Shopping In Shannon, Flights Home to
May 2 – 12, 2010
- Updated June 14, 2010
Ten photos mainly
taken by Betty Nolan are posted at www.kodakgallery.com
in an album entitled “
By LEWIS NOLAN
May 12, 2010 –
Wednesday – Shopping in
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
It was heartening to look out the window and see that the
early morning skies over this part of
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
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
Welcome back to the back of the plane: The connection in
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
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