Dublin. Ah, Dublin. I don’t even know where to start. Perhaps at the beginning… with a mad scramble at Heathrow.
To get into Ireland you need to find your terminal, clear customs in London, proceed though a biometrics process that flags, tags, and photographs the bejeezus out of you… go through security… go through a second biometrics check, and eventually make your way to your gate.
We had no idea that this was the order of operations needed to get on a plane destined for Ireland. In fact, the *nice* stewardesses at Air Canada told us that we needed to do nothing except find our terminal bus, find our gate, and fly to Dublin. And, because our bags were checked through, there was no need to clear customs.
So, we discovered the proper process at the second biometrics check… after they announced our gate (in London everyone sits in a common area until 45-minutes before a flight. When the gate is announced everyone on that flight proceeds to that gate)… when we were refused entry.
Then began the mad scramble: leave the secure area… clear customs… have our biometrics done… go through security again… go through biometrics security… find our gate… in 40-minutes… after flying for 10-hours… without food because Air Canada messed up the special meals for the overnight flight.
Luck was on our side: it was a holiday in Britain… and no one was flying on a Monday. Normally, on a Monday Heathrow look like King’s Cross Station. When we arrived it was like a mausoleum and we somehow managed to make the mostly empty flight… after transforming into those annoying travelers sprinting through the airport in a desperate / hopeless attempt to catch an already boarded flight.
In the end it was worth it. Flying to Ireland is like flying onto a giant green carpet. It’s lush… and green… and wet… and full of passionate, spirited, funny people.