Our global studies group had an early check-out time the next morning from Trinity College Dublin. Several campus students would be providing us with bags of on-the-go breakfast food, including fruit, yogurt and a juice box. We were scheduled to be at Lincoln Gate by 6:30 a.m. to meet the bus that would take us back to the airport. So once I was in my room after visiting Connemara and Galway, I rested up a bit before packing up.
During the week, I lived out of my suitcases instead of filling up the closet and drawers with my belongings. Except for toiletries that I kept in the bathroom, anything I didn’t need throughout each day was locked away in my luggage and the keys came with me. That made packing to leave a fairly quick and easy task and left more time to rest a while longer afterward.
In the morning, one of the guys in our group helped bring my bags down from the third floor and soon, we were gathering in the breezeway. We had our breakfast bags and were ready to go. As we began walking to the gate, luggage pulled behind us, several guys on our trip went back and forth, helping to bring out some of the bigger suitcases. It was a long walk from our housing to the particular gate where we had to meet, so it was very nice of them to make repeat trips for the group’s belongings. It was one of many ways in which everyone had been helpful to each other throughout our stay in Ireland.
At the gate, we found that it wouldn’t be opened until 8 a.m., which conflicted with our bus schedule. One of the guys went to find campus security to tell them we’d need the gate opened, since our bus would arrive at any moment. Lincoln Gate was also the best spot where the bus could stop for passenger pick-up and for the time to store away luggage. It was more out of the way of traffic than other campus gates.
With the gate opened and the bus pulling up, our bags quickly piled up in the storage compartments and we were on our way. As the bus left the campus behind, the ride back to the airport gave us one more sightseeing opportunity, even if only in passing. I hadn’t noticed this particular bridge’s giant beer mug detail at all while in Dublin.
We also rode by a tall ship called the Jeanie Johnston and a boat with the name Cill Airne, docked on the River Liffey.
Check out more photos from my trip to Ireland, uploaded onto Flickr.
Our flight wasn’t until just after 11:30 p.m., but after going through the security process, it time passed quickly. New to airport hustle and bustle, I felt a little clumsy, trying to hurry with my shoes and keep an eye on my belongings after they were scanned. Now, I’m glad to have that experience and at least beginner knowledge of air travel. As we waited, everyone signed a card passed around by a staff member and I bought a copy of the Irish Times. I subscribe to their e-news, but thought, why not get a print edition as a journalism-themed souvenir?
Before long, we were able to board the Philly-bound US Airways plane. Once settled in my center section right aisle seat, I noticed how warm it felt in the cabin. I thought it might just be from all rushing around that morning. Instead, there was a problem with the air conditioning and an announcement was made about turning the engines on separately to compensate. The screens on the back of the seats weren’t booting up or, at least, were just taking longer. Our flight crew presented the safety demonstration and between the A/C and screen issues, those were a few moments that made me a bit nervous. However, a great job was done by all the crew, as we had a smooth flight and working A/C the whole way. I kept my mind occupied by watching “Transcendence” and “Austenland,” before tuning in to some music choices.
I also followed the flight-tracking screen a few times in between the entertainment options. The plane took a path arching northward and eventually we were some distance south of Reykjavik, Iceland. When our flight was over land again, the plane symbol on the screen curved southward over Canada, then New England, New York City and Allentown. Soon, we’d be touching down in Philly.
As we were in the final stretch toward PHL, a window seat passenger across the aisle to my right had the shade up. I could see a ship on the Delaware River when the plane curved to the left. Once it straightened, I watched as the right wing would sometimes tilt up and down. More nervous feelings again, this time about coming in for a wobbly landing, even if just slightly. But it helped to watch the nearest flight attendant and see a calm demeanor. I was just anxious to get back on land and have my first air travel experience behind me. As far as I could tell, there was no wobble upon touchdown. The flights both ways were so smooth; only a minute or two of very light shaking could be felt.
My first flight, check; first international trip, check; first time visiting Ireland, check. I loved to finally have the chance to take those personal major travel steps! I also hoped that I would make a return trip to Ireland in the near future.
Over the years, I built up quite a long list of things I wanted to check out whenever I’d get to go to Ireland. While I was there, I found out about some other things to add to that list, including several tours and events:
- Viking Splash Tours
- Dublin Ghost Bus
- Dracula Festival
- Dublin Horse Show
Since I missed some sites this time around, I’ll take that to mean that I’m destined to go back to Ireland someday. My first trip there was a great start to seeing Dublin and the rugged countryside of the west. With so much more that I want to see, it’ll take multiple times visiting Ireland and I look forward to future Irish travels.