Airport Lounge Review: Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, Newark International Terminal B

Dan and I flew to Dublin in February 2022 with Aer Lingus. We were not expecting lounge access due to the terminal assigned (Newark’s sparse Terminal B), but Dan just happened to see a sign for the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse when walking to our gate. The sign seemed to indicate that the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse was open and we could enter with our American Express Centurion Card. We decided to give it a shot. When we arrived at about 3:25, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse looked totally closed, but we knocked and they opened the door, stating that they formally open in 5 minutes. So we waited the couple minutes and went inside!

Kind of a vague sign.

Upon further discussion with the staff, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse only reopened a few days prior to our visit after being closed for nearly 2 years due to Covid. We also learned that the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is now operated by the Plaza Premium Group. We did not visit this lounge pre-Covid, so I cannot compared it to its pre-2020 state. We really enjoyed it this time though!

ENTRANCE TO THE VIRGIN ATLANTIC CLUBHOUSE

The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is located in Newark’s Terminal B. Terminal B is split into 3 areas, each with its own security, and the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is located in the B2 area, near Gates B51 – B57. After clearing security, all passengers walk down a pretty depressing hall toward the gates. Entrance to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is at the beginning of this hall via an elevator. Had there not been a sign, we would have totally missed it. We took the elevator to the second level and there it was, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse! Its right next to the British Airways Lounge.

Entrance. Dan was very excited to locate this lounge!

Once the doors officially open at the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at 3:30, we checked in with our boarding pass and American Express Centurion card. While we both have the card, we used Dan’s and I got in as his guest. It was unclear how many guests are allowed per card. This lounge used to be on Priority Pass, but that is no longer the case. Dragon Pass appears to still work.

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Visiting the Vatican & Colosseum in One Crazy Day!

Rome has A LOT of sights to see. So many that you could stay for more than a week in Rome and not see everything. Seriously. This poses a problem for many tourists, who often only spend 1 or 2 days in Rome (which I think leads to the common and, frankly wrong, opinion that Rome is not a favorite Italian city). Of all the sites, two of the most popular are Vatican City and the Colosseum. Most information will advise that you should not visit these two sites on the same day due to time constraints, etc., and I agree. But sometimes you just don’t have the time to split them up, and that’s exactly the position I found myself in in November when I was in Rome for 3 days with 8 family members! Due to a strong desire to see both sights, I bit the bullet and planned a perfectly timed day visiting both Vatican City and the Colosseum in the same day! While I would not necessarily recommend this if you have plenty of time, it is doable, and here’s how!

IN BRIEF: 8 – 11:30, the Vatican Museums, 11:30 – 11:50, walk to St. Peter’s Basilica, 12:00 – 1:45 St. Peter’s Basilica interior OR a proper sit down lunch, 1:45 – 2:15 transfer to the Colosseum, 2:30 – 4:30, Colosseum!

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Attending Gin School At Pearse Lyons Distillery, Dublin, Ireland

Who knew gin is super popular in Ireland? Not me! When I think of Ireland, I certainly think of alcohol, but that of the whiskey, Irish Cream liqueur, and beer variety. Well, gin has become very popular in the last several years and a number of distillers have popped up all over Ireland. In fact, I even tasted a gin flavored ice cream at Murphy’s in Dublin. Yes, gin flavored ice cream – that is how popular gin is in Ireland!

Dingle Gin & Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream at Murphy’s in Dublin!

In any case, when I plan our trips, I always search for fun eating and drinking experiences. Pearse Lyons gin distillery showed up for our Dublin, Ireland trip. Pearse Lyon seemed interesting, and Dan loves gin. I booked the only tour available on our visit – the Gin School! I had no idea what this is when I book, but book I did.  Pearse Lyons sent a confirming emails a few days in advance. We showed up on a Saturday night in the pouring rain, no idea what were for. Interestingly, the distillery, or at least part of it, is in an old church. Our Gin School was in an adjacent modern building, we unfortunately could not visit the distillery during our tour as the distillery was closed.

Pearse Lyon Distillery.  This is the old church!

The staff at Pearse Lyons was expecting us and opened the locked gates to bring us in from the rain. If you didn’t catch on, the Gin School takes place after hours. We waited a few minutes in the lobby and promptly at 6, were lead to the second floor of another building on the property.  We donned Pearse Lyons aprons and were given a freshly made Gin & Tonic before moving into the next room, which is where the Gin magic happens.

Round 1: Gin and Tonic with basil and lemon.

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Ten Pubs That Guinness Lovers Cannot Miss In Dublin, Ireland!

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day – my favorite holiday – I am rounding up 12 of my favorite places to have a Guinness in its home, Dublin, Ireland! Full disclosure, I am not from Dublin or even Ireland. That being said, I have been several times and I consider myself a Guinness connoisseur. Do be sure to visit some of these pubs if you are lucky enough to find yourself in Dublin!

A Guinness at Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse. A must-do in Dublin.  See my “Bonus” pub below!

1.   John Kavanaugh The Gravediggers. 1 Prospect Square, Glasnevin, Dublin.

Go for: Paying homage to Bourdain, lunch, a great pint in a really old school setting, before or after a visit to Glasnevin Cemetery and/or the Botanical Gardens.

John Kavanaugh’s is a family-run pub located next to Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery. Kavanaugh’s is about a 45 minute walk outside of central Dublin, and it was made famous by an appearance on Bourdain’s The Layover. Kavanaugh’s has two sides with separate entrances – one a bit more modern with a kitchen and the other just a really old school bar serving only drinks. Check out both sides if you have time. We enjoyed lunch and then a Guinness on the other side.

A perfect pint!

Potato soup and Guinness.

Kavanaugh’s coddle, just as Bourdain ate!

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A Review Of Lounge T1 And Getting Through US Pre-Clearance At Dublin International

Dan and I flew back to New York from Dublin International in February and visited a nice lounge before going through US Pre-Clearance and boarding our flight. Since US Pre-Clearance can be a bit confusing, here is a post on both our longe experience and US Pre-Clearance at Dublin International Airport.

Dublin – one of our favorite cities!

ARRIVAL AND SEARCHING FOR THE LOUNGE T1

Our journey home because by checking in for our Aer Lingus flight in Terminal 2 and clearing Dublin International’s security. Once through, we began looking for the The Lounge T2, to which we have complimentary access through our Priority Pass card.  We had some extra time to kill, and even though we needed to go though Pre-Clearance, we felt there was still time for a lounge (and we were right!).  We located The Lounge T2 easily enough, between Dublin’s Security and US Pre-Clearance, but the Lounge T2 was closed (Covid!)! However, there was a sign for its sister lounge, The Lounge T1, in Terminal 1, so we followed them to see if we could possibly access The Lounge T1 without having to re-clear security. Luck for us, you can walk between Dublin’s Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 post-security and its a pretty quick walk. Upon reaching Terminal 1, The Lounge T1 is located on the second floor of the Terminal, above the security area.

ENTRANCE TO THE LOUNGE T1

After spinning for a few minutes looking for the entrance to The Lounge T1, we found it right in front of us, LOL. Checkin was easy on the ground – presenting our boarding passes and Priority Pass.

The checkin area for The Lounge T1. We almost missed it!

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