We arrived in Dublin, Ireland, after an all-night flight from DFW to London Heathrow (on British Airways), then a short flight from London to Dublin (on Aer Lingus). As we expected, it was cool and rainy when we arrived in Dublin. Our checked luggage was already on the carousel when we arrived at the baggage claim area. We exited the secure area of the airport and found TJ waiting for us with a Tauck sign, and an iPad with our names on it.
The ride to our hotel from the airport took about 30 minutes, but was quite comfortable in TJ's new E-class Mercedes. When we arrived at Conrad Dublin, check-in was quick and efficient. We were recognized as Tauck Guests and given a packet from our Tauck Tour Director along with our room keys. When you travel with Tauck, they take care of all of the details.
Inside our packet was a schedule informing us of a cocktail reception and dinner at 6:15. That only gave us a couple of hours for a much needed nap after having been up all night on our flight! By 6:15, we were back in the lobby of the hotel where 65 other Tauck guests had gathered for the short walk to our evening’s festivities.
Tauck has divided guests on this trip into three groups, with each group staying at a different hotel. This is a great technique to keep functions from feeling over-crowded. Soon, our Tour Director, Dale, was leading us on a short 15-minute walk past St. Stephen's Green, a beautiful park dating back to 1663.
Soon, we arrive at Cliff Townhouse where we find an open bar and some of the most delicious hors d'oeuvres I have ever tasted. There was a BBQ-glazed pork belly that was to die for. Guests mixed and mingled while enjoying their favorite cocktail, wine or pint of Guinness.
Our evening meal was held on the ground floor of Cliff Townhouse. The evening menu offered a choice of starter, main course and dessert. Complimentary red and white wines were poured during dinner.
Before dinner was served, we were entertained by Irish singers and dancers performing traditional songs and dances. A few Tauck guests even got into the act when they joined the dancers on the floor for a special Irish jig. During dinner, we sat next to a gentleman who had traveled all the way from Queenstown, New Zealand. His journey consisted of four different flights with more than 25 hours of flying time!
By the time dinner was over, jet lag was setting in and we were pretty tired. We decided to walk back to the hotel, even though we were not entirely sure how to get there. Tauck Directors offered to get taxis for any guests who did not want to walk back, but we decided to give it a try. We found our hotel after only a couple of wrong turns during the walk. Dublin feels like a "safe" city in which to walk, at least in this part of town. Once back in our room, we wasted no time climbing into the comfortable beds for some much needed sleep. Tomorrow, Tauck has a morning of exploring planned for us. More to come!