No offense to four percent of my ancestry, but Ireland was not in our travel plans. However, we live in Ohio. Options for direct flights to Europe are limited; three to be exact. Cincinnati to London or Paris, and a new route from Cleveland to Dublin. Armed with airline miles from paying the The (Tax) Man with a Chase credit card, I booked flights for the five of us with Aer Lingus. Cleveland to Dublin for a two-night trip, followed by 10 nights in northern Spain/southern France.
After way too many trips on Spirit and Frontier Airlines, it was nice to fly with a carrier that offers a full meal, media consoles on each seat, and a free carry-on. I thought the boys would get restless on the seven hour red-eye flight, but they barely slept, let alone complain.
Amber played Sudoku and sat between the wild child and our calm eldest. I was across the aisle sitting next to our runt. I had a bunch of movies downloaded and two books to read: “Men in My Situation” by Per Peterson and “The Awkward Black Man” by Walter Mosley. I read parts of each, but zoned out after drinking a vodka tonic. Then came a mental tangent about how the kids think I have super strength and athletic ability. They’re like, “Dada, can you try out for the NBA this year!” I’m 44 and weigh 152 pounds. I have to work on lowering their expectations of me.
After landing in Dublin, we checked into Herbert Park Hotel. It’s across from the U.S. embassy and has a stately feel. Well, more so the lobby and restaurant than the room, which was a lil’ musty even before my tweens put their stank in it. Still, the hotel was fine for a short stay and I appreciate the attendant bending the rules to let all five of us stay in one room.
Despite being sleepless for nearly 24 hours, we went straight to Howth, a seaside village 40 minutes east of Dublin via the metro. We ate at a seafood joint called Octopussy (“gigity!”) and hiked to Howth Head Peak, with Amber bribing the kids (and maybe herself?) with a reward of donuts for making it to the top.
After hours in Howth, we wandered O’Connell Street in central Dublin. By 9 p.m., known as 21:00 in Ireland and most of the world, were exhausted and in bed. I was intent on waking everyone up early the next morning so we could explore Dublin by foot. The most effective way to do this with kids who weren’t keen on walking 12-plus miles in a day is to repeatedly say your destination is “15 minutes away,” without letting them know that you have many destinations in mind. We explored Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Grafton Street, and Ballsbridge.