We had so much fun visiting Europe last year that we decided to book another Globus tour this year. This time we booked the Irish Escape, a 7-day tour of the Republic of Ireland that begins and ends in Dublin. Globus Escapes are a great introductory tour that visits many of the highlights associated with the tour’s given nation(s). We elected to travel in off-season again, March in celebration of my 60th birthday, as the prices are much reduced.
We got off to a rough start as American Airlines delayed our Friday night flight from Philadelphia to Dublin several times before finally cancelling it until Saturday morning. A delay which cost us the first day of the tour, which is a free day designed to allow you to explore Dublin at your leisure. American Airlines counter personnel at Philadelphia informed us at nearly 1:00AM we could accept a hotel voucher or sleep at the airport. We chose to stay at the airport since the turn around was to hotel was approximately an hour and we had to be back and through security again by 5:00AM since our flight would depart at 7:00AM. We finally took-off a little after 9:00AM. We finally arrived at our hotel in Dublin after 8:00PM Dublin time. Although we missed the welcome dinner our Tour Guide, Bob, and the staff at the Stir Restaurant in Clayton Cardiff Lane Hotel saved plates for us. We were most grateful for their consideration as the food was delicious and we were ready to eat something good. I apologize for not having pictures of the hotel, restaurant, or dinner. We were exhausted.
Our first day of touring Dublin with the group was wonderful. Bob, our guide was entertaining and insightful. We did have a bit of free time which Mrs. Present and I used to visit the Long Room, Trinity College Library, and to view the Book of Kells. This was, for me, one of the trip’s highlights. Pictures do not capture the weightiness of the Long Room. Built in the early 1700’s, the room contains 200,000 volumes and many items important to the history of Trinity College and to Ireland.
Lunch was at J.P. Mooney’s on Nassau Street. I had the coddle, potatoes, and a Smithwick’s. Both the food and the conversation were excellent. After lunch we took a casual walk from Mooney’s back to our hotel. We crossed the River Liffey at O’Connell Street and walked down the north side of the river before crossing back toward the hotel on the Samuel Beckett (Harp) Bridge. The walk was pleasant, we moved at a casual pace as we were still very tired.
Our evening was spent at the Guinness Storehouse. We toured the facility, enjoyed a pint of the dark stuff in the Gravity Bar, and had dinner at the 1837 Bar and Brasserie. It was a great evening. The Storeroom is full of history, the food was good, and the beer was fantastic. One interesting piece of history is Arthur Guinness’ original 9,000-year lease for the then abandoned St. James Gate Brewery. Guinness still pays a rate of £45 a year for the property. Another interesting feature at the Storeroom is a quirky little museum dedicated to Guinness advertising campaigns. Another fun feature is the Gravity Bar which provides a 360º view of Dublin. Writings on several of the glass panels describe points of interest that can be viewed through that panel. We had a great time. I recommend visiting the Guinness Storeroom even if you do not drink beer.
After tour across Ireland, we returned to Dublin on our final day. For our last night Globus booked us in the Gibson Hotel Dublin, which is quite nice. We visited Taylor’s Cabaret & Irish Night for an evening that included dinner, Irish dancing, song, and comedy (with a sizable dose of audience participation). Our food was good, the conversations with tour-mates, and the entertainment was wonderful. Taylor’s provided an enjoyable end to an excellent tour.