Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Living in Ireland so far - experiences, trips and life in general

Living in Ireland so far - experiences, trips and life in general

Old Jun 19th, 2007, 12:57 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 192
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Living in Ireland so far - experiences, trips and life in general

Based on a few requests on another thread, I'll try to log some of the experiences of living here in Dublin, Ireland. I'm from the US and will be here for almost 3 months.

LIFE IN GENERAL:
We are living in a 2-bedroom townhome in the area of Ballsbridge. Our place is a 1-minute walk from the DART, which is great. Other than remembering to turn on the water heater to keep up the hot water supply, and remembering that I must air-dry basically everything since the dryer is... well, pathetic LOL... everything else is pretty much the same. The Irish are SO friendly - it's certainly the friendliest country I've ever been to. People literally go out of their way to help me with the stroller or when I’m managing bags/packages, etc. It's amazing. The country music station on the radio here is funny – they seem to play “Luckenbach Texas” every minute, which we find amusing. (I am not kidding, as I wrote this, they just started playing it – AGAIN, ha!). I also learned that you will get dirty looks at grocery stores if you do not bring your own bags to reuse, because the Irish are very environmentally conscious. Now I reuse, reuse. It’s been a good lesson and I will do the same when I return to the US – no more wasting all those plastic bags during a routine grocery trip.

SO FAR, I’M MISSING:
A good dryer. Ranch dressing and Starbucks bottled frappuccinos (yes, I’m pathetic!). Decent, healthy baby food (I’m making my own now).

SO FAR, I’M EXTRA-HAPPY ABOUT:
Not having a car. The variety of restaurants here – yum! DART & LUAS. The people. That the city is pretty child-friendly. The parks & greens.

MAJOR ACHIEVEMENT:
I drove!!!!!!!!!!!! I rented a car last weekend and drove from Dublin to Kilkenny. I had been mentally “driving” in my mind for the past 2 weeks in order to prepare myself – I would even picture myself back at home in the US, driving to regular places but on the opposite side of the road. I wanted to be 100% confident - it’s a daunting thing knowing that your baby is in the backseat depending on your every move. I never had a bad moment, and I did great. Now I’m thrilled because this really means we’ll get to “see” Dublin and not have to always depend on public transportation. Now I just need to decide whether to be brave and try a standard-shift?

Note: I originally rented a standard shift but at the last minute changed my mind, and asked at the counter, when picking up the car, if they had an automatic available. They did, and it ended up being way cheaper than the published internet price I had looked out, go figure! But I’m not complaining. (I used Budget, Dublin city centre)

SO FAR, IN DUBLIN:

1) We went to the market on Sunday at Merrion Square (it occurs weekly, on Sundays). Artists line their work on the sidewalks along the entire perimeter of the square, so I was in heaven as I love original art. Prices ranged from as low as 10 euro all the way up to 1000 euro, so something for everyone.

2) St. Stephen’s Green is a nice park/square as well and on a beautiful day we grabbed some food and watched the birds on the pond.

3) Shopping is great on Grafton Street and St. Stephen’s Green mall. You’ll find more “upscale” things here, while the area of Jervis (which can be accessed via the DART and then changing to the LUAS via Connelly station, very simple and especially convenient for me when it’s pouring down rain with a baby) has many of the same stores, but also more “variety” type stores and the prices are significantly cheaper. There is also an outdoor market mostly consisting of flowers & produce near the ILAC shopping center, which is right next to Jervis.

4) The towns of Blackrock and Sandymount are easily accessed via the DART and are nice village-type towns with a few good shops & restaurants, not to mention a good view of the bay. A nice place to go for a walk and a bite.

5) Merrian College on Lansdowne Road offers a swim class for children on Thurs & Saturday mornings for 10 euros/class. A nice activity for kids.


TRAVELS:

I'll preface by saying that everything and anything I do is with my 7-month old son, so we can't do 100% of what I wish all the time on these trips (i.e. hiking, drink a lot of Guinness at a local pub) but nonetheless we are having a very enjoyable time. Thankfully, he's a fabulously well-mannered baby.

1) TRIM CASTLE - an antiques show was being held at Trim Hotel 2 weeks ago, so this was a good excuse to make a trip of it. We took the bus from Busaras in Dublin, and it took ~40 minutes from Dublin to the town of Trim. Upon arriving, the scenery really is beautiful and we fed some donkeys in a pasture along the way in to town. Trim Hotel hosted the antiques show, and I will say that it looked like a lovely hotel to stay at. Very charming though new and "modern", with nice restaurants/bars and friendly staff. It was a Sunday, so unfortunately 90% of the shops & restaurants were closed on the main street, which was unfortunate because many of them seemed boutique-like and I probably would have enjoyed myself. Trim Castle was worth the trip and we found the tour to be very informative and worthwhile (the "toilet" in the "master bedroom" of the castle was my favorite part!) with vast views from the top. The walk along the river by the castle is lovely, and would be an excellent spot for a picnic for sure.

2) KILKENNY - Another weekend we headed to the town of Kilkenny, which took about 2.5 hours driving from Dublin. It was a pretty-enough drive, though nothing spectacular to note. The main reason I chose to go here was that it was my first time driving and I knew it would be a fairly easy, non-complicated drive (and it was, no problems). Kilkenny Castle is very imposing, and the tour was nice. However, I will say that the tour only covered what looked to be about 40% of the castle, whereas the other areas are closed off. Lovely grounds and interesting interior though. Kilkenny itself was a bit touristy IMO, but we still enjoyed the various shops, especially eating at "Coffee Club" as the staff there couldn't have been more accomodating to us & our baby.


That’s it off the top of my head! Not sure how useful this was but I gave it a shot. This weekend I think we’ll do the Ring of Kerry, we shall see.
jumper22 is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2007, 01:12 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello jumper, although I have never been to Ireland and never thought about going over these past years since I have been on Fodor's and have read so many trip reports I find that Ireland really sounds enchanting.

And your post is a delightful read! Very informative also. How I envy you, what a lovely experience you are having. I love the way you prepared yourself regarding driving on the left.

I hope you will post more in the future. Best regards and thanks again for sharing your life in Ireland with all of us.
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2007, 01:58 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,216
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
jumper, What a lovely report. It adds a whole new aspect to Ireland trip reports. You are having a unique experience that few people will in their lifetimes. It is good to know you are enjoying it and getting to know Dublin and Ireland.

Congratulations on driving. Now that the ice is broken you will probably head off on more trips around the country. There are some beautiful things to do around Kilkenny like Kells, Jerpoint Abbey, Inistioge, Woodstock Gardens, Graiguenamanagh. I agree that Trim Castle is impressive. Hope you get down to Co. Wicklow as it is beautiful.

Hey, I am coming to Ireland in Sept. If you are still there can I bring you some ranch dressing?

IrishEyes is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2007, 02:56 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,433
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
jumper22 wrote: "SO FAR, I’M MISSING: ... Ranch dressing"

Try Superquinn.
Padraig is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2007, 03:00 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,467
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi jumper,

Thanks for the update and best wishes for a continued wonderful experience in Ireland.
Good tip on the mental preparation for the differences in driving. That is one of my fears too... I think I can remember to drive on the left side of the road but I'm pretty sure that I'm going to mess up when I make a turn and end up facing oncoming traffic
TexasAggie is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2007, 03:07 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 793
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks so much for sharing your Irish adventure - I'm a little jealous!

We plan to go next year, our first trip there. So I hope you'll continue posting.

Enjoy every minute!
canterbury is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2007, 03:41 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 2,852
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi jumper -

My sisters and I will also be making our first visit to Ireland next year.

I am so happy to hear that you are making the most of this wonderful opportunity. I hope you will continue to post from time to time so we can enjoy it, too.
LCBoniti is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2007, 10:26 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,146
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Dear jumper,

Thanks for coming back and telling us about your life in Ireland. I remember you getting advice on where to live and what stores to shop in. I hope you will post again when you have the time.

Kind Regards, Joan
chatham is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2007, 01:48 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,172
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Superquinn I found to have to most similar stock to a U.S. Supermarket and the Tesco in Merrion Centre is good as the embassies are near and they cater for a more international taste. I thought the usual vbabyfood jars were the same but there is a new fridge or freezer brand of healthy possibly organis babyfood out now. They sell in some of the markets around town as well. Try the organic Market on Pearse street on saturdays its in an old school building I think on pearse street and pretty good.

I never found anyone giving me dirty looks about forgetting my bags (I always foget them but its sometimes easier to bring your own sturdy big one. I think the charge on bags was a good thin for Ireland.

Forget the dryer it shrinks the clothes too much. They air sdry quicker in the summer and its not too bad or take to a laundrette to dry in the big dryers (I do this sometimes!)

Glad you are enjoying the stay!
SiobhanP is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2007, 07:33 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 794
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Jumper

Glad to hear you are settling in here, I'm not sure if you are aware, but there are lots of Starbucks here! maybe try to see if you can purchase the bottled frappuccino?

On your other point:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There is also an outdoor market mostly consisting of flowers & produce near the ILAC shopping center, which is right next to Jervis.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Watch your purse around there!
lucielou is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2007, 05:22 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 30
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I was so glad to read about your dryer! We were in Ireland in May, and the dryer in our cottage just would NOT dry anything! I thought I was doing something wrong!
cindyldoe is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2007, 12:19 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,172
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It rerally is not meant for a full clothes dry. I used mine to get it started or for the towels so they were softer and then hung them out to finish drying.

Lucie is right. Moore street you will stick out as a tourist so mind your bag. Temple bar food market is excellent on Saturdays and excellent produce. Tesco in Ballsbridge is good as well but i am sure you have been there.
SiobhanP is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2007, 12:43 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,585
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Are Irish dryers so different from English ones?
I try to line-dry whenever possible, but on rainy days my dryer does a full dry with no problems.
It is the condensing kind, so my house plants get the water it produces.
I think that the OP should get somebody to have a look at hers.
MissPrism is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2007, 02:07 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 448
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nice report!

No problem with my condense-dryer either (Siemens). It takes a while (the programm I use is 1,5 hour), but a full load of towels is dry as they can be! So it problably is a problem of this particular dryer, or maybe use of the wrong programm?
I do know that US-dryers are faster, but I think it is the same as the difference between top-loaders and HE-front loader. European dryers are probably HE-dryers are something like that.

What kind of baby-food are you missing?
TommieG is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2007, 03:11 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 522
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Jumper,
your report was very interetsing and informative.
We will be visiting 3 ports in Ireland when taking our cruise in September.
We are from Australia and are really looking forward to the trip. Have been to the US and Canada twice each before but this will be first time to Europe.
Can you tell me about the currency?
Does Ireland use the Euro or Pound?
We will visit Dublin, Belfast and Cork. Any tips would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance
Donna
Lordy is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2007, 03:53 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 192
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think I've been to ever Tesco, Superquiinn, Donnybrook Fair between here and the moon LOL, just to get my bearings around where we live. So far no Ranch. Starbucks does not carry the bottles here. Believe me, I asked after the 3rd Starbucks LOL. They did say that they had many people asking them about it. Side note: I did find two bottled iced coffees, one is "Caffemet" (SPAR/Tesco) and the other at Arnott's, by "Herbert's". Tastes good, but practically no caffeine it seems. Oh, and they're ALWAYS sold out, so there seems to be a market for this stuff here if anyone is looking for a new venture!

There is nothing wrong with the dryer. I have asked & it's fine - I think it is just us Americans A 1.5 hour program to dry seems unreal to me, so I just think it's a different perspective. My dryer at home will dry a huge load of towels in ~35 minutes, and any other load usually takes ~20. The smallest capacity on my washer at home is still bigger than everything I can cram into this washer. It's no big deal - I just air dry everything and then toss it in for 30 minutes after it's dry to make things soft.

Agree re: the ILAC market - I can tell it's an area not as upscale and hence the reason I mentioned all the "variety".

Baby food here was disappointing, though there are some organic options out there I know. But I've even seen a "bananas & cookies" organic jar, LOL. There aren't many plain options (i.e just a plain jar of peas) and I found myself having to go to different stores for different things, it became a pain. Reading the ingredients, a lot of what is available in organic includes sugar, or is a pudding, or is cream or cheese-based, or has oils, etc. Not to mention that 80% of what I try to warm up turns to a liquid consistency for some reason? Anyway, I make my own now and it's great. I bought a small puree-machine from Smyth's and now baby is happy with peaches, plums, bananas, avocado, potatoes, blueberries, etc. I had hoped to start doing this anyway, and living here gave me the push I needed. Dr. Sears "The Family Nutrition Book" is an excellent resource for more info on this topic BTW.

------

We're off to Connemara for the weekend tomorrow, wish us luck!
jumper22 is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2007, 04:30 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,056
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You could try Chill Baby organic food which has no added sugars.

http://www.chillbaby.ie/

or Hipp
Lawchick is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2007, 05:12 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,172
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thats the brand and I know Tesco stock it. Just ask them. My friend uses it and they sell at some markets. Ranelagh has a market at the Non denominational school on Sundays.

As for the dryer.....yes its mad 1.5 hours and I just think they are not as good and damage clothes more as they are smaller and its intense heat. When I finally buy a house i am going to ship over an American washer Dryer. My other half thinks they are amazing after being in the states. Small things entertain him!
SiobhanP is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2007, 05:19 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,056
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There are 2 reasons why American washers and dryers are not frequently ued in Europe.

The predominate one is size, European homes are normally smaller and the second one is the Environmental impact.

Though I never quite figured out how using a smaller appliance for 3 times as long, 3 times as often is better than using it's gas guzzling American counterpart.

Another thing relates to the hot water issue. "most" europeans do not have constant endless hot water - so European machines take a cold fill and heat the water, whereas most American washers take a hot fill.
Lawchick is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2007, 06:14 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,433
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
SiobhanP wrote: "When I finally buy a house i am going to ship over an American washer Dryer. My other half thinks they are amazing after being in the states. Small things entertain him!"

I thought the point was that American appliances are big things!

Have you read the many threads here about using American electrical equipment, and the requirements? You'll need a bloody great transformer/rectifier.
Padraig is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:37 AM.