I can’t even begin to explain my love affair with the town of Dublin. I felt at home and happy from the moment we landed. Our transfer driver was there to pick up our group with more of a shuttle bus than a van. He greeted us at the airport with a charming Irish accent and drove us off to our downtown hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn.
We learned later that this area of town was the derelict old warehouse and wharf area on the River Liffey, until the early 2000’s when it was completely redeveloped with luxury office buildings and hotels.
The waterfront area long the river featured several art installations telling the stories of the potato famine victims and their desperation to leave the country and also the young boys that would work in the docks area.
The most prominent feature of this end of town is the Samuel Beckett Bridge designed by Spanish Architect Santiago Calatrava, who also designed the bridge near our hotel in our 2020 visit to Buenos Aires.
Our visit to the city of Dublin included shopping and sightseeing along the river, down to the Temple Bar area where we enjoyed good pub food at a brew house.
On our second day in Dublin, I had arranged a full day tour to Wicklow, Glendalough, and Kilkenney to give our group the opportunity to explore the countryside of Ireland.
We visited the early Irish Christian St. Kevin’s monastery, saw the lovely green hills and “mountains”, and then headed to Ireland’s largest inland town where we had time to explore on our own. Our tour guide was quite informative and not only told us about the sights but also the culture of Ireland, such as the sport of Hurling, a type of field hockey. After a full day of seeing the sights from country roads, we headed back to Dublin on the motorway and she played for us a CD from a hilarious, corny, Irish comedian whose name I wish I could recall. He told the old fashioned “Paddy and Murphy” jokes that had us all in stitches on the bus.
Back to Dublin we went where we enjoyed another evening on the town and greeting many of the others in our hotel who were part of our cruise group. The next morning we headed to the port of Dublin.
The Port of Dublin is set up for day visitors, but Celebrity had to set up temporary operations in a temp building to facilitate the embarkation process. Guest had to drop their luggage off in a collection area, then were given a shuttle bus number and had to wait their turn to be shuttled to the ship. There was simply not an efficient way to handle the embarkation process in a port that is largely commercial and had no dedicated passenger embarkation terminal.
Once onboard we headed to our fist port of call overnight: Belfast.