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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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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Eating Our Way Around Dublin With Delicious Dublin Food Tours

Dan and I were recently in Dublin over President’s Day weekend (mid-February), and we spent our first full day on a food tour with Ketty of Delicious Dublin Food Tours! This was our first food tour in Dublin, although not Ireland, and it was a really fun way to spend a morning. We even found the very best Irish Coffee that we have ever had.

MEETING POINT – DUBLIN’S SPIRE.

Our tour started on a rainy Saturday morning, meeting a group of six others under the Spire (AKA Dublin’s tall pointy modern monument). The Spire is on the opposite side of the River Liffey from most of Dublin’s main tourist sites, so this was an interesting place to start. Ketty, our guide, explained a bit about the tour and food history of Ireland, before the group walked a few minutes to our first stop for that fantastic Irish Coffee that I mentioned!

The Spire, on a sunnier day than that of our tour!

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Restaurant Review: Gallagher’s Boxty House, Dublin, Ireland

In light of my upcoming favorite holiday – St. Patrick’s Day – I am posting about our recent trip to Dublin, Ireland for the next two weeks!  Here’s a review of one of Dan and my favorite restaurants in Dublin, Gallagher’s Boxty House!

Gallagher’s Boxty House is an established Dublin restaurant located right in the middle of touristy Temple Bar. Despite this, Gallagher’s Boxty House is no tourist trap. Dan and I first ate here a decade ago and continue to return on every trip. Gallagher’s Boxty House specializes in the potato and almost all of its dishes are potato based. As the name implies, Gallagher’s also specializes in the Irish boxty, or a potato pancake. Eat at Gallagher’s for a taste of traditional, and delicious, Irish food.

As the napkin says, this place is really into potatoes!

The menu at Gallagher’s is on the small side, but as long as you eat potatoes, you should be able to find something.  Here is the menu from February 2022. It seemed a bit smaller this time, likely due to Covid. One pro of the menu (and this is common in Ireland generally), allergins are clearly listed on the menu.

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