The reason for this trip is to have a visit to Dublin and see what it is like for our family… sort of an exploration & fact finding trip. The kids think it is just for a trip – but it’s really to see what it is like as we may be moving here as a family at the end of the summer.
Sleep Park & Fly at Premier Inn Stansted
As our flight to Dublin was on Wednesday am at 8:05 am, we decided to book the Sleep, Park & Fly offer at the Premier Inn, Stansted. The cost of the one hotel room including 4 nights parking was about £70. I can’t imagine how the kids would be if we had to leave North Norfolk, UK to get to Stansted to be at the airport at 6:45 am? After school, we picked up my father-in-law and we drove down. In total it was about 2 hours, so it was not so bad. In fact, Maebh slept nearly the entire time.
The hotel itself was great too. We had a family room with three beds all in a row. Of course, both kids immediately say they want to sleep with me – as we are the “Budgies” – Poor Nils, ha ha.
We went out for a bite to eat in a simple bar/pub and then by the time we had eaten and were back at the hotel it was 7:30 pm. The food was okay – when we got back, truthfully the menu looked better at the hotel restaurant. A bit early for the adults to go to bed, but Nils read his book in the dark with his ipod light. So need to get him that little light which clips onto the book or better yet an e-reader. Update: got him the light – and it was never used – waste of money! It was probably around 8:00 by the time we all went to sleep and did not wake up until 6 am the next morning! It was perfect and we’re so happy we did it. Parking at the long term lot and then a quick bus ride to the terminal was super easy.
The kids were very excited to be going on the plane. While they’ve been on flights before – heck we moved from America to UK, it was exciting still. They thought it was cool to see the plane pull up at the gate and the steps pulled up to the plane. Not sure why, probably liability but you really don’t walk outside to the plane the way we have in Europe.
Onboard, Maebh sat with me and Soren with Nils. Though Soren asked to switch on the trip home.
While the flight was only about an hour, that is a long time to ask a 3 year old to stay still, in her seat, with belt on, don’t kick the chair in front, and do not yell. We did some drawing and practicing her letters but she was so tired, she was a bit fussy towards the end.
Now that I think about it, I’m not looking forward to such a long haul like I’ll have going to America in April. We flew on Ryan Air – the low cost, sensible airline which makes you pay extra for every item – but I’m not complaining at all – as our flights were £20 per person, each way. I personally like to fly AerLingus, but the cost was much higher for this trip. Dutch pilot and the crew were very nice – trying to sell everything from newspapers, drinks and even scratch tickets! J Those I would have bought had I had cash on me.
We did have a minor hiccup – we paid a lot (too much) for one checked luggage bag – which had 15 kilo limit. Not having a scale [very intentional], I packed clothes for the four of us for five nights. Not taking into account that our suitcase is quite heavy, we were over by 6 kilos. So they were going to charge us £60.00 – forget it! We opened our carry-on bags and filled them up with jeans and other items inside the checked luggage to get it lower. Clearly we shouldn’t have brought that large bag… as you are allowed each to have a carry on suitcase plus a shopping bag per passenger. These large bags are for flying International really… so the first them I’m going to buy us all is a small carry on suitcase each. IKEA had carry on bags and they were very cute and handy. Might just have to get one for the return journey and then a few of them for future trips. I foresee some future trips from Stansted soon – France, Italy and Spain from £17. per person, each way! We need to do this while we’re still living in Europe.
Dublin Day One
We arrived at the airport, got a stamp in my passport, got our bag and took the bus to the city center to our hotel. A taxi for 5 of us was going to take nearly an hour, so instead we hopped on the AirCoach to Connelly Street. We checked in to the Jury’s Inn Custom House – which was perfect. Nice hotel, huge room with three beds and great bathroom. With the LUAS George’s Bank stop right behind the hotel, it’s made getting around easy, plus super fun for the kids. Having seen some other hotels, I’m happy that we chose this one and got a great deal per night!
|Janie Johnson Famine Ship Museum & Our hotel in the background.|
Buggy Rental at The Stork Exchange Dublin Airport
I didn’t want to take our buggy with us, I decided to rent one. So I found a baby item rental business, The Stork Exchange, catering to travellers who return or are here to Ireland for holidays – it was perfect. The exact same thing which I said I wanted to do on Ibiza, when we were there with Soren at 6 months old. Anyway, Olivia, the woman who owns it, met us at the hotel at 11 am with two options. A Quinny Zapp Extra and I think a MacLaren. Being a fan of Quinny and owning the Buzz & Zapp, I chose the Zapp. So friendly, accommodating with delivery and pick up and gave me a list of recommendations for things to do during our visit. So easy and friendly – will use again and totally recommend to anyone traveling to Dublin in need of kid equipment.
We decided to go out and walk around the city and have lunch. We left the hotel, walked through Trinity College, the oldest University in Ireland, by some pieces of art, super old buildings and the Book of Kells.
We made our way over to Temple Bar area were we had lunch – total tourist trap.
I was tempted to eat in the actual “famous” Temple Bar, but instead across from it. Soren and Maebh shared Oak Smoked salmon with brown bread (though she slept through most of it.) Nils had fish & chips and I had a side salad and seafood chowder – which I always get to compare. The food was good – a little pricey, but that is expected in such a tourist destination.
We then walked over to the Ha’Penny Bridge for some photos. It was actually one of Soren’s homework assignments from his trip was to find it. Which turned into going on it… and we sent a postcard to his teacher from him. If it didn’t have steps, Maebh and I would have joined.
Then we walked down Grafton Street (famous shopping street) into St. Stephen’s Green.
Of course, we stopped at the playground in the park. At first Maebh was a bit shy and didn’t want to venture off, but it was only about 5 minutes until she was have a great time playing. Soren on the other hand loved it… he’s a great climber, spinning, always going and going and making me nervous.
There were a couple groups of school children there. One group had three “teachers” or supervisors who were all so busy on their smart phones, chatting and eating lunch – all the time they never even looked up at the kids to see. I joked with Nils that I’d like to see what school they go to, so we can avoid that school all together if we ever move to Dublin.
After that we walked across to Merrion Square, another city park, which is well-known for three sides of the park being lined by the famous red brick Georgian townhouses. It also has a status of the famous writer and poet Oscar Wilde, who was born across the street.
We then walked on to the Pearse Hotel, through a small tunnel where Nils is having an event on Thursday & Friday, so he had to get a few things in order. Once that was done, we walked back up towards the Quay and Docks and stopped off for a beer at the Ferryman pub. The kids spent time in the window applauding for those on bicycles who wore helmets – which were not too many!
Then we walked across to the Samuel Becket Bridge, which was built in Rotterdam at a whopping cost of 60 MILLION EUROS! Okay so apparently it’s capable of opening through an angle of 90 degrees allowing shops to pass through, but I think that is a lot of money for a bridge. Nils had to then return to the hotel for a quick meeting and then we were free to go have dinner. I chose Korean BBQ. When we lived in America, we’d eat Korean BBQ quite a bit. There is no such thing in North Norfolk, UK, so when I heard there was a good one here in Dublin, I knew we had to go there. So we caught the LUAS red line from George’s Dock (just behind our hotel) to Jervis Street and walked up to Capel Street. The place was filled with only Koreans – which is a great sign. It was very yummy – we got the mixed BBQ platter which included chicken, pork bellys, spicy beef, lamb and bulgogi – my favorite. It came with all the sides like bean paste, lettuce, mung beans, seaweed and kimchee, dumplings and rice – all so yummy and the kids enjoyed the chopsticks.
Not long after this trip, did we make the decision that we’d finish the school year in the UK and we’d be moving our family to Dublin. While we do enjoy North Norfolk, we need to do what is best for Nils’ work and it’s the move from the UK to Ireland.