Well, thanks to volcanic ash (not the riots), my flight to Athens was cancelled. Since Turkey has also closed most of its airspace, I decided against Istanbul.
Since this was to be a pleasure rather than a research trip, I rebooked to go to Dublin at the end of the month. I won't rent a car because I'd kill people if I drove on the 'wrong' side of the road, so I will probably stay based in Dublin and take trains. First of all, which is the best Marriott in Dublin? Any hints on sightseeing that can be done via public transportation.
Thanks in advance,
"My heart is in Ireland, it's there I long to be.
Her hills and her valleys are calling to me..."
Sorry to hear Greece and Turkey aren't in the cards this time around, Professor. But, Ireland is another great choice. Beautiful!!!
I'm afraid your only Marriott choice for Dublin city center is the Shellbourne but it looks very, very nice!!! And lots to do in Dublin... Dublin Castle, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, literary tours, etc. and... of course, a Guiness brewery tour!
You may want to take a day tour, this one looks quite interesting (although I've never taken it). I've always wanted to see St. Kevin's... didn't get there when I was in Ireland. But this one seems to cover quite a bit in one day.
Here's a little info about St. Kevin's with lots of photos (click on the link above the map).
Thanks so much, NewHilton -- I totally rely on my Insiders' friends when I'm going to places I've never been. Strangely, while I have spent a total of years of my life in France, Italy and other parts of the Continent, the only parts of the UK I have visited are London, Yorkshire and Chester. I've never made it to Wales (but want to), but first comes Ireland. (And lest I raise any hackles, I'm not referring to Ireland as part of the UK.)
I'm looking forward to any and all suggestions from you and others!
Thanks for the ideas! I actually had to make a pretty quick decision because Delta gave me a full refund thanks to volcanic ash -- so unless there is more of it, I'm in and out of Dublin.
What I am planning to do since there is no way I will try driving on the left (I only learned to drive at age 48; only actually started driving at age 51; and while I am now a really good driver, I am also horribly uncoordinated). So since it's my first trip to Ireland, I'll do what I have done in other places on first visits -- take coach sightseeing tours.
I find coach tours to be very variable, some great, some awful. In Greece, they were fantastic because Greek tour guides go through extensive schooling; Rome is iffier. I wouldn't even think of a tour in France because I am fluent and rent cars there regularly. But oddly enough, I only started to like London (not lots, but some) after taking some guided tours. They were mixed quality, but the combination of not having to drive and some rest to see the countryside en route was what good me to finally say England was OK. (Despite being entirely Swiss-German background, I only truly feel comfortable in France and Italy.)
Back to your point -- it looks like there are several tours to the places you mention. Normally I would take trains, but it sounds from the guidebooks I've gotten that that might take up too much time for a first visit. Since it's not a research trip, it's entirely on my own finances. So I figure I'll get the most I can out of a 6-day trip and maybe sometime I'll be able to go back :).
Thanks for your (always) wonderful tips. I just noticed Greece is in bad shape again in terms of tourism -- two more serious events in the past week. Alas, will the Elgin Marbles ever return?
Getting around in Dublin via public transportation is very easy. Go to the Baggage Claim area of Dublin airport (lower level) and check out the information center. There is a bus to City Centre for around 6 Euro. It's really clean and an express (not like the normal City busses). It drops you off on the main drag in the City Centre. From there, you can either take a taxi or walk to most destinations. If you take it back...almost all the tour buses take off from the Airport. (If I remember...it's a white charter bus with green lettering on the side. City buses are red/white and double deckers). I recommend you take one of the Dublin hop on/off buses for a day to get your bearings.
prof, I'm looking for info on Dublin...did you ever take this trip?
Sorry to take so long to get back to you -- I've been teaching all week and tomorrow morning then fly to Greece for fall break.
I stayed at the Marriott Shelbourne, but was not happy at all with it -- which earned me numerous rebukes from MRIs who like it a lot. But I had a small room with a very small bed length (I'm 5'6 and my feet hung over the bottom), and stairs I had to climb up and down (which is not very safe for me) to get to the CL. Dublin didn't entrance me, though not surprising considering its troubled history. I did what I do when first in foreign countries where I don't know the language (which to some degree held in Ireland) and took tours, since I knew I wouldn't be back (Ireland is way out of my research fields). I went to Galway and the Cliffs of Moher on the West Coast (amazing -- I would have preferred to stay in Galway, I think). I also took an amazing tour that went to medieval abbey ruins, very well preserved in the southeast of Ireland. Alas, it was about 4 years ago and I can't remember the names of the places we passed through. I do remember that one of the first stops outside of Dublin (albeit brief) was maritime with palm trees. I simply couldn't fathom how there could be living palm trees in Ireland.
Sorry I can't be of more help!