Top tips for international departures from Dublin to America

Travel Ireland

“Oh my God, they are getting us back for Ellis Island.”

When the woman standing behind me at the Dublin International AirportĀ said this outloud, I smirked. Husband and I were in the United States Customs Pre-Clearance line along with hundreds of others including the funny lady behind us. We had already been through security, removing belts, jackets and liquids. Now we were waiting to go through customs before boarding our plane from Ireland back to the U.S.. It made some sense at first – we wouldn’t have to wait in a long customs line in New York, and be held up catching our connecting flight home to Minnesota.

But the woman’s funny quip might have been half true. I have never been required to clear customs in the country I was departing, and while organized, the lines were long and tedious. After waiting for about an hour, we made our way through customs and thought we were home free. Then we hit the next line.

Even though we had already been through security, the hundreds of us that had just cleared customs had to de-robe once again and go through a second round of security – laptops out, shoes off, liquids in the bin. At this point people got downright angry. We were two hours into the process since arriving at the airport, and many couples had to cut ahead of others because they were on the verge of missing their flights.

With this experience under my belt, I offer some first-account advice if you are flying from Dublin to the United States:

  1. Get plenty of sleep the night before because it’s going to be a long day
  2. Get to the airport 2.5-3 hours in advance of your departure time
  3. Reduce the “unload” – don’t wear a jacket or belt but do wear slip-on shoes
  4. Keep your liquids and technology within easy reach
  5. Go in with the expectation that you will wait a long time
  6. If you are handicapped or cannot stand for a long period of time, get wheelchair assistance as soon as you get to the airpot

And to the authorities at the Dublin International Airport who’s Irish ancestors most likely had similar experiences at Ellis Island … I’m really, really sorry about that.

Farewell to Dublin

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This morning husband and I said goodbye to Dublin with a stroll over the river, and a picnic breakfast in the center median of Upper O’Connell Street. It was a grand holiday, but it’s time to come home. As I was lamenting the end of our vacation to the very nice taxi driver taking us to the airport, he kindly reminded me, “You have to go home in order to come back again.” Well said.

This is day 173 of Photo 365.

Temple Bar rain dance

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It’s the last day of holiday travel, and I’m not ready go home. It has been a lovely trip, and I plan to share photos here in the near future.

Today is day 172 of Photo 365 in the Temple Bar district in Dublin, Ireland.

Belfast barricade

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When you wander the streets of Belfast, you begin to notice a reoccurring pattern on the fencing – barbed wire. Whether from days past or to keep thieves away, the barbed wire on fenced areas is a reminder of how hard the people of Northern Ireland have struggled to find balance between the crosses on their fences and the painful stabs only a few inches away.

This is day 169 of Photo 365.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, one travel tip. It is true what they say. Skip the Ring of Kerry and head for Dingle Peninsula instead. Less tourists, same gorgeous scenery.

Slainte!