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Old 06-09-2009, 06:57 AM   #136
redzinner
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I couldn't sleep so I started searching for trip reports and "insider" info from past travelers and stumbled across this website. It has lots of pictures and brief daily descriptions of what they did on each day.
http://www.pyaray.com/vacation2008/
Another satisfied ABD repeat traveler, I see. They took one heck of a lot of photos. Thanks Shannon for posting the site.
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:58 AM   #137
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OMG! The pictures on that link are really getting me in the mood. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:43 AM   #138
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Another satisfied ABD repeat traveler, I see. They took one heck of a lot of photos. Thanks Shannon for posting the site.
I know, I couldn't believe how many ABD's they've been on! Lucky them!

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OMG! The pictures on that link are really getting me in the mood. Thanks for sharing!
Aren't they awesome? I especially love seeing all the castle pics...I am so freakin' excited to get to Dromoland though that I'm worried I will not take everything else in like I should.
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Old 06-10-2009, 02:40 PM   #139
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I'm heading down to my mom's tomorrow, and I'm going to be staying there until we leave on Monday. That means I have to have everything I need packed up for the trip PLUS clothes for the days leading up to the trip and a couple for after. Plus stuff for my dog (his food, a few toys, "just in case" medicine). And I have one tiny suitcase so needless to say I am like a crazy bag lady with all my stuff that is taking over my tiny apartment.

Yesterday, I got my haircut, took Winston (my dog) to the Vet for a follow up appointment, and went to the At&T store to add international calling onto my plan just for the month. This morning I paid all my bills so that is up to date and I also stopped my mail. All that is left (I hope) is to pack up my toiletries and little things that I will still need tomorrow morning. Then I have the fun job of transferring it all into the "real" suitcase at my mom's house. Fun.

While I was reading about the hop on hop off bus tours in Dublin, I saw that they have half day trips to Malahide Castle or Powerscourt Estates and Gardens. I know Dublin has lots to do but I'm wondering if this might be something fun to do as well. They also have a rail tour that heads to Cork and Blarney Castle (which is the one place I really wished we were going to on the tour that we aren't), but it gets back to late at night and we would end up missing the Welcome Reception.

Hope everyone is having fun these last few days before our adventure begins!
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Old 06-10-2009, 03:00 PM   #140
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Wonders10, have a WONDERFUL trip! Look forward to your report when you return!

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Old 06-10-2009, 03:03 PM   #141
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Have a great trip Shannon!!
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Old 06-10-2009, 03:18 PM   #142
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see you there Shannon!
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Old 06-10-2009, 03:24 PM   #143
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Smile Irish Trip

Hi Guys

Enjoy your trip here in Ireland, from an Irishman who loves Florida I am sure you will all enjoy my homeland

CÉAD MÍLE FÁILTE

a hundred thousand welcomes


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Old 06-10-2009, 03:43 PM   #144
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Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

You will love it!
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Old 06-10-2009, 04:20 PM   #145
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Hi Guys

Enjoy your trip here in Ireland, from an Irishman who loves Florida I am sure you will all enjoy my homeland

CÉAD MÍLE FÁILTE

a hundred thousand welcomes


Richard
Thanks Richard!
One thing I keep hearing over and over again is how nice the Irish people are!
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:56 PM   #146
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Hi Guys

Enjoy your trip here in Ireland, from an Irishman who loves Florida I am sure you will all enjoy my homeland

CÉAD MÍLE FÁILTE

a hundred thousand welcomes


Richard
Thanks for the welcome! I'm really looking forward to seeing your country!
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Old 06-26-2009, 04:49 PM   #147
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I'm Back!!!! As my niece said as we were leaving the Castle, it truly was "the adventure of a lifetime"! My mom and I have already started discussing the possibility of doing another ABD next summer. And meeting fellow DIS-ers was an extra bonus (shout out to Tigger_TTFN and Clarabelle!) We stayed an extra night in the castle, and arrived back home in Florida last night around 11pm local time (4am Ireland time), and opted to sleep over at my DB and DSIL's house before heading back down to my mom's this morning. I need to get my pictures uploaded and will try to start a trip report soon!

If you have any questions in the mean time though, feel free to ask!
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:16 PM   #148
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Trip Report is finally up!

Hi everyone...not sure if anyone is actually interested in reading this but I will post the first couple days of our trip and see how the response is. I don't have the pics yet, but I will get them up in a little while. Enjoy!

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June 15th-16th, 2009 – Dublin Pre-Night

I was getting a little nervous as we headed to the airport, but both flights from West Palm Beach to Dublin were pretty smooth. I wish I was able to sleep more on the way there, but luckily I was running on pure adrenaline so I was functioning fairly well when we landed. After retrieving our luggage, I started looking for our ABD driver to take us to the Westin. And I couldn’t see him. I looked and walked around for a good 15 minutes and then started to get a little panicky. My cell was not cooperating when I tried calling the Westin and ABD either. I ended up going to the information desk, who was nice enough to call the Westin. She told me that it really isn’t her problem since Disney was responsible for picking us up. We decided to just hop in line for a cab because we didn’t know what else to do. While we were in line, a man came up and asked if we were the Wonders10 party and noticed our ABD tags on our luggage – the Westin called and sent the driver out to get us. Yay! They actually had us as coming in on Sunday, not Monday so it was all messed up. But on we were to the Westin.

Check in was a breeze. Our room wasn’t ready yet so we left our bags and headed out to get some lunch. We ended up at Gallagher’s Boxty House, a short walk from the hotel. My mom and Claire shared the Fish and Chips and I had the Chicken Boxty. It was good, but I could have done without all the sauce, which is unusual for me since I typically love sauces. Then we continued walking around and ended up on Grafton Street. Boy do Dubliners walk fast! I wanted to keep up but I was missing everything! We took the obligatory picture with Molly Malone and continued down Grafton before ending up in St. Stephen’s Green. The weather was beautiful and the park was packed with people. We strolled around for a bit, enjoying the weather and scenery before heading back to the Westin. Our room was ready and it was very nice. Two singles and a rollaway, which was pretty much just a twin bed a little lower than my mom’s and I. Perfect for Claire – she loved it. We had a few of the Temple Bar area. This is where our day went down hill. We were starting to feel the effects of our traveling and getting sleepy. My mom and I were on our beds, watching TV while Claire was amusing herself with the TV, her journal, etc. My mom and I fell asleep and when we woke up about 45 minutes later, ready to get some dinner and explore some more, we saw Claire sound asleep in her bed. Nothing would wake this girl up. Not a darn thing. At this point it was around 4 in the afternoon. After about a half hour of trying to wake her up, we gave up and I decided to wander around and see what I could get for a take out dinner. Room service would have been nicer, but I just cannot justify paying 25 euros for a hamburger. Anyway, I still wasn’t sure of where everything was and I didn’t want to get to disoriented so I ended up getting Subway from a 7-eleven type store across from the hotel. It was fine – just like at home. We ate, watched some TV, and headed to bed early, ready for our first full day in Dublin.

Most Favorite Thing – Arriving safely in Ireland!
Least Favorite Thing – Being forgotten at the airport.
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:18 PM   #149
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June 17th, 2009 – Day 1, Cead Mile Failte

We woke up around 7 to Claire saying her stomach hurt…luckily it was due to hunger and not anything more serious. After showers all around, we headed down to the buffet, which was really nice. Claire’s breakfast for our days there was rice crispies, a bagel, and hot chocolate. I got different things everyday – sometimes just cereal and a croissant, maybe eggs and sausage. It was all good. Oh and as we were coming downstairs we had our first meeting with Francesc, who was great right off the bat – asked how everything was going, what our plans were for the day, and where to meet later that night.

Anyway, our plan for the day was to go to the Dublin Zoo in Phoenix Park. We headed to the tourism center and bought tickets for the hop on hop off busses and after about a 20-minute drive, we got off in Phoenix Park. It was rainy, rainy, rainy on this day and definitely on the cool side, but we were fine with our raingear. The rain there is much different than here at home I thought – more of a heavy mist where we have huge drops of rain. Dublin Zoo is the 3rd oldest zoo in the world and the lion that is used in MGM movie openings was actually born at this zoo way back when. I’m an animal lover so I just love zoos but this was a really great zoo and ended up taking a good chuck of our day to see everything. The rain stopped about halfway through our touring and it was beautiful after that. We got back on our bus and got off at Dame Street with the hopes of finding the Queen of Tarts. It is a tiny pastry shop/bakery that I read nothing but good things about so we just had to try it. It did not disappoint. The three of us shared a huge lemon tart (with tons of meringue) and a slice of chocolate cake. YUM! Then we booked it back to the hotel and relaxed for a little over an hour before our Welcome Reception and Dinner. It had been a great day so far.

It is so funny looking back at that first night because so many families in our group got very close and that first night we were all huddled close together in our families, almost avoiding the other adventurers. I met Clarabelle and her family that night - my 1st DIS-meet! We were ushered into the dining room for a very cute ice breaker game and an introduction by our Adventure Guides, Francesc and Andrew. We ended up sitting with a family who had 3 kids. One of their daughters would become BFFs with Claire and they were always together for the rest of the trip. Dinner was pretty good too – I think I stuck mostly to the steak and potatoes so I don’t remember much of what else they served. It was a buffet though. After dinner, we ventured out towards O’Connel Street, did a little shopping and made the loop around the Ha’Penny Bridge before heading back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. Oh and after dinner, ABD had left a little surprise in our room – a small carry-on duffel bag and mini binoculars!

Most Favorite Thing – Dublin Zoo
Least Favorite Thing – Not wanting to go to sleep because of the sun being out at 10 and just wanting to see everything
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:19 PM   #150
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June 18th, 2009 – Day 2, Life on the Liffey

The day started with another great breakfast from the buffet. It was our first day with the rest of the group and our first stop was Dublinia and Viking World. It was interesting to see, but not the highlight of my day. The kids seemed to enjoy it more. Then we walked past Christ church cathedral on our way to Dublin Castle. This was a really neat place to visit and I liked how the castle tour guides matched her spiel to the group, talking about the U.S. connections to Ireland, etc. A beautiful place as well. Back on to the coach for a short ride to the Guinness Storehouse for lunch and a tour. There were chicken tenders for the kids and Guinness stew or ham and cabbage for the rest of us. My mom could have licked her plate clean, she loved it so much, but I’m not a huge stew person. It was good though. We were given tickets to have a pint of Guinness with our meal or after the tour. I think most of the group (the adults anyway) opted to have their pint later on as I didn’t see many at lunch. After the tour, which was pretty informative, we had some free time to head up to the Gravity Bar and/or the gift shop. Most everyone went to the bar for their pint. It took a few minutes to get up there, another 10 to actually get served at the bar and by that point we had barely 15 minutes to drink our drinks, enjoy the views and browse the gift shop. I would have rather had less time at Dublinia in order to have more free time at Guinness.

We all boarded the coach and headed back to the Westin. We had about 10 minutes to run back to our rooms before meeting in the lobby to walk over to see the Book of Kells, at Trinity College which was literally a stone’s throw from the hotel. Great location. It looked like most of our group opted to head over, even though it was optional. There was no wait to get in and once we got inside, we were on our own for the rest of the evening. The book of kells was beautiful but in a way disappointing. I guess I thought it would look bigger? Not really sure. The library though was amazing. I wanted to touch every book. My family and I opted to walk around for a bit before dinner. I believe we were somewhere around Nassau Street(?) before heading back towards Grafton. Claire was really getting hungry and in desperate need of some “American” food, so we opted for Captain America’s, on Grafton St. It was very crowded and the food was decent. My mom and I both had burgers while Claire had chicken tenders and a milkshake (from a coupon we found on the hop on hop off bus tour). Overall a great meal. It was around this time that I headed into a jewelry shop on Grafton and made my first “big” purchase, a silver Claddagh ring. We decided to head back to our favorite pastry shop, The Queen of Tarts, to get some dessert for the room. I got a slice of carrot cake while my mom went for that lemon tart again. Claire opted for a chocolate lollipop from Butler’s Chocolate company. Once back at the hotel, we enjoyed our desserts while packing up our suitcases…we were heading to Killarney the next day!
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