23 July 2006
We got up in time to walk up to O'Connell street and pick up our tour bus from there. The driver was Richard O'Kelly who was pretty entertaining.
First stop was a castle just outside of Dublin. We couldn't take pictures inside the castle. Outside the castle was the ruins of a church from around 1000AD.
Then we drove around the coast north of Dublin which was pretty but didn't wow us – wasn't quaint like Scotland.
After the tour, we walked back across the Liffey and ate lunch in a panini shop.
This picture is for Justin Koziatek – check it out! Tim Horton's across from Trinity College!
We visited the Museum of Ireland (again, no pictures) which was pretty cool. Saw some old clothes preserved in a bog (on a corpse, but we didn't emphasize that part), lots of goldwork from pre-Celtic times, and a bunch of Egyptian art (which seemed to have little to do with Ireland).
Then started the adventure. We rushed back to get our luggage from Avalon House and catch the 3:45 16A bus. Then we were waiting for the 4:15 bus. When it arrived at 4:35, we knew that we were in trouble – it was an hour ride and we had a 6:10 flight.
We got to the airport with 40 minutes to spare. They had already closed down the flight, but with much complaining and sighing, they checked us in. "But it's on your own heads to get down there in time – it's a 25 minute walk!" So we walked-jogged-ran down to the gate, girls very upset and crying along the way. We got there in time but without dinner...and then the plane was late. Our pre-dinner snack was chocolate muffins and crisps.
We got on the plane sitting together! The Ramp Supervisor saw us. "A family? Stand over here." We ended up being the second family on the plane.
When we got to Birmingham at 7:50 pm, we figured that we wouldn't catch the 8:03 pm train, so we had a nice New York dinner before the 9:03. The Birmingham airport has a NY-style Italian eatery, so we had pasta and pizza and such.
We got down to the station about 8:50...and found it empty as a ghost town. I took Barb and the kids down to the track with the luggage, then I went up to ask about the trains. Due to engineering work, there were no trains running through the Birmingham International rail station! The information person figured out a route for us – bus to Birmingham New Street, train to Rugby, train to Milton Keynes, and back to Oxford...at 12:36 am!
But while we were filing out to the buses, someone stopped Barb. "Going to Oxford?" If we rushed in a taxi, we could get to another rail station where there was a direct line to Oxford at 9:18 pm, last of the night. It was 9:05 and it was a 10 minute drive. We sprinted for a taxi, who gave us a speeding roller-coaster ride through the towns and countryside. We were all laughing and waiting for the loop-de-loop. Barb gave the driver a hefty tip for getting us there in time. We caught the train and made it back by 10:20.