Ireland, Day 1.0: Shannon Airport to Ennis

Here is the view out the plane window as we flew into Shannon Airport:

First smell of Ireland: cows.

Shannon was one of the easiest airports I’ve ever been through. At immigration it went like this:

Immigration Man: Purpose of your visit?

Me: “Vacation.”

Immigration Man:“How long are you staying?”

Me:“10 days.”

Immigration Man:“Enjoy your vacation.” STAMP. STAMP.

Then we walked up to two doors. We had nothing to declare, so we walked through the one that said “Nothing To Declare.” That’s it; we were in. I don’t even remember what the other door said.

Having cleared immigration, we discovered that one of the  airlines had lost one of our bags. (We flew American Airlines to London, then Aer Lingus from London to Shannon). The layover in London was about an hour, so this was not completely surprising. We’d had to take a bus between terminals and run about a mile through the convoluted airport to get to our gate on time. I was surprised that our bag was the only one missing from our flight, but I was pretty sure it would get to us before too long. The Irish airport staff were really friendly and helpful. Friendly staff make those kinds of situations so much less frustrating.

From the Airport (or aerfort as it is called in the Irish language), we planned to take a bus to our first B&B. The bus didn’t leave for 40 minutes, and we hadn’t eaten for a few hours. So we got our first Irish food: a ploughman’s sandwich in a box. It was surprisingly good. Here’s what was in it:

I find foreign labeling interesting. For those of you who don’t, this was a lettuce,tomato, relish, and Dubliner cheddar sandwich on whole wheat. On the label, pickle means relish and gherkin means what we call pickle. The relish they put on sandwiches here is delicious. It’s a tangy, multi-vegetable chutney.

Exiting the airport, I saw a bird I’d never seen, the rook. It’s like a crow with a different sort of beak. This is a youngish one (their faces become more bare and lighter in color when they mature):

From the airport, we took the bus to Ennis and a taxi to our first B&B. Our gregarious host, Domhnal greeted us, showed us our bikes and our room, and told us how to get around the town. He also told us there’d be a big hurling match on Sunday, and that depending who won, there might be great excitement in the region. Hurling is a field-hockey type sport, somewhat similar to lacrosse, and seems to be quite popular. To show was the sport looks like, here are some highlights from the match.

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2 Comments on “Ireland, Day 1.0: Shannon Airport to Ennis”

  1. Meghan Says:

    When asked “how are you?” did you ever get to respond “I’m on the pig’s back!”?

    • bpatricksullivan Says:

      Sadly, no 😦 We heard some pony cart drivers speaking Irish with each other, but no one referred to ar muin na muice

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