That’s what I’m calling today’s tour. And really? The Tour group might as well have, too! I knew when I booked this part of the trip that I didn’t need 5 days in Dublin, especially having been here for 2 days before. But there were things in the area that I didn’t get to do/see last time that I really wanted to. So having this much time in the city allowed for me to take some day trips. Today was the first.
The Wicklow mountains and its National Park is just south of Dublin. It is so beautiful and was featured in the movie PS I love you (not the book…which couldn’t be more different than the movie!). PS I love you featured heavily in my love affair with this country, so today was an especially awesome day for me! Our tour guide, Wood’s doppelganger in about 10 years, FYI, mentioned the movie several times and even, to my great excitement, quoted it AND played “Galway Girl” as we approached the “PS I Love you bridge”. When Gerry meets Holly, she says she’s looking for the park (Wicklow National Park) and he said, “you’re in it”. And it all happens at this bridge. We got to get out and take photos. I was so excited!
We also saw Lough Tay, which is partly on the land owned by the Guinness family (the water used to brew Guinness is from Wicklow). The house on the property can be rented for something like 20,000 euro (I think he said per night, but it has to be per week…that’s too crazy per night). Michael Jackson stayed there in 2006 or something, he said. This area was absolutely gorgeous (also used to film the show Vikings, apparently). But it was so windy that I have a pretty funny picture of my hair totally in my face! Thankfully, I sort of made friends with another American couple, so we took turns taking photos of each other at this spots.
Then we arrived at Glendalough. This used to be one giant lake, but due to sediment from the surrounding hills, it’s been divided into two lakes…upper and lower. This is also where St. Kevin hung out during his hermit days. I got to see the cave he lived in across the upper lake from where we hiked. There is a monastic ruins site here as well. 6 people went there and the rest of us followed the guide to the upper lake and went hiking. It was a trail, but still. It was pretty chilly, mostly because of the wind. Without the wind it was beautiful. As is, the weather was superb. Super sunny! I can’t complain.
On the hike back to the coach I walked with a Slovenian student who is studying abroad in Cork this semester. He was fantastic. We talked American sports (apparently the Timberwolves used to have a Slovenian on it, but he rode the bench, though he’s playing well for a different NBA team now!), school (college in both the US and Slovenia is apparently harder than in Ireland), and the cost of travel. I told him that he was the second Slovenian that I met on this trip and he was impressed. He said I was lucky to have met two! I love the people who I have come into contact with on this trip. It’s probably been my most favorite part!
After Glendalough we went to Avoca for a late lunch. Oh I forgot, our first stop was at Glencree, just as we got into the Wicklow mountains. There, the guide told us to eat something because lunch wouldn’t be until 2:30. Bless his heart. Unlike the Scottish tour guide (though, disappointingly, both of the guides were actually British!), didn’t tell us that lunch would be so late, so I starved. Here I got some tea and a scone, which tided me over! (That doesn’t seem right..tided. But apparently it’s a word.) I sat with the American couple and hemmed and hawed over getting the fish and chips or the beef and Guinness stew. I played it safe with the fish and chips, but Robert got the stew and I immediately regretted it! We had a great conversation, Robert and Erica are a super sweet couple.
We then went to the Avoca Mill, Ireland’s oldest woolen mill. We got to see the looms (most of them are done by hand still on looms that are over 100 years old…crazy!) and the whole process. It was awesome, but a very short tour. Then we went into the shop and Erica grabbed me to tell me that the factory and sample sale was upstairs! I almost bought a few things, but then didn’t. I hope I don’t regret that!
We were then on our way back to Dublin. I slept for part of it. When I got back to my room I did a little internet before setting out, back to Temple Bar for dinner. I wanted the beef and Guinness stew! I went to Fitzsimmons, which I remembered from being listed as a good restaurant on my travel app. The stew was good and I had my first proper pint of Bulmer’s (last night I had a bottle and at lunch a half-pint). There was live music (which, duh) and eventually Irish dancers. They were awesome. After dinner and two pints, I stopped in at the Auld Dubliner, another place Loren and I went 2 years ago. I just stopped in for a quick half-pint, as I have plans the next two nights, so I didn’t want to get carried away. Plus, I didn’t know what time I had to get up tomorrow (turns out I get to sleep in! yay!), so I came back. But not before I heard Galway Girl. Which they also played at Fitzsimmons. Heard it three times today. Not too shabby!
Tomorrow is Dublin with Heidi and I am so excited!