Ireland Revisited – 2010

  Shopping In Shannon, Flights Home to Memphis

May 2 – 12, 2010

 

Part 1: Flights from Memphis to Shannon

Part 7:  Shopping in Town of Dingle

Part 2: Drive to Dingle on Southwest Coast

Part 8:  Beautiful Sights near Slea Head

Part 3: Holden Leather, Dingle Golf Links

Part 9:  Drive Over Connor Pass to Shannon

Part 4: Ballydavid, Historic Brandon’s Creek

Part 10: Shopping in Shannon, Flights Home

Part 5: Playing Golf at Cheann Sibeal

Link to 2003 Trip to Dingle and Vicinity

Part 6: Slea Head Drive, Mulcahy Pottery

Link to 2002 Trip to Dingle and Vicinity

 

- Updated June 14, 2010

 

Ten photos mainly taken by Betty Nolan are posted at www.kodakgallery.com in an album entitled “Ireland – 2010” under the account of Lewis “Buzz” Nolan’s email address. Email lewis_nolan@yahoo.com for instructions on how to access.

 

By LEWIS NOLAN

 

May 12, 2010 – Wednesday – Shopping in Ireland’s Shannon Airport, Flights Home to Memphis

 

With the help of a wake-up call from the Oak Wood Manor desk, we got up at 6 a.m.

 


 

Young sheep relax in windbreaks burrowed out of coastal hillside of Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula

 

We had wanted plenty of time for the included, complimentary breakfast and to get to the Shannon Airport to return the rental SUV, go through check-in and Customs and board the Aer Lingus flight to Boston.

 

It was heartening to look out the window and see that the early morning skies over this part of Ireland were blue, pointing to decent flying weather.

 

I picked up a complimentary copy of the Irish Independent newspaper that included a tabloid of news insert all in the native Irish language. The publication, unreadable to me because of my lack of familiarity with the ancient Gaelic, went into my luggage so I could send it to my longtime friend Kathy Jones now living in Florida. She is a former associate of mine at Schering-Plough who grew up in Ireland and later emigrated to the U.S.

 

Betty and I enjoyed the free breakfast in the hotel dining room. I went for the usual poached eggs, a couple of pieces of Irish bacon I know I’ll miss when back in the U.S., two dried prunes, a banana and a bit of brown Irish bread with butter.

 

Per the advice given the day before by two Irish mail men, it was quick and easy drive of 10 minutes down the fairly busy, divided road in front of the hotel to the big airport at Shannon. Checking in our car to the Hertz facility near the terminal was painless and a small bus drove us to the proper terminal entrance.

 

After checking in with Aer Lingus, I planted myself in a comfortable chair in the terminal lobby while Betty did her customary, highly efficient shopping in the duty free shop that approached the size of the interior of a Target store. While she didn’t have to make a lot of purchases due to the results of earlier gift purchases being stored in our luggage – and the fact that my regime of doing without hard liquor for medical reasons – Betty limited her purchases to a few special souvenirs for close relatives and friends.

 

We found the VIP room operated for Aer Lingus “premier class” passengers and a few other airlines. We learned that it opens at 6 a.m. every day and offers VIPs comfortable, easy chairs, desks with Internet connections and bottles of alcohol and other beverages, packaged snacks, big-screen TV and lots of newspapers. On balance, the special treatment on both ends of our trip made our rather expensive upgrades in airline tickets for the transatlantic flights very attractive.

 

We relaxed and read newspapers in the VIP room for about 45 minutes then boarded the Aer Lingus flight without delay. There were only seven passengers in the Premier Class section at the front of the plane and we all boarded first. As soon as we were comfortably seated in the big, motor-equipped chairs that recline to various positions including a fairly flat, narrow bed, we were served complimentary glasses of champagne. Nice way to start a flight.

 

It looked as though the much larger, tourist-class section to the rear was only about half-full, possibly due to tourist unease over travel difficulty caused by the Icelandic volcano ash in the atmosphere delaying or canceling some flights. On the positive side, the falloff in passengers meant we had the full attention of attractive and very polite young females who serve as flight attendants on Aer Lingus.

 

After enjoying our morning champagne, Betty and I both reclined our chairs, covered up with blankets and used real pillows as we comfortably snoozed while the big jet flew at about 550 miles per hour across the Atlantic. We were served a very good meal including a nice salad, several vegetables, fresh-caught, broiled swordfish fish and glasses of Chardonnay wine about halfway through the 6 ½ flight. We arrived well-rested and pretty much on time in Boston in early afternoon.

 

Welcome back to the back of the plane: The connection in Boston gave us just enough time to get through Customs without delay and board a much-smaller, regional jet for the Delta Airline flight to Memphis. We traveled on the last leg of our trip in tourist class and sat in tight seats that didn’t provide much leg room for the 3 ½-hour flight from Boston to Memphis.

 

Sleep was not possible. The only free edibles were small bags of peanuts and small glasses of iced soft drinks. We passed on paying $5 and up for drinks containing alcohol. I was surprised that the tourist section had only one restroom, at the rear of the airplane. But the flight did get into Memphis on time, at 6:15 p.m.

 

Remarkably, all our checked bags were quickly available on the automated conveyor belt. But we had to stand in line at the curb for a few minutes to get a taxi for the ride from the airport to our home in the center of Memphis. The 10-to-12-mile ride cost $20, plus a $5 tip for the polite driver for Yellow Cab.

 

Betty and I deferred the big job of unpacking all our bags until the next day or later. We drove one of our cars to a favorite Memphis restaurant, The Olive Garden, and devoured several helpings of their wonderfully fresh salad plus a few Italian appetizers. We agreed that this was one of the best big trips we’ve taken in recent years.

 

(Continue With Part 1, Flights from Memphis to Shannon)  /  (Return to Nolan Travels Home Page)