Monday, March 22, 2010

Ireland Day 1 - County Laois

We got into Paris around 6am, and then flew to Ireland, arriving around 8am. Needless to say, we were all pretty sleepy. The trip package we got included the flight, car rental, and hotel, so we started out by getting the car. Unfortunately, the line for Dan Dooley car rental took forever. There were only a few people ahead of us, but we waited more than an hour.

We did eventually manage to get our car - a type of van that we don't have in the U.S - called a Volkswagen Sharan.

From there we drove to our hotel. It was about an hour outside Dublin in County Laois. The scenery on the way was beautiful.

Our room wasn't ready yet, so we went out for lunch a little exploring. We had lunch in a very small town (there's just one main road a couple blocks long) at a small pub in Portarlington. At first we walked into a pub that didn't serve lunch, and everyone in the place (maybe 5 or 6 older men) all stopped what they were doing looked at us. In my head I can imagine the sound of a record-player screeching to a halt as we walk in. They were nice though, and pointed us in the direction of a pub that did serve lunch.

We had a pretty Irish lunch - Jeff had bacon (which turned out to be boiled ham) and potatoes, I had pork chops, Emily had hamburger (but not in a bun), and Brian had sausages, and we all had a pint.

After lunch we visited Emo Court, a large neo-classical mansion from the 1800's, surrounded by beautiful forests. There were even two rows of giant sequoias lining one of the drives.

We went back and checked into our hotel about 3pm. Though hotel is not quite the right word - our package included six nights in a two-bedroom villa in a 5-star golf and spa resort. The villa had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, a dining room, two living rooms, two balconies, and an office. It was pretty amazing.

We had great plans for staying up until 8pm to try to beat the jet lag, but Jeff's the only one who made it. The rest of us ended up taking 5 hour "naps" from 3pm-8pm, but were somehow able to get back to sleep around 9pm and sleep through the night - so I guess we beat the jet lag anyway.

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