Trip Report – Ireland: Day 1 – Dublin to Galway

My wife and I arrived into Dublin around 11:30 AM local time on Sunday, September 2, 2012.  We were quite tired from traveling but we had made our first nights destination Galway, on the west coast of Ireland.  After an on-time arrival into the airport we had an approximately 35 minute wait to get through immigration due to extremely low staffing levels at the Dublin Airport.  Makes for a rather lackluster first impression of the country.  After making our way, finally, through customs we began to search for the SIXT Rental Car Desk.  Unfortunately, the rental car desk is located in Terminal 2 and we had flown into Terminal 1. (As a side note, when you think you can’t go any farther and that the SIXT rental car desk is not there, turn the next corner.  It is hidden back there).  To continue with our first day misery we had to wait about 55 minutes at the SIXT desk prior to being helped.

After all of that wasted time spent in the airport we were very excited to finally be out of there (we did have a 15 minute wait for the rental car shuttle bus but that is besides the point).  Here is a view from the rental car shuttle bus pickup point of Dublin Airport:

After retrieving our car from the off-airport lot, we made our way to Galway.  Driving on the wrong side of the road was quite challenging on that first day!  However, we made it safely and checked into our hotel, The Galway Harbor Hotel ($$$$).  The hotel is located approximately 3 minutes, on foot, from the old city centre.  The hotel itself was nice enough but was nothing remarkable.  It was clean which for me is honestly one of the most important things.  Here is a view of our standard room:

After getting checked into our room we made our way into the city centre which was quite lively, even for a Sunday evening.  We strolled for a bit through some of the old town and eventually decided on having a pint or two in a few of the pubs (obviously that is not Guinness, it is Smithwick’s):

Our dinner was nothing special that night so I won’t mention it other than to say that it is recommended not to wait too long to eat dinner on a Sunday night in Galway or you may risk all the good restaurants being closed for the night.  Eat prior to 8 PM!

Overall, I must say that I was slightly disappointed with Galway.  Everything I had read or seen recommended it so strongly but all we saw were approximately 2 streets worth of old town with a large industrial center surrounding it.  Maybe we were there at a bad time or missed seeing what makes Galway special, not sure, but for right now I probably wouldn’t recommend people to stay here unless they are looking for a good jumping off point for touring the Cliffs of Moher.

My next post will cover Day 2: Galway to Tralee, with stops at Cliffs of Moher and Limerick.

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