The Not So Young but Very Jet- Lagged Dubliners, Part 1

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Helpful directional cues for the jet-lagged pedestrian proved life-saving

Helpful directional cues for the jet-lagged pedestrian proved life-saving

So… Gentle Reader… I should have brought more sundresses as Ireland is experiencing a massive heatwave. All the recommendations to bring wool hats and gloves were grossly over-exagerated and what I should have really stored up on was shorts and tank tops. On the streets, the Irish appeared to be be equally as fashion perplexed wearing black hose with mini skirts and tank tops with woolen socks and sandals (maybe that’s just a German trend making it to Irish shores). There were the fashion hold-outs who were sweating profusely in their heavy overcoats and woolen pants pretending not to notice the weather and their ensuing heat stroke and those Irish parading about as if this weather wasn’t so uncommon flaunting porcelain skin and the beginnings of melanoma. The Irish seemed to be noticing the hot weather but much like my mac computer that displays the spinning wheel as it processes too many bytes of information, the Irish were unable to comprehend exactly how to cope with perfectly sunny weather and no dampness.

Hot Weather and Blue Skies in Dublin

Hot Weather and Blue Skies in Dublin

Our first day in Dublin was solely about gnashing it out until 7pm. We were out of the airport around 9 am and with P and Big G glued to their electronic devices throughout the entire flight- we knew that bleary eyes, constant whining, and vociferous complaining were in our future. Once in Dublin, we bought tickets to the On/Off Bus which allowed you to tour Dublin from the comfort of an open-air, double decker bus. We left our Marrion Square Hotel and walked to the lovely St. Stephens Park with the “Lone Hendge” statue (more on this later), beautiful gardens and a great duck pond.

Inside St. Stephens Park

Inside St. Stephens Park

The Irish love their parks and seeing all of the folks slowly strolling through St. Stephen’s Park makes you realize how important community is for the Irish.

Artsy St. Stephens

Artsy St. Stephens

Between the pub and the park, the Irish talk with one another, about one another, and have a sense of the intricate web of human relationships. This is a country that is proud to be the birthplace of Obama’s great grandmother and celebrates his heritage with a museum in his ancestral home (okay and maybe it brings the town a couple of bucks too). Not only current relationships but the rolodex of past relationships are celebrated and remembered in Ireland. Perhaps this desire to remember those generations before and not to lose this familial history is what ties the Irish so strongly to their history and patriotism. Regardless of the cultural process of how Irish community has formed, a visitor can tell immediately how important a story, a hello, or a passing chat is to both old and young here.

From St. Stephen’s Park, we toured the “The Little Museum in Dublin” (perfect for jet-lagged kids), The Wax Museum, and finished the roundabout trip on the bus. The Littlest Museum in Dublin is a great, small museum across from St. Stephens that records Irish history through the modern times. From all the many Irish-American presidents to the difficult relationship with England, the museum chronicles Irish history through the 19th-20th centuries. The kids did well and seemed to learn a little bit of something before asking for something in the gift store and the ladies bathroom on the 3rd floor is quiet and solitary which is nice which provided a moment of serenity in day that wasnt.

Directly Across from St. Stephen's is the Little Museum of Dublin

Directly Across from St. Stephen’s is the Little Museum of Dublin

The wax museum is a wax museum; although there were some figures from Irish history that piqued my interest (as I had no idea who they were). The kids loved the figures that they recognized from books and movies and the museum kept them moving which was our top priority.

BB and her Lady Friend

BB and her Lady Friend

C and his Bond Friend

C and his Bond Friend

Little G and his Golum Friend

After the wax museum, we stopped by a lovely bakery for a bit of sugar and a rest. (I would like to dispel now any notion that the Irish can’t cook. Everything we ate- with the exception of a bad mussel towards the end of the trip- was superb and one of the best meals, I’ve ever had was in Dublin at the The Cliff House across from St. Stephen’s park- please go and try the cod). The sugar worked just long enough to grab the On/Off Bus once again, and then try (for all it was unsuccessful) to not fall asleep. When we finally reached our hotel again, Brown Bear had to carry her youngest who dead to the world while the rest of us could have been extras on The Walking Dead we were so heavy with exhaustion.

Little G and I managed to stay up until 7:00 after which time we allowed ourselves to finally sleep. I am fairly certain that neither of us moved in our beds the entire night which served us well the next day.

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Sleepy Heads on the On/Off Bus

Sleepy Heads on the On/Off Bus

Technology Tragedy at 31,000 Feet

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The flights commenced without a hitch. We had a slight delay in JFK, but Tripit (please see reviews) let us know far in advance of American Airlines and we stayed happily ensconced in the Admirals club. We boarded the flight from JFK to Dublin and were off without incident. I was sitting with Little G, Big G and P were sitting in front of us and Squeak was to the right of the two fellas. BB and her man-child (14 yo, lovely guy named C) were in the back of the plane with the rest of the sardines having not been able to acquire an upgrade. I settled in my seat with the steely focus and resolve of accumulating as much sleep as quickly as possible. The flight to Dublin was only 6 hours and we were to be landing early in the AM.

As a surprise for the G’s, I had purchased new iPad mini’s for them. My rationale was truly a selfish one- we had layovers and long flights and the movies that can be placed on one of those impressive machines put the AMC Megaplex movie theaters to shame. The movies made the G’s happy which in turn made my world a peaceful one- it’s a pick your battle sort of moment and the G’s won this skirmish.

So, there we were. Little G promising me that he was going to sleep after he ate dinner (which he did), P and Big G using “please and thank you’s” in front of me and Squeak flanking the fellas having visual confirmation of their movement. I went to sleep. A lovely sleep thanks to the help of the Bose Noise canceling head phones I kept on- really they are the Fort Knox of quiet (screaming babies, airplane carts, Squeak’s snoring) nothing get’s in. I was out. So imagine my surprise when I was forcefully pushed awake by Big G and Squeak. Bleary-eyed, I focused on a sputtering, confused and dying iPad mini that was valiantly trying to reboot despite it’s cracked screen and exposed componentry. Big G’s tears and incessant looping request to find the Apple Store in Dublin required immediate action. After Big G, told me how he had accidentally lowered his footrest onto the helpless mini and had calmed down somewhat, I said that while I understand how disappointing the loss of the machine was and how the accident was just that, an accident that there was an important lesson to be learned which was

“if you don’t take care of your things and be mindful of where you have placed things- accidents happen”


“we are not in Ireland to be on technology”

Case closed. End of story. Battle chosen and won. Score one for the parents.


Little G modeling the hypnotic power of the iPad mini

Packing Light, Packing Right

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Dear Reader,

no joke I feel like if I roll one more jacket, ball up one more pair of socks, or have to find that elusive perfect travel stuffie for a demanding child who can’t find it in his room- I may lock myself in a dark room never to return to the light. I have been packing, it seems, for months what with Big G’s going to camp and our trip to Ireland I have been rolling, zipping, and strapping through many of my waking hours. I have learned that there are a few indispensable items that make this mundane preparation a whole lot easier. So, here they are:

Packing Cubes

With two boys close in age it’s easy to begin to mix up socks, underwear, etc. These cubes are great when unpacking due to touring (such as our Ireland trip) is unadvisable. Big G has orange on this trip and Little G has blue. The guys know the drill and are able to keep their clothes organized using these cubes. Also, going through customs or being checked at security is much easier when clothes are organized.

I actually upgraded to these parachute material bags myself.

The go to packing item for any trip

The go to packing item for any trip

Four Wheel Roller Bag

Now maybe it’s not a necessity, but these bad boys are like the Fred Astaire’s of the luggage world. The kids maneuver them deftly and happily. I have been known to let a bag or two go down ramps watching kids and/or adults careen out of the way of the runaway bag. I would never recommend such a thing, however. I just purchased this bag and was amazed with what I could fit in it.

This bad boy comes in a great green color. I LOVE it. The fellas are using these bags which are smaller, lighter and easier to use

They also serve as a great seat when the tribe is tired. So, I know longer have to wonder what strange staph virus may be entering my child as he sits on the floor of the airport.

Multi-tasking Tumi For Wheeler

Multi-tasking Tumi For Wheeler

Okay, so may I state that the most idenspendsible travel gizmo that I never leave home without is Tripit.  Tripit lets me know when my flights leave, arrive, are delayed.  The app welcomes me to my destination, tells me the terminal of my connecting flight, and remis me that I am leaving (sadly at the age of 47 I now need that).  I love my iCal, NetFlix, and PvZ (anxiously awaiting #2) apps, but Tripit is the first app that would make my life harder not to  have while I was traveling.

The Ireland Itinerary

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July 17-27

Day 1: Grin and Bear the Jet Lag in Dublin

Okay… I admit. It’s a big mistake. Yes, I left the Ambien and Lunesta sitting right there on the kitchen counter. Yes, Dear Reader, I pop sleeping pills when jet lag is a possibility. I am not ashamed or even, remotely, considering changing my two days of Ambien and two Lunesta anti jet lag treatment except, of course, now in light of my massive nocturnal omission. Luckily, I remembered the Calm (fizzy magnesium drink that aids in sleep) so hopefully this all natural elixir will do the trick and not leave me grumpy and haggard. I already know that Brown Bear and Squeak are looking at me a bit cross-eyed.

This first day in Dublin we are on our own. There are falcon caves to discover and a jail to tour. I am sure that we will hit it hard and right despite the inevitable whining.

Day 2- Dublin
We will be hitting the Book of Kells and some Museums today. The rest of our traveling group arrives today.

Day 3- Dublin

2:00 pm We have a guide taking us through the streets of Dublin and then have dinner at a Dublin restaurant where we will meet the rest of our group.

Day 4- Killarney

See the Rock of Cashel where Guinness was started
Visit Blarney Castle and Kiss the Blarney Stone

Day 5

Either Hike the Gap of Dunloe or Experience a Working Sheep Farm and Dog Herding Exhibition (I wonder which one Big G will choose? Let’s not forget Little Tim Time from the RV trip)
Picnic Lunch
Take a boat to Ross Castle
Traditional dinner at a local Killarney pub

Day 6

Horseback riding or Kayaking in the Morning
Spa Treatments for adults in the afternoon (now we’re talking)

Day 7

Drive to the Dingle Peninsula where we will have a traditional, pub style lunch
Explore the town of dingle before checking into the Dromoland Castle

Day 8

Board a boat to Inisheer Island, one of the three Aran Island, where we will have a hiking tour
See the Cliffs of Moher from the water
Return to Dromoland Castle for a traditional Irish dinner

Day 9

Return to Dublin to catch a 8 am flight back to the United States

Day 10
Leave Dublin
Squeak and Big G go to Washington State so that Big G can go straight to camp
Brown Bear and C go to NYC so that C can go to camp
And I, Dear Reader, go with Little G and P back home to California


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At 6am, we had done it. Four kids, three adults, assorted carry-on items, technology of all manners were in a car effortlessly sailing down the 405 with no traffic and quiet children (I don’t know which was the greater rarity). The packing had gone late last night as I tried feverishly and unsuccessfully to load movies onto the boys new technology. We were all traveling “lite” which means the bags were spring-loaded with the absolute maximum a carry-on could allow. I was tired which probably made the following exchange funnier than it is, but it managed to get a car full of sleepy kids and adults giggling.

“I know a word in Latin” chimed Big G

“Really???” responded a bemused chorus of adults and children

“capahdahdidem” Big G stated proudly

“Do you mean Carpe Diem?” laughed C

“Well, Yeah” Big G announced “that’s what I said”

“Latin’s a dead language” announced Squeak

And I contend that with Big G is becoming the Jack Kevorkian of this ancient language gently morphing it into obscurity.

So, here’s to the beginning of another adventure and let’s all remember to Capahdadidem.