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May 4 - Day 1 back in Ireland

Well, it’s Day 1 if you don’t count the day it took to get here. I left home at noon yesterday, flew from Tampa to JFK on JetBlue and connected with a 9:00 p.m. flight to Dublin. This works for me as AerLingus flies out of the JetBlue terminal at JFK. There were no tail winds according to the pilot, so the flight from NY took 6 hours and we arrived in Dublin shortly after 8 a.m. The Immigration Agent looked at my passport and said, Welcome Back. That felt good! My checked bag came off pretty quickly and by 9:00 I was on my way into Dublin. I decided to take a taxi rather than the bus, as I’ve been having some issues with my foot after surgery in March.

This trip the group is staying at the Davenport Hotel which is about a five minute walk from the National Library (and from where the AirCoach Bus drops you off when coming from the airport). My taxi driver informed me that the building was previously a church but that there had been a fire shortly after it was sold. According to the website it was a Brethren Meeting Hall until the 1980s and the fire in the 1990s destroyed everything but the lobby and facade. More luck…when I arrived at the hotel, they had a room for me. That doesn’t always happen as check in time in most hotels is 3 p.m. which means after getting off those early morning flights from the US you’ll usually check your bags at the hotel and go off to find a good Irish Breakfast followed by sightseeing. Since I did have a room, I unpacked, set my alarm for two hours and took a nap (don’t sleep more than that or you’ll have trouble acclimating to the time change). I was up at noon, showered and off to run some errands.

First, the National Library to renew my Reader’s Ticket which expired during COVID. The woman doing the renewal commented on the fact that my Reader's Ticket number is two digits, pretty old and again, she simply cut out the picture from the original ticket and pasted it onto my new card. No need to register in order to use the Wi-fi in the Library any longer. The password is evidently posted at the desk in the Reading Room. That took just about five minutes.

Next stop, Grafton Street to get a SIM card for my phone. The Vodaphone store where I normally do this was completely out of SIM cards (with all the tourists they said) and suggested I try again on Friday. They also mentioned another place a few stores away. 3 Store provided me with a pre-paid SIM only plan for €20 which is less than I’ve paid in the past. It seems to fit my needs. Make sure you don’t lose your existing SIM card as you’ll need to return it to your phone once back in the US.

I also needed a mouse for my laptop. I brought my mouse with me, but forgot to bring the USB connector. A Bluetooth mouse would be nice (then I don’t have to worry about the connector) but I stopped into a few stores and they only had the Apple Mouse, which was more than I wanted to pay. The other problem is I only have two USB-C ports on my MacBook Air, one of which is for the power. A small store in the St. Stephens Mall (at the top of Grafton Street) sold me USB-C to USB converter for €5. That, along with an inexpensive Logitech Mouse, solved the problem.

After a few other errands, it was time to eat. I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast on the plane, so I headed for one of my favorite restaurants…The Quays in Temple Bar. There I enjoyed my welcome back bowl of gluten-free Irish (Lamb) Stew. Although there are a few places that seemed to have closed, most of my favorites are still around.

My final stop on the way back to the hotel was Gino’s Gelato…the best. It’s not cheap, €4.50 for one scoop but make sure you try it at least once on your trip. There are multiple locations around Dublin.

Tomorrow I have appointments at the Valuation Office and the Registry of Deeds. Right now, just about everyplace requires an appointment. The only exception is the National Library.

Happy Hunting!

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