We caught the 12:25 PM train in Tullamore which got us back to Dublin by 1:30. In order to boost our Hilton points, I had booked two nights at the Hilton Dublin. After receiving questionable walking directions from the information booth at the Heuston Train Station and later from a policeman, we decided to take a taxi to the hotel. It was a good thing we did because the walking directions we were given were for a different Hilton.
During the ride, our taxi driver gave us suggestion on things to see and do in Dublin. He told us about his three-week vacation in the U.S. and then he wanted us to hear is imitation of an American accent. He sounded like a Texan to me. He was elated when I told him this. He was a fun fellow.
The Hilton Dublin is a nice hotel. Traci was happy with the well-equipped fitness center. The hotel was significantly more expensive than the Academy Plaza Hotel but we soon realized this did not make it better. There was no free in-room Wi-Fi. You had to go to the lobby for this. The Hilton is located in a business and residential area of the city. There are not many tourist attractions in walking distance. There is a LUAS tram stop in front of the hotel but the particular line did not go anywhere that would have been interesting to us as tourists.
The receptionist recommended we take a walk down to Grafton Street. He told us it was a 15 to 20-minute walk from the hotel. We noticed this was a common response any time we asked for walking directions in Dublin. In every case, this time estimate was accurate.
Grafton Street is Dublin's popular shopping street. It is closed off to vehicle traffic. There are stores, restaurants, boutiques, and many other types of shops. Very talented street performers and musicians draw audiences. This lively street was packed with people. Traci and I spent a considerable amount of time in Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, a 4-level shopping mall on Grafton Street. I'm not sure why we spent so much time there. It was no different from any other mall to which we've been. We did not buy anything.
Stephen's Green Shopping Centre
By 6 PM, the businesses on Grafton Street were closing and the crowds were thinning. Traci and I had an excellent dinner and Marks & Spencer Restaurant located on the upper level of a department store. Traci said it was her best meal in Ireland.
We made the cold walk back to the hotel. During the walk, we made up our minds that we wanted to move back to the Academy Plaza Hotel to be close to more of the tourist attractions we wanted to see. Therefore, we decided we would only spend one night at the Hilton Dublin instead of the two we had planned.
In the meantime, the time zone difference was wreaking havoc on my sleep pattern. I decided to go to bed at 8:30 that evening. I dosed off for about 20 minutes and then was wide awake for hours. I ended up watching Ireland's version of "The Voice". I did not recognize any of the celebrity judges on the show.
Traci, on the other hand, was full of energy that evening. She went to the lobby to use the Wi-Fi. She then came back to the room, changed into her workout clothes, and worked out in the fitness room from 11 PM to midnight. continue...