July 2017 marks the 5 year anniversary of our move to Dublin. Over the next few months I’m writing a series of posts to share about that journey. You can keep up with all posts in this series here.

On the first leg of our trip to Ireland, we missed our connecting flight in Iceland.

I mentioned in the last post that rather than flying directly to Ireland, we flew to London via Iceland. There was a small Iceland airline offering incredible deals on their new Newark to London route. So we saved a lot of money on the flight. The problem was this airline only had a few planes, so when our flight was delayed out of Newark, and we missed out connecting flight, there was not going to be another plane available for 8 hours. Horrible way to start a trip right? Actually, it was one of the highlights!

The airline gave us vouchers for food, and then chartered a bus to take us on a tour and eventually to the Blue Lagoon. Most of the people just walked around the facility, but Liz went up and asked, and found out we could swim for free! And it was incredible. (You can see a few photos we took over here).


It was the girls first encounter with European shower facilities…and let’s just say it was a point of conversation for a while after.

Eventually we got our plane to London. We had a day there before we were to take a train to Wales, and then the ferry over to Dublin.

[See pictures of our train/ferry trip]

When we boarded the ferry we had no idea what we were supposed to do? Could we sit anywhere or did we have assigned seats. We were lost. So we just found something comfortable and hoped for the best.

You know when you are a tourist, but you don’t really want to stand out as a tourist? We stood out as tourists most of the time on this trip. (we even got called out in Dublin).

When we arrived at Dublin Port, a taxi took us to a car rental place in Santry. I remember driving through Drumcondra, because the driver told us that was where Bertie Ahern was from. At that point, only Liz knew who that was. He talked about housing prices and bus lanes and a bunch of other stuff I’ve since forgotten.

At the car rental place we had our first two fights. First with the rental place. The price they quoted us for a rental car for a month was about 50% less that what they were charging us. We met about half way. The second fight was me and Liz. Although I think if we hadn’t had the issue with the rental place, we would have handled this better. We both wanted to the be the first person to drive in Ireland. I lost.

I have no idea why, but for some reason, we didn’t have a map to tell us how to get to the family farm. Liz had a general idea, so we took off up the M1 and a couple hours later ended up in Ballybay. However, since she hasn’t been there in over 30 years, she needs to ask for directions.

She walks to a pub and someone on the street stops her and asks, “are ya Dan Gavney’s daughter.” With that, we had our directions and then had our first adrenaline filled encounter with what counts as a two-lane road in rural Ireland. (Although the cows weren’t there that day, the width and blind spots are correct.)

So we drove to the farm where Liz’s dad was waiting for us. We received a brief tour of where we’d be staying, had dinner and went to bed.

In many ways, those two days of travel sum up some important things we learned on that trip.

  • Often the best planning does not ensure that things work like you planned.
  • Sometimes it is the delays, inconveniences, and things that happen in the margins that end up being the best parts!
  • When you’re in a space that is unfamiliar, often the best thing to do is just take the next step.
  • And finally…don’t fight with your wife…it rarely ends well.