A Trip of a Lifetime

Monday, March 25, 2013 a group of 12 students, 4 teachers, 1 graduate and 1 chaperone from Robert E. Lee High School landed in Dublin, Ireland at 5:30 a.m. local time to begin a 9 day tour of the UK. We arrived at our hotel by 8:00 a.m. only to find our rooms wouldn’t be ready until after 2:00 p.m. “Here are your maps. We will go on a walking tour in just a few minutes,” our tour director John announced. Following a short briefing, at 8:30 a.m. we set off from the hotel, leaving our luggage in a secured room until we returned. It was freezing, snow flurries flew off and on all day, nothing sticking. The wind cut through us like sharp daggers as we walked along the streets surveying our locale.

Molly Malone, AKA the Tart with the Cart

Molly Malone, AKA the Tart with the Cart

“Let’s meet back here at say, 10:30,” John said and set us all free to roam on our own to have a late breakfast. The Tart with the Cart – by day she sold fish and vegetables, by night she sold… This was our rendezvous spot the whole time we were in Dublin. It was a centrally located statue and the kids knew the name, well nick name, very well.

Two of the teacher chaperones, my son, and I all walked down an alley off the main street looking for an inviting place to eat. We found what we were looking for, but the entrance was back out on the main street. Soon the majority of our group found our cozy hide out and joined us. I had a latte and porridge (oatmeal) with brown sugar and cream. With this photo, my food journal began.

Brown sugar and cream porridge with a latte. Just the thing to warm the insides.

Brown sugar and cream porridge with a latte. Just the thing to warm the insides.

The outside of the Pub. I think I should have walked across the street to snap this one to get the full name in the shot.

The outside of the Pub. I think I should have walked across the street to snap this one to get the full name in the shot.

Irish Stew and Soda Bread

Irish Stew and Soda Bread

At lunch time we stopped at the International Pub and warmed ourselves with a steaming bowl of Irish Stew and a slice of Irish soda bread. The atmosphere was inviting, the locals very chatty, and the barman as congenial as any perfect story book character.

The International Pub our first day in Ireland

The International Pub our first day in Ireland

With a full belly and fingers I could finally feel, I set about snapping photos of this charming establishment. The barman at one point suggested that I and one of the high schoolers in our tour group step behind the bar for a unique photo opportunity. My complaint was that you wouldn’t see me behind the bar, and you very nearly can’t. The young man in the photo with me, is over 6 feet tall. My 5 foot tall frame was only visible because I stood on my toes. Modern Ireland, it would seem, was not built for short people like myself.

The barman posing with a glass of Guiness. THE beer of Ireland.

The barman posing with a glass of Guiness. THE beer of Ireland.

After lunch we made our way back to our hotel to finally check into our rooms. There was just enough time to set luggage in the room and a hot bath before heading down to dinner. Our stay in Dublin was by far the best of our whirlwind tour to Dublin, Wales, and London. I am already making plans to go back next year. Hopefully it will not be snowing every day as it did on this trip. Still, if it does, at least I know some of the best places to warm a frost bitten body.

PS I have so many more pictures to post and will be doing so over the next several days. Stay tuned and check the pictures page for additional photos not included in posts.

PPS Ignore the time stamp on the photos. For whatever reason, I failed to reset the time to local UK time and it remained in EST the whole trip. Add 5 hours if you are truly curious of the time of each photo.

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