|These photos are actually from the Belfast Airport but they looked just like this. Photo via|
Our first impression of the Dublin International Airport was that it wasn't very cosmopolitan. The customs and immigration and baggage claim areas for our international flight from Canada seemed like they were constructed in the 70s and hadn't seen much updating since. The baggage claim area in particular seemed really small and dark with low acoustic tile ceilings and an overall kind of shabby appearance.
|Customs and Immigration. I don't know if I was too excited or just too tired but I didn't take pictures at the airport when we arrived. I wish I had. I found this one with a Google image search.|
After getting my suitcase from the baggage claim and getting a couple of days worth of euros from the currency exchange we made our way to the taxi queue.
I grew up and have mostly lived in small towns for my whole life. Other than road trips I have not done a lot of traveling so I was pretty excited for my first cab ride ever. We all found the Irish cabbies to be very pleasant and charming and I think slightly amused by us. Anne sat in the front for the first taxi ride to Trinity College. Mom and I were in the back. We enjoyed visiting with our driver. We asked him about the rabbits at the airport and learned that they are Irish hares and what we have here at home are "just little booney rabbits,"
|Outside Trinity College. Dublin!|
|Entrance to Trinity College, Dublin.|
The drive through Dublin to Trinity College was slightly intense (and I was just a passenger!) The streets seemed narrower than what I am used to and the bicyclists were so close to the taxis and buses that I kept fearing one of them would lose an arm or something but none of them seemed worried. The traffic was quite busy and fast paced and of course we were on the opposite side of the road from what we are used to but our driver was more than competent and got us to our destination safely.
At Trinity we had breakfast at the Buttery student cafe (a real Irish breakfast with bacon and eggs and black pudding and scones). After that we were able to leave our bags at a left-luggage office before going to see The Book of Kells (this was a really fascinating and inspiring exhibit and we all enjoyed it, unfortunately no photos were allowed in the exhibit. There are some good pictures in the Wikipedia artictle I linked though) and then the awe-inspiring Long Room of Trinity College Library. Dream. Come. True.
See what I mean?! I'll wait for you to pick your jaw up off the floor.
I wish my photos did it justice but photos never do, do they? Anne and I had a great conversation with a docent at the library. He had just been to Oregon and Northern California so we swapped compliments about how we love each other's countries and then we asked him a bunch of questions. We learned that the library houses 200,000 books. It's the largest library in Ireland and holds copies of every book published in Ireland and Britain including many, many (mostly?) first editions. Books can't be "checked out" but can be requested by students and employees and are brought by librarians to a reading room where the requester can examine the texts. The docent told us about wanting to look at some maps so he requested a book of Sir Walter Raleigh's maps. When it was brought to him he noticed that not only was it a first edition, it was the author's first edition (the first of the first edition printing). Whoa.
|Selfie in The Long Room of the Trinity College Library|
After checking out Trinity College we decided to look around the neighborhood for just a few minutes before catching another cab and heading back to the airport to catch our afternoon flight to Donegal.
|Dublin on a gorgeous July morning.|
|I thought this was a fun little shop but it was closed.|
|I loved all the hand lettered signs in the window, especially the one promising the "keenest prices."|
|So many businesses had beautiful flowers above their store fronts.|
|I loved this sign on the door of a pub near Trinity College.|
On our cab ride back to the airport I sat in the front. Since I was the designated driver for the trip we thought it would be good if I got comfortable in the front seat. Our second cabbie was one of my favorites. He was a charming older fellow; friendly and jovial with a thick Irish accent that I wished I could bottle and take home with me. He was a fellow left-hander and taught me my first (and pretty much only) Gaelic word: Ciotóg (he pronounced it like k'tohg with a long "o" sound) which means left-handed.
When the driver dropped us off at the Aer Lingus terminal for our afternoon flight to Donegal we realized that maybe the Airport wasn't as small and shabby as first impressions had led us to believe. It is actually quite big and modern and beautiful--except the parts we were in.
To Be Continued. . .