We flew out March 25 from our hometown, then it was on to Chicago for a layover. A seven hour layover. A seven hour layover in O’Hare, which turned out to be almost nine hours as our flight there arrived early and the flight to Dublin was delayed. Yeah. I honestly hate O’Hare. Every time I’ve flown out of the international section I’ve hated it. It’s dirty, smells odd, and has no facilities whatsoever. There are some bathrooms and maybe one or two odd hallway snack kiosks selling liquor, candy bars, and magazines, all at outrageous prices. So we walked those grungy hallways for an eternity.
Once we finally got on the Aer Lingus flight to Dublin, everything started looking up. There was a decent dinner, and it was a new, clean plane with a noticeable absence of crying babies. In fact, there were so many empty seats I was able to spread out a bit and get some sleep. Since it’s impossible for me to sleep on airplanes, I felt like this was a huge improvement. And there was a built-in screen and entertainment system thing in every seat–and a bit of legroom! Yeah, I was shocked too.

So we land in Dublin, tired, hungry, and a bit lost, but it’s a gorgeous morning. The fog is just lifting, revealing this glowingly green landscape. We make it through Customs and Immigration, find my luggage, and even manage to pick up a cheap phone with SIM card so we can call around.

I call Paddy’s Palace because not only do they have cheap beds in Dublin, they have backpacker’s tours (which we plan on taking) AND a free shuttle from the airport.

Shuttle was super nice, but when we got to Paddy’s Palace the same girl that had blithely assured me they had spare rooms on the phone was now quite certain there were none to be had. I signed up for their three-day Northern Ireland tour, leaving the next morning, and after lots of hunting we found a four-bed dorm in Jacob’s Inn for 32 euro a night per person. NOT the greatest deal out there, but there just so happened to be a Tina Turner concert in town that weekend and there was nothing else to be had. Damn you, Tina Turner, damn you.

I found out that a lot of hostels in Ireland enjoy using these absolutely retarded push-button shower control things, a lot like the ones you get on sinks in public restrooms where you press the handle down and after a minute it’ll rise back up and stop the water. I struggled my way through a sporadic shower to wash off fifteen some hours of airport/airplane grunge, possibly the grodiest kind out there, and was asleep by 8 pm (damn you, jet lag) to the sound of BBC2 and some strange, strange British cooking show that involved men in flamboyant yellow suits and matching accessories.

And that was my illustrious and surprisingly smooth arrival into Ireland. Did I mention that at two am, an older gentleman reeking of alcohol stumbled into the dorm room, swore softly, and spent the next fifteen minutes struggling gamely but unsuccessfully to reach his top bunk? The rest of the night, the room smelled like a bar, but once he stopped bouncing the springs, it was fairly quiet.

Adventure of the Three Day Northern Ireland Tour coming up next!