20 Hours from New York to Adare, Ireland
Mar 17, 2007
|Leaving On A Jet Plane
Friday the 16th was a very snowy, sleety day in New York. Our flight from New York to Shannon was scheduled to leave JFK at 8:01 p.m. We weren't sure if the flight would be cancelled because of the weather but decided to stick to our schedule until we learned differently.
We left midtown New York a little after 4:00 p.m.--it took us 2 1/2 hours to get to the airport because of the weather and all the Friday rush hour traffic. It was an adventurous trip in the town car due to the slush and snow on the roads and the constant sleet. Our driver actually spun out on a bridge and after spinning back and forth three times he brought it under control. We were all amazed that the car never hit the bridge on either side.
The airline (Aer Lingus) assured us the flight was on time, so we hung around the gate area expecting to board at any time. It got later and later and eventually they changed the flight time to 9:15 p.m. When we finally started boarding around 8:45, who walks past us but the pilot!!! Turns out that's one of the reasons for the delay.
When we found our seats on the plane we were pleased to see that we each had a whole empty row beside us (4 seats), so we could stretch out and sleep. We became unhappy, however, when we were informed by the pilot that we had to wait at the gate for about an hour because we had lost our take-off slot. Then we had to go for de-icing, which took another hour or so. We finally took off at 11:30 p.m. -- 3 1/2 hours after the originally scheduled departure time. We later found out that very few flights actually made it out this night. The rest of the flights were cancelled. CNN said over 100,000 people had flights cancelled.
Arriving In Ireland
The flight was uneventful until 15 minutes before landing when the pilot said, "We will be landing soon in Dublin." DUBLIN??!! We were supposed to go to Shannon! He said it was due to regulations concerning length-of-duty time for pilots (due to the delay on the ground in NY plus the flight time), but when that didn't fly (so to speak) said that it was an operational decision. None of it made sense to us, since Shannon is closer than Dublin to the States. Most of the passengers were booked to Shannon, and the rest would have continued on to Dublin. They held us (the Shannon passengers) on the plane while they printed boarding passes for us to continue on to Shannon on a flight scheduled to leave at 12:00 noon. That took quite some time, until about 11:15 a.m. when we were finally able to get off the plane.
We received our boarding passes and made our way through passport control and looked for an ATM to get some cash. We found one that was out of order, so we decided we would go to the little store and get water and snacks using our credit cards. Lo and behold, they didn't take credit cards! Janie and Mieke went to the currency exchange so we would have cash to spend, and we were able to finally buy our water.
We made our way to the gate for our flight to Shannon. After waiting a really long time, the gate person announced that it would be at least another hour before the flight would leave. She said they were scrambling to find a pilot and crew! The whole crowd groaned and became upset and were arguing while the gate attendant was trying to say she didn't know anything. Finally one gentleman passenger (we thought he must be a lawyer!) became the spokesperson for all of us, demanding better communication, no lies, and compensation. (We'll have to see how that goes!)
We're Finally In Shannon!
The flight finally left a little after 1:00 p.m. and we arrived in Shannon an hour later. We made our way through passport control (again) and waited another half an hour for our luggage. Then we arranged for the rental car (Dan Dooley) and walked through the rain and wind to the car. We enjoyed unfamiliar signs like 'Way Out' instead of Exit. Janie was our driver, and she did really well with the driving on the left and the "roundabouts," even though there was a lot of backseat driving being done by Mieke and I.
We got on the correct road (N18) and went through several roundabouts, making our way south towards Limerick and Adare. We only got on the wrong road once and were able to double back to the correct road. We arrived in Adare a little before 4:00 p.m., 20 hours after we began this trip! We had thought we'd be here by 7 a.m.
The owner of the cottage in Adare where we are staying, Eammon Ryan, met us at the cottage and let us in. He showed us all around the cottage, explaining the water heating system and switches, door locks, etc. Eammon is a very nice man and very friendly. And we love our little cottage!! It's so comfortable and cozy.
Mieke and Janie went to buy groceries and found a mini-mart a couple of blocks away. There we were directed to a grocery store not far from our cottage. Since it is in a row of several little shops we didn't recognize it as a grocery store. It's just a block from our cottage. We were able to find what we needed for tomorrow's breakfast. Most of the food is what we are familiar with but the brands are very different from ours.
We decided not to go to the restaurant Eammon had suggested (Adare Manor, just next door) because we thought it might be too expensive and we didn't want to have to dress up. So we walked down a little ways from the cottage where there were a couple of small restaurants. (The market, pub, restaurants, etc. are all on the one main street of Adare.) One of those restaurants was closed (The Inn Between) and the other (The Blue Door) didn't have food that Mieke could eat, plus it was expensive. We then drove to a pub further down the main road in Adare called Sean Collins. Mieke and Janie went in to check out the menu. It was mainly pizza and fish & chips, not what we were looking for. But there were some musicians sitting around a table just starting up a song, with bones and bodhrans, fiddle and some other instruments. Sounded so good! We have to go back there for the music!
Janie had spotted a restaurant called The Arches so we decided to try there. It was a very cute little place, with very friendly wait staff, and the food was pretty good. We were happy we were actually in Ireland on St. Patrick's Day, even though we had arrived too late for the parade and festivities. But as we sat in the restaurant, we still could say, hey, we're in Ireland!
We went back home to the cottage and relaxed. Mieke and I read our books and Janie did her crossword puzzles. Janie quickly fell asleep and Mieke and I followed soon after. We had a fairly restful night except for the bedroom doors banging due to the heavy wind during the night.