I was 13, I became interested in my family's genealogy and ever since I
have wanted to go to Ireland. Only 19 years later, I finally made it there.
Ed decided it would be nice to be there on my birthday so we made arrangements
for the last week of June. Our time there went too fast as most vacations
tend to do.
Our adventure began with a flight to New York's JFK airport. The terminals were confusing since they were not connected. Luckily, we had a five hour lay over before our Aer Lingus flight to Ireland. Ed never seemed to have a problem with the security, although I had my belt and shoes inspected several times. However, we did notice the all foreigners bags were searched before they could enter the gate even though their bags had just been scanned. We never noticed any of our fellow Americans going through this process.
While we waited at the gate for the boarding call, a gentleman sitting next to us struck up a conversation. He had mentioned that this would be his family's fourth trip to Ireland in two years and that he absolutely loved it there. He and his wife gave us a little advice. The best being that we should request two maps from the car rental service since theirs were the most current. The second tip I was very glad that I did not follow too closely. The wife had recommended not buying our souvenirs until we arrived at the airport duty free shop upon our departure. They both stated that one could get anything they wanted especially at the Dublin airport and it would save us from carting all our newly acquired belongings around. I wasn't too concerned with space since we made sure not to completely pack Ed's suitcase for this purpose. If one's souvenirs were to be more traditional such as t-shirts, alcohol, jewelry, mugs, Guinness paraphernalia, and Waterford then this advice would be well heeded even though the selection is limited. Ireland is filled with craftsmen, whether it is crystal, Parian china, pottery, wool sweaters & caps, or fine linen & lace, and most towns have a shop with some interesting find that will not be at the duty free.
Our over night flight to Ireland was about five hours. Two young girls sat in front of us and upon take off one slammed down the window shade shrieking that we were going to die. The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful as we tried to sleep in unnatural positions. Not long before landing, the sun filtered through the window waking us. The view was amazing; the land was divided in a patchwork of squares true to the forty shades of green with the occasional farmhouse and herd of sheep. As we prepared for landing we heard one of the stewardess' exclaim, "DEAR GOD MARY FRANCIS, someone is on the toilet!!!" in a thick Irish accent.
We arrived at 6am. I was excited to have the first stamp in my passport. Being that I am a bit compulsive about being early when traveling, our luggage was some of the last one the carousel. Our driver was waiting for us holding up a placard saying "Stembler" but we were confused as to where to go so it was he who approached us saying that our blue Brian Moore International Tour voucher & ticket jacket give us away.