Boomeresque:Definition
1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

Eire (No, Not Pennsylvania) — Ireland, The Emerald Isle

by Suzanne Fluhr on July 3, 2012 · 18 comments

Dublin Door Knocker

Our six hour, forty-one minute flight from Philadelphia, PA to Dublin, Ireland was  uneventful except for:

  • The screaming babies (yes, that’s plural);
  • The weapon size wrench the guy next to us found in his seat;
  • The poor little kid who threw up down the aisle on her way to the bathroom—and the poor flight attendants who had to put on rubber gloves and clean it up; and,
  • The large woman in the seat in front of me who somehow over-rode the normal, already ridiculously small clearance between rows when she reclined her seat basically into my lap where she remained for most of the flight.

Dublin was the first stop of our 25 day European sojourn, courtesy of some speaking gigs for my husband, Steve, while I happily fulfilled my Boomeresque role as his trailing spouse/trip planner. After reading the TripAdvisor reviews of the hotel picked by his Dublin conference organizers, I vetoed their suggestion because it was:

  • a half hour walk from central Dublin,
  •  managed to inspire mostly vituperative TripAdvisor reviews; and,
  • was $44 per night more expensive than the place I found.

We ended up at Premier Suites Dublin, an apartment hotel, that was right in central Dublin–south of the Liffey, a half block from a lovely city park, Saint Stephens Green.

Saint Stephen’s Green–Spring Flowers

Most flights to Ireland (and to western Europe in general) leave in the evening from the east coast of the United States.   However, Ireland is really not that far away—a mere 3,265 miles (or 5,255 kilometers) “as the crow flies.”  Of course, the crow is fast asleep in its nest and you’re the one “flying” at 37,000 feet in a metal tube.  A flight that leaves Philly at 8:15 PM, ends up in Dublin at around 7:00 A.M.  For the passengers whose bodies are still clinging to east coast U.S. time, it’s 2:00 A.M.-ish and there are still eight hours until the standard 3:00 P.M. hotel check-in time.

Our meeting with an Irish immigration officer was perfunctory and then we were on our own in an English speaking country with bilingual signs — English and what looked like perhaps—-Klingon? Of course, the other language was Irish Gaelic, and even though we found that few Dubliners understood it despite studying it for twelve years in school, the fight for Irish independence (finally granted to southern Ireland in 1922) is still fresh enough that the formerly oppressed are all about reclaiming their language and culture which the British had done their best to eradicate.

Irish Gaelic Sign

Our first “chat” with an Irishman was with our taxi driver from the airport.  In many ways he epitomized our experience of the “national character.”   (I’m obviously way over-generalizing here, but this is a blog post, not a book).  He was driving his own car as a taxi although it seemed to have all the necessary real taxi accouterments—license with photo (√), GPS (√) and most convincingly, a fare meter (√).  He told us that he had been made redundant (i.e. laid off) from his job and only drives the taxi on the weekends.  During the week, he stays home and takes care of his two little boys ages two and four while his wife works. He explained that she has a good civil service job in the probate office which seemed at least somewhat “bank-crisis” proof since people were still insisting on dying. He explained that the country was really hurting due to the “bank crisis”, but that he felt blessed and saw the opportunity to spend time with his young children as a silver lining.

No one we spoke to in Ireland referred opaquely to “The Recession” as we are wont to do here across the Pond.  Every person spoke of the crisis caused by the banks, leaving no doubt as to who they consider responsible for the collapse of the “Celtic Tiger” economy Ireland had enjoyed for over a decade before 2008.

Saint Stephen’s Green – Swan vs. Sea Gull Stare Down

Sure enough, our room was not ready for check in. Although we had been fed some pastry-like substance for “breakfast” on the airplane, the desk clerk sent us around the corner to Foley’s Bar (yes, “Bar”, not “Pub”) for an authentic Irish breakfast. I was in that sleep-deprived, grody feeling, slightly disoriented fugue state that you can probably relate to if you have ever flown overnight, east across the Atlantic and five time zones in an economy airplane seat.  Consequently, the 9:30 A.M. scene at Foley’s seemed “odd”—- but it might well have been me who was “odd”.

Foley’s really was a bar, but for breakfast, it was being “manned” by an Asian lass.  The piped in music was an eclectic melange of American tunes of diverse age and genre and the only other customers seemed to be Americans in a dazed state similar to ours.  I couldn’t deal with anything other than scrambled eggs, toast and tea, but Steve hit the gastronomic ground running—fried eggs, fried potatoes, fried sausage, fried bacon and a grilled (or was it fried ?) tomato.  There was also something he could not identify, but I knew instantly from my time living in Colombia that it was none other than blood pudding sausage—-just what one’s body is craving at 4:30 A.M.—yum.

Dublin Georgian Houses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After our Irish breakfast we walked around to acquaint ourselves with our Georgian Dublin neighborhood before stumbling back to our hotel at around 2:00 P.M.  This is when a good leprechaun smiled upon us and the desk clerk said we had been upgraded to a two bedroom suite.  So, although we are accustomed to smallish European hotel rooms,  there we were, two people with two bedrooms, two full bathrooms and a large living room/dining room/ kitchen combo.  The kitchen was fully equipped (not that we did any cooking) and most impressively, had a clothes washer/dryer.

One theory about trans-Atlantic travel maintains that one should struggle to stay awake at all costs until at least 9:00 P.M. to start adjusting to the new time zone.  That is not the theory to which we ascribe, so we promptly collapsed for a two hour nap followed by a shower to try to stay awake until at least a semi-respectable time.

Figuring we had already had enough blood pudding for one day (and maybe forever), we ended up in an Italian pizza restaurant for dinner.  After one glass of wine, any pretense that we were going to go out to a pub looking for traditional Irish music vanished.  Given that sunset is at 10:00 P.M. at Dublin’s latitude in mid-May, Mr. and Mrs. Excitement were lights out before dark on their first night in Ireland.

Mrs. Excitement Holding Up a St. Stephen’s Green Tree (or Vice Versa)

 Share with us how have you fared on your first day of a long trip.  Comment below.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Roz Warren July 3, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Good post. I enjoyed it, although I usually don’t like reading about travel. I’m still a little bit concerned about that wrench on the airplane… And from now on, I’m going to start calling you Mrs. Excitement.

Reply

Suzanne Fluhr Just One Boomer July 3, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Roz, you now set the bar for my travel writing. The true test of a piece: will Roz make it through to the end even though she doesn’t like reading about travel.

Yes, the wrench was disturbing. It was a really big wrench.

I wish I could claim that the “Mrs. Excitement” moniker is an exaggeration.

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L Sorensen-Jolink July 4, 2012 at 12:15 am

Don’t worry about the wrench: the mechanic who used it to fix the seat in front of you so that it could fully recline must have put it down and forgotten it!

As a Pan Am purser, I flew trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific flights for eight years. I found that the best single (not the only) remedy for post-flight exhaustion and disorientation was to come as close as possible to drinking 8 oz. of water every hour during, and for each of the 24 hours after, the flight. When it was time to sleep (locally), I put a big container of water and a big glass at my bedside and had my alarm awaken me every 3 hours for a drink.

It’ll be interesting to see if the humidifiers on the Dreamliner (Boeing 787) significantly lessen the dehydration passengers have long suffered during and after long flights in a zero-humidity environment.

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Suzanne Fluhr Just One Boomer July 4, 2012 at 1:37 am

Thanks for the jet lag tip, but I honestly don’t think I could manage all that water—especially with the ratio of bathrooms to economy passengers. I do better traveling west.

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Beth July 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Great post as always, Suzanne! We, too, are Mr. and Mrs. Excitement! We were trying to stay awake as long as possible on our first trip abroad. We dropped our bags off at the hotel in Paris until check in time, ate a nice breakfast, walked around for as long as our legs would allow, and then boarded our “included” sightseeing bus of Paris sights. When I glanced over at my husband and then 13 year old daughter, they were both sound asleep! When time finally came to check in, we all crashed for the rest of the day, waking in time for a light Parisienne dinner.

I do agree with the earlier comment about water. I always try to drink as much as possible before, during, and after a flight. Melatonin is also helpful in getting your body clock to match the time zone quicker.

As for the wrench? I like the seat repair theory.

Looking forward to more of your adventures and posts! Thanks for always giving me a good smile and a chuckle.

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Suzanne Fluhr Just One Boomer July 4, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Thanks, Beth. The truth is I have some kind of circadian rhythm disorder which is not good when I’m trying to maintain the same schedule as everyone else, but which also means I am not terribly affected by jet lag since I don’t feel sleepy when I’m supposed to anyway.

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Madaline Fluhr July 5, 2012 at 4:53 am

Well, I must say, that Irish breakfast sounds very “English”. At least I remember consuming my fair share of fried tomatoes as part of many a breakfast and “tea” as in more-than-a-snack-less-than-a-full-blown-dinner “tea” in the pm – not just a cuppa…..Does all of Ireland eat similarly – is food different in Northern Ireland than the rest of Ireland? Just wondering if the bitterest of enemies are often comforted by the same “specialities” (as I believe they refer to “specialties” over there) that they all grew up on along with their political differences….

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Suzanne Fluhr Just One Boomer July 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Great observation. I was thinking exactly the same thing as I downed quite a few scones slathered in clotted cream and jam in Ireland. British and Irish comfort food are quite one and the same and an English person would feel quite at home in an Irish pub—until the traditional Irish music started.

What other arch enemies can you think of who love the same cuisine? Israelis and Middle Eastern Arabs seem to chow down on the same Mediterranean fare.

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Eileen Williams July 9, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I haven’t yet made it to Ireland. It’s on my bucket list and I hope to follow in your footsteps and make it over there soon. I do, however, hope to avoid the plane trip from hell–barf in an enclosed environment can make for a very nasty flight!

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Suzanne Fluhr Just One Boomer July 10, 2012 at 2:04 am

It’s definitely worth gritting your teeth and getting through the flight to be able to visit the Emerald Isle.

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Jeremy July 9, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Wow I didn’t know they actually write signs in Gaelic too. I thought it was just some drunken slurry locals use at the pub and somehow manage to understand.

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Suzanne Fluhr Just One Boomer July 10, 2012 at 2:00 am

It is one of the official languages in Ireland and there are parts if Ireland where it is the first language. You can hear it on the radio, like Catalan in Catalunya in Spain.

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Sala July 13, 2012 at 7:34 am

Suzanne,
I just love your travels. And…are you serious? It’s only 6 hours to Ireland from Philly? That is doable by any stretch of the imagination. Great blog!

Sala

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Suzanne Fluhr Just One Boomer July 13, 2012 at 11:23 am

It takes less time flying east because the prevailing winds are from the west. Thanks for your comment, Sala. Write on!

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Paula Londe (Americana the Beautiful) August 15, 2012 at 12:52 am

Love the perspective that the driver gets to spend time with his kids. Gender roles be damned!

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Patti July 28, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Ireland is on my “must see” list – someday! I hate (really hate) it when the person in front of me fully reclines their seat and leaves it that way for the duration of the flight. On some planes one literally cannot move when the seat in front of you is reclined. I refer to these people as having “all about me” syndrome!

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr August 2, 2013 at 7:36 pm

I hope you get to make your trip to Ireland. It is indeed a green and lovely land.

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