Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Our Ireland Adventure
Day 1

Our Flights In Business Class To Ireland, and The Shelbourne Dublin Hotel

Our big 2016 adventures takes us to Ireland for two weeks. Paul and I have always wanted to go but had to postpone a couple of times for different reasons. I will try to blog a bit every day to memorialize and share the experience.

First off, Sonja, the AAA Travel Agent from the Escondido, California office must be commended. Did you know that AAA even had a travel agent? AAA travel planning agents can tell you about places to see, plus travel information such as bed-and-breakfast guides and pet tips for travelers. And they help you book AAA-recommended hotels, travel packages or cruises, with discounts on a variety of attractions along the way . . . at little or no cost. Sonja even reminded Paul to get his international driver’s license.

We only learned about this valuable service last year, when Sonja help augment a European Cruise I had won with a week in Italy. Her arraignments incorporated all our requests and our explorations last year was perfect. We expect much the same for our two weeks in Ireland.

Sonja was excited when she explained that she was able to book our flights in Business Class for the price of economy. Boy was she right to be excited. When we arrived at the San Diego Airport, we were informed that our Club World status took us straight to the fast and easy check-in. Although we traveled light – we were entitled to check three large luggage free of charge. 

Enjoying the Airspace Lounge in the San Diego Airport

Enjoying the Airspace Lounge in the San Diego Airport

Enjoying the Airspace Lounge in the San Diego Airport

After we dropped the bags, the nice attendant directed us to the Airspace Lounge. The San Diego Airspace Lounge is located in Terminal 2 and there is free Wi-Fi with power outlets everywhere.

The atmosphere is one of the first things that hits you: floor to ceiling windows that provide an excellent, unobstructed view of the tarmac. Another immediately noticeable highlight is the transparent bar, which neither obstructs nor diminishes the panoramic backdrop.

Now the best part of all is that all the food and beverages, including alcohol was free!!! Coming in close second was the service – fun and fast attendants took great care of us. Paul and I were please to spend our two hours before boarding there. 

British Airway’s Club World Business Class

Boarding was a breeze, but by that time it was after 8:00 pm and we were tired. The unique business class seating arrangements had the seats facing face-to-face in its own little pod. The seats recline fully flat for sleeping or you could sit upright to dine and/or watch your personal small touch screen television. Paul and I both enjoyed the movie, “The Intern” before drifting off to sleep. Again the food (and there was plenty of it) and beverages were free. I actually opted for a couple of glasses of champagne.

They woke up us up about an hour and a half before landing with an offering of breakfast. Funny story is the attendant spilling the milk all over me. She was horrified and very apologetic. Paul and I thought it was hilarious. 

Now that brings us to our transfer flight from London to Dublin. The flight was scheduled to leave at 3:30 pm. Our landing in London was delayed for over twenty minutes. The signage in London was confusing and it took a bit to figure out that we had to take the train to Terminal A. Once there, we had to clear a pre-check. They directed us to the Customs line.

Unfortunately, they were down on staff and the line crawled. Nevertheless, we cleared customs a few minutes after three and I thought we were good as far as catching our next flight. However, we were then greeted by another pre-check line. The clock kept clicking and we started to worry.

After this second pre-check line, we were herded into the security line for screening. By the time we got through security, it was 3:25 pm and the board informed us that our gate was closed. Remember the plane was scheduled to depart at 3:30 pm.

The Flight Staff Put a Smile on Paul’s Face

Our gate was about a half a mile from security. Paul and I looked at each other and decided to run for it. I had never seen Paul so determined as we ran towards Gate 20. Unbelievable, we made the flight. The flight attendances noticed our heavy breathing and gave us some water.

Then the attendants got Paul good. They teased him that the flight was going to New York. Paul was very flustered as he tried to explain that we were on the way to Ireland. They let him of the hook quite quickly and the entire business class shared the fun of the successful joke. We were feed on this flight as well. 

We Made It To Dublin!!!

It only took 45 minutes for us to reach Dublin. Our driver, Derek greet us with our names on his tablet sign. Now I do not know how big Derek was, but he made Paul look small!!! He helped us with our bags and whisked us off in his BMW to our hotel. On the way we chatted about Dublin’s history and even current affairs. Nobody likes Obama Care. It was like a mini tour!!! 

Derek’s Mini-Tour Through Dublin

Derek’s Mini-Tour Through Dublin

Derek’s Mini-Tour Through Dublin

The Shelbourne Dublin and its staff are wonderful. Check-in was very easy and the hotel pretty modern. The best part of the Shelbourne is the location. You are within walking distance of pubs, restaurants and stores. 

Our Room at The Shelbourne Dublin

Our Room at The Shelbourne Dublin

The onsite restaurant really did not have anything to satisfy Paul’s vegetarian needs. Further, quite frankly, the Saddle Room prices were a bit high. They were accommodating enough to recommend an Italian Restaurant just a block away. 

The Yummy Unicorn Restaurant in Dublin, Ireland

The Yummy Unicorn Restaurant in Dublin, Ireland

The Yummy Unicorn Restaurant in Dublin, Ireland

The Yummy Unicorn Restaurant in Dublin, Ireland

The Yummy Unicorn Restaurant in Dublin, IrelandThe Yummy Unicorn Restaurant in Dublin, Ireland

Open since 1938 Dublin’s iconic Unicorn Restaurant is known as the city’s favorite Italian establishment. Again the staff there were wonderful. The server fretted over Paul’s choice of Rosemary Roasted Red Potatoes and a fresh Green Salad. I opted for the special, Pork Cheeks. Both plates arrived in a timely manner and were very tasty. Paul finished his meal with Organic Vanilla Ice Cream while I enjoyed the house specialty Tiramisu. They also make a great Amaretto Sour.

The Packed Pub -  O'Donoghue's.

We took an after dinner walk and ended up in the famous O'Donoghue's.  Unfortunately the place was packed with no chance of getting a drink.  Therefore I picked up a can of Guinness Original Extra Stout at the market and we headed back to our room.

Guinness Original Extra Stout - The End of a Perfect Day.

Perfect ending to day one. Tomorrow, St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin!

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  1. So glad AAA is taking good care of you! The AAA Travel agent, here in Bend, takes care of all our travel needs, also! They are truly great at what they do!


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