While long travel is certainly preferable, most of the trips I have made in my life have been very short. When I see an opportunity to travel, I take it, just in case that chance never comes around again. I figure, if I fall in love with a place, I can return once again in the future and stay for longer, and if I dislike the place, I can return and give it another chance. Either way, I take advantage of any time I get.
This past December, I had one of those opportunities. While booking flights for my friend’s wedding in London, I saw a flight with a layover in Ireland. I jumped at the opportunity, even if meant I would only have 15 hours in Dublin. With family there, I couldn’t pass up the chance of a night out with my cousins, so I booked the flight and resolved not to sleep during my entire trip.
I landed in Dublin from London City airport, on the smallest plane I’ve ever flown in, at about one in the afternoon. Immediately, I felt at home, even though I hadn’t been on Irish soil since 2011. From there, I took a bus into the city, which gave me a quick tour of Dublin. Having been there before, it was nothing new, but a comforting feeling to be back.
Eventually, I arrived at my stop and was greeted with huge hugs and immediate giggles by my two cousins, Michelle and Caroline. Even though we grew up miles apart, through travel we’ve become closer to each other than most people we know who live nearby.
After dropping off my bag at Caroline’s apartment, we headed into the city center for some shopping and a quick snack before the night’s big dinner. We took the Luas, Dublin’s light rail, which was new for me, and found ourselves in the middle of it all. Busy and decorated for the holidays, we wandered along Grafton Street, popping into shops and getting in the Christmas spirit.
After a bit of fun in the shops, we met up with Michelle and Caroline’s mom, AnnaB. AnnaB and my mom are first cousins and spent a lot of time together when they were growing up. I’m pretty certain they are thrilled that their daughters have found a friendship that’s just as special as the one they share. We all gathered at Starbucks to grab some coffee, which I badly needed, and didn’t stop talking the entire time we were together.
Unfortunately, our time together was short-lived, as the girls and I had to get ready for our big night out. We got ready at Caroline’s place, and Shane, their older brother, met us there. We had a quick drink and then got a ride over to our first stop of the night, Odessa. It was a trendy spot with delicious food. But, it was made even more special when my cousins surprised me with a little early birthday celebration. I’ve never been able to celebrate with them, and it made it even more special that they thought about it ahead of time.
After dinner, we headed to Dakota for a drink. It was pretty crowded, but we found a table and sat down for some more talking and people watching. When we’re around each other there’s usually not a quiet moment, as we all have so much to talk about. We keep in touch often when we’re apart, but as soon as we’re together, we need to make sure we talk about everything we may have forgotten about.
Not ready to end the night there, we decided to have another drink at Sams Bar, and I am so glad we did. The environment, especially with the approaching holidays, was just stunning. We got drinks and danced for a while, until I realized that if I didn’t leave soon, I would be getting no sleep before my flight.
Normally, most of my trips to Ireland have involved heading right from the pub to the airport, but after a hectic wedding weekend in London, a full week of work ahead of me, and a birthday in New Orleans the following weekend, sleep was calling my name.
We headed back to Caroline’s apartment, and the girls and I downed some water and snuggled into Caroline’s bed for two or three hours of sleep before heading to the airport. It wasn’t a lot of sleep, but I felt better knowing I had slept for a short while.
With these few hours in Dublin, I was able to experience a new side of the city, one that was a bit more grown up than I had in the past. I was also able to spend quality time with some of my favorite people in the world. I don’t get to see my cousins as often as I would like, though we make an effort, and being able to see each other around the holidays, even if it was only for a few hours, was so special.
It’s the reason why short travel is so important. Because even if I didn’t have all the time I wanted, I had enough to see people I care about, and that’s sometimes what travel is all about. My mom has always said that she has a hard time flying over Ireland and not stopping to see all of her family, and now, I finally understand what she means.
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