Around the corner I visited Dawson's Lounge, the smallest pub in Dublin, it can hold 20 people standing up or 10 seated. It was built by the man who built The Mansion house across the street which is where the Mayor of Dublin lives. Both are on....what else.....Dawson Street.
Today I went on a tour out of the city to The Wicklow Mountains. 686 meters above sea level. The trip out was so interesting and we passed through many of the surrounding neighborhoods of Dublin. Embassy row is full of fabulous houses and beautiful tree lined streets with 300 year old Oak trees. Properties selling for $25-35 million.
We passed through an area where Microsoft, Dell and Hewlett Packard have built huge facilities employing thousands. One of the driving forces bringing them here is the amazing tax situation. They only have to pay 4% tax and if they had located in Northern Ireland they would have had to pay substantially more in taxes, I think he said in the 30% range. I would say this is a major incentive for them to locate their business here!
Driving through the Wicklow Mountains we passed where Mel Harris filmed Braveheart. We stopped at a site overlooking a gorgeous lake and mountains where there is one lone magnificent home owned by Gareth Brown. When Paul McCartney stayed there he wrote "Yesterday". Most recently Michael Jackson tried to purchase this amazing property and was told it was not for sale and never would be. The lake it is on is called Loch Tay which means Gracious Lake.
We continued through the mountains and stopped at Glendalough and walked through the monasteries where we learned that the Vikings used to intermittently pillage the monasteries. You might ask what would they gain from pillaging monasteries. Well .....in those times all the riches were kept in the monasteries.
Our tour guide and bus driver, John, was a wealth of information. He had great stories, played wonderful music and even sang for us. I would strongly recommend using him if you visit Dublin!. I met wonderful people from Romania, Melbourne Australia , and I shared a seat (first row of course) with a girl from Catalan Spain who is also traveling alone. She is a 38 year old park ranger and we had a great time together over lunch. Her name is Marcelle and we were having a great time with languages. She even taught me a few words to use when I am in Prague since she was just there.
I purchased an all day ticket for the Dart, the train, for tomorrow and I plan to hop on and off at some wonderful scenic coastal areas surrounding Dublin for my last full day here.
My last day in Dublin turned out to be a real experience ! I took the Dart out to Don Leerie (phonetic spelling) which is a quaint seaside town and had an enjoyable time . I got back on the Dart and continued out to Bray...the scenic view was wonderful...seaside and golf courses all the way. When I got off the train I realized I had lost one of my possum fur gloves . It was a real bummer since I got them in New Zealand and they kept my hands really warm. The weather had changed, it turned really gray and rainy with lots of wind so I decided to go retrace my steps in Don Leerie and see if I could find the glove. I was sure it must have been in the last place I was at. Wrong !! Not there.
Oh well, back to the Dart and continue on to Howet, a little seaside fishing village for dinner and a walk around. Once again........not happening. While I waited for the train the weather got really stormy and the lovely lady I was talking to advised me against going there in this weather. So....back to Dublin City center for my last hurrah! Sunday I shared a cab with a charming woman from Perth Australia to the airport and checked in for my flight to Venice. Thank's to Lori's brilliant suggestion to pack a second suitcase within my big suitcase I was able to check in 2 bags and not pay any overweight. Much more economical to pay to check 2 bags! Great flight, I like Aer Lingus and this proved to be my 1st flight on this airline but definitely not my last.
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