Monday, 25 June 2012

Flying into Ireland

Hey Everyone,

So you've read my blogs about Europe and now it's time to hear all about what I've been up to in Ireland.
Our Paddywagon bus
Ireland is divided up into 32 counties: 26 in the Republic (Southern) and 6 in Northern Ireland and has a population of around 6.2 million. Ireland is just about as far west as you can go in Europe with the next stop being North America. Languages include English and the traditional spoken language of Ireland-Gaelic. Religion has always played a pivotal role in Ireland. About 90% of the people in the republic are Roman Catholic, followed by 3% Protestant. In the north the breakdown is about 53% Protestant and 44% Catholic. Ireland has many famous writers and has had a huge impact on world literature it's writers include Ocar Wilde, WB Yeats, Frank McCourt and many more. Ireland is famous for it's traditional Irish music-played on instruments such as the bodhan (a flat goatskin drum), villeann (elbow) pipes, flute and fiddle and is an aspect of Irish culture that you can not miss whilst travelling through the country. Some famous musicians include Van Morrison, Sinead O'connor, U2, the Cranberries and the Corrs. Ireland is known for it's food including Irish Stew, soda bread, champ (Northern Irish dish of potatoes mashed with spring onions) and also it's Guinness and Irish Whiskey (Jamieson's, Bushmills and Cooley's).

Flying from London to Dublin:
So I woke up at Holly's really early ready to catch the tube from Barlby road to Gatwick International Airport. I think my flight was leaving at around 7.30am and I was stressing because I had never been to the airport before and wasn't too sure how to get there or how long it took. I trekked with my backpack and got off a couple of bus stops to early to catch the tube to Victoria Station from Ladbroke Grove which was the first bit of bad luck for that morning. I ended up getting to Victoria station and being surrounded by travellers and people moving around quickly trying to catch connecting trains/tubes. I made my way to the tickets counter and the line was huge to purchase tickets for the Gatwick Express train. The Gatwick Express takes around 30 minutes and costs 18 pounds which is really expensive but it got me straight to the airport. I got onto the Gatwick express stressing I wouldn't make my flight as I didn't know how far away from Victoria station it actually was...I sat with my backpack next to me and leaned my head against the bag. I accidentally fell asleep on the and woke up to a nice man who was also travelling to the airport patting me on the shoulder and telling me we had reached our destination.

I got off the train and had to ask for directions to the international airport and then struggled to find the Ryan Air counter I needed to check in. I eventually found it after walking past the small sign several times already!!I got to the counter and the guy immediately sent me to another counter because he said I didn't have the printed out ticket that I needed to board the plane. I hadn't flown with this airline before and didn't realise how strict they were about actually having the the printed out e-ticket. It was too early to print it out at an Internet cafe that morning and we didn't have a printer at Holly's house. He was so rude when he sent me away and said I had 15 minutes to check in and I still had to pay 60 pounds to get my ticket printed. 60 pounds WTF!!!!! When I got to the counter they lady was really nice and asked if I had the e-ticket saved somewhere that she could print it off for me for 10 pounds. I had already emailed it to myself so I quickly got her to print it off and I went back to check in with the mean man on the previous counter. I quickly checked my bag in with 10 minutes to spare.

When I was walking through the metal detectors at Gatwick something I was wearing set the sensors off so I had to take my shoes off and get patted down from head to toe in front of everyone before being allowed to pass through and collect my hand luggage. When I got to the gate lounge everyone was already standing and I lined up as one of the last people to board the plane. I was so exhausted and stressed that as soon as I got onto the plane I fell asleep. The flight took around an hour to get into Dublin which was super fast and I collected my backpack and walked towards to bus terminal where my free Paddywagon bus was collecting people from. I was standing around with a bunch of other people waiting to be picked up from a range of tours and was relieved when I saw my big green bus with Paddywagon written all over it show up.

The hostel had a bus shuttle which dropped off and collected people every two hours from the airport and that day I got on with around 4 other people. It dropped us off just around the corner from Paddy's Palace where we were staying in Dublin and I had to wait in the front reception area for around 30 minutes until I could check into my room. That day I arrived in my 10 pound a night, 8 bedroom room and was the only one there as the other travellers must have been out sight seeing. The room was pretty basic and was right near a train crossing which made it very noisy. Later on a German boy entered the room and started chatting to me and showing me some of his pictures of Ireland. I was excited to begin my '6 Day All Ireland Tour' but was so tired after my huge morning of tubes, trains and flights to get to Dublin. After the German guy left I decided I was going to have a sleep to relax as I knew I was in for a huge 6 day tour. I ended up sleeping for 7 hours and woke up when it was dark. I walked and got some noodles from the supermarket and cooked them in the communal kitchen at the hostel. I started to stress about not waking up the next morning as I forgotten my phone charger and my iphone had already run out of battery during the day. Thank god there was an Asian girl in the room when I returned after dinner and I asked her could she please wake me up when she had to wake up at 6.30am the next morning. After dinner I went to sleep all ready to start my Paddywagon tour of Ireland the next day.

Love The Unorganised Flying Backpacker

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