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Old 06-01-2009, 03:29 PM   #1
Me Wants the Medianoche!
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Florida
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Trip Report - The Emerald Isle 2009 - Part 2

Saturday 05/23/2009 Day 1 of Tour

Knowth, Newgrange, Reception Dinner

Since we booked our Pre-Day with ABD our breakfast was included in the room price.
A Breakfast Buffet was available in the Exchange Restaurant every morning at the Westin. No vouchers were needed. You simply walked to the host/hostess desk in the restaurant and gave your name and room number. They have a list of ABD guests right there on the podium.
As others have reported the buffet has a huge selection of items; hot and cold. Prepared fruits, whole fruits, cereals, breads, waffles (very sweet batter though), sausage, Irish bacon (think ham slices, not like our bacon strips), scrambled eggs, yogurt and a selection of small danish. I did try the black pudding the first morning … and that was enough for me of that stuff.

Our transport to Newgrange picked us up at 9:00 in front of the Westin. It’s a type of van not a bus (coach). If you are interested in this trip I would suggest making reservations in advance. The van made another stop and had to turn people away because he had a full van. Those at the stop with reservations boarded though.
You arrive at the Bruna Boinne Visitors Center where you then buy your tickets to the sites. Our van would be collecting us at 1:30 to go back to Dublin so we had time to do both Knowth and Newgrange. At the visitor center you board buses that take you the short distance to the actual sites.
We enjoyed the short tours and the history involved with the sites. Very knowledgeable guides give the tours.
Knowth : You can walk around the mound, on top of the mound and take pictures. There is no entry into the mound at this time.

Newgrange: You can take photos of the outside; walk-in with the guide up to a small chamber but no photos are permitted inside the chamber. It is very interesting inside the passage way chamber and they give a small demonstration of what a solstice light would look like. If you are claustrophobic it may be a bit much to handle.

* Trip Tip – Always have an umbrella and rain jacket with you on ‘iffy’ days.

When we left Dublin it looked a little overcast so we took our rain gear and were glad we did. Up on that hill the rain and winds came. Luckily the rain wasn’t heavy just enough to make you use your gear.

Back in Dublin by 3 pm and the van dropped us off at the tourism office which is behind the hotel. We stopped at a pub ordered a lunch of fries (chips) and Guinness. The breakfast was huge so we just needed a wee bit of something to nibble on. You will see the theme of this trip for me is pretty obvious … countryside, pubs and Guinness!

Cead Mile Failte ‘Wish you 100,000 welcomes’
We got cleaned up, met our guides and 22 fellow travelers in the lobby at 5:30 and went on with our introductions followed by a wonderful meal in a private room in the Westin. At this meal the guides start to make you feel part of the group with a small game, give you the outline for the next days activities and present you with your first pin of the trip.

Our fabulous ABD guides were Jennae and Francesc.

It was actually a buffet for dinner. Very nice though with a selection of entrees, vegetables, fruits, cheeses and desserts.

Most of our fellow travelers had come in that day and were tired by 9 so the group broke up for the evening.

Of course we were wide awake so we ambled downstairs to the Mint Lounge at the Westin where Salsa music was the evenings selection. We enjoyed the music and talking to others. You will find the Irish are very friendly and fun people, at least those that we met in the pubs.

Part Three

Last edited by redzinner; 06-19-2009 at 07:56 PM.
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