On the way through Avoca, we stopped at Avoca Handweavers. Can you see in the sign that the date is 1723? 1723! We saw a couple looms set up but they weren't running. They make the most amazing wool blankets and scarves. Needless to say, when I walked into the shop I was in heaven. After we made a few purchases, we drove on to Glendalough. As we pulled into the visitor's center, I had major de ja vu. I had been here before. Fifteen years ago when my roommate and I came to Dublin for a weekend, we took a bus out into the country for the day. I didn't keep much of a diary or travel log back then and I can't remember that far back anyway. I know I took much better pictures this time around. Glendalough is a 6th century monastic settlement, that's set in among the Wicklow Mountains. Just the drive through the mountains to Glendalough is a trip in itself. The roads are very narrow and very curvy. Tim's just dying for his motorcycle.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
I've made my pilgrimage to the home of Ballykissangel! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, Netflix the show. The town is actually called Avoca and it was a little tiny village nestled in the Wicklow Mountains. I can't tell you how surreal it was to sit in front of Fitzgerald's; I was just waiting for Peter to come strolling down the street. It was even more surreal walking inside! Inside the pub, the walls are decorated with photos of the cast. I'm not the only one that was not happy with the direction of the show. I don't want to give away too many details for those of you who haven't seen it. It's not in the guide books but definitely should be.
Friday, March 26, 2010
I can't tell you how important Thursdays are here. It's riding lesson day! The girls get dressed in the morning in their jods and boots even though their lesson isn't until 4pm! Sofie was very proud of herself that she was in the lead during class. Usually she just follows the person in front of her but not this time. She did a brilliant job cantering today. Lucy had a great lesson as well. They're getting much better at cantering into their jumps and keeping the canter going.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
We finally got to go climb Crough Patrick! We've been wanting to do this for a while but weather and illness always got in the way. It was well worth the wait. The girls were a little skeptical when they first saw it but they met the challenge with amazing energy. At 2,500 ft., the hike took us 3.5 hours round trip.
The path was anything but smooth.
Every so often we'd stop and turn around to see the view. It kept getting better and better. That's Clew Bay. Could it get any better than this? Oh....it got better.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
And I almost did my hair just like this! Wouldn't that have been embarrassing? Same hair do at the parade as someone else. Jeesh!
The parade started a little after twelve o'clock. Even though we couldn't see much of the parade-it was like 5 rows deep along the route-it was the whole atmosphere that really made it worth while to go. The people watching was first rate.
After the parade, we walked to Croke Park to watch a hurling match and a Gaelic football game. Sofie and Owen walked and talked the entire way. They had a mutual love for cats- instant friends.
Gaelic football is similar to regular football, except you can use your hands and bounce the ball once when running with it. Tackling with your shoulder is also allowed. Owen was great at explaining all the rules for both the hurling and football games. Note the absence of shin guards, pads, etc. for both games. Talk about toughness training!
Monday, March 15, 2010
Lucy on J.R.
Well, we're back to our normal, quiet routine. Tim's caught another cold so we stayed home all weekend. The girls need a break from being in the car too. Only for a couple of days though. We're heading to Dublin on Wednesday. In case you don't know, it's St. Patrick's Day! We're going to a hurling match after the parades. The gorgeous weather continues......sunny and 50. I've heard people comment that April is the best month here.
The time is going by so quickly and there's still so much to see! It's hard to believe we've been here a little over 3 months. Tim and I both feel like it's now our second home. Everything people tell you about Irish hospitality is true. I've never met more friendly people. Not creepy friendly either; there's something so warm and decent about having a cup of tea next to the fire with a stranger that makes it feel like you're dear old friends. Is it the fire? The tea? I don't know but I'm hording tea to bring home and I've made plans to tear out our sterile gas fireplace and replace it with a real fireplace--hearth and all! There's something so primal about gathering around an open flame-listening to it snap and pop, poking in it, and watching the flames and embers glow. We will need a project when we get home and really, how hard can it be, right? I've got Tim!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Waterfall at Birr Castle
Left Bank, Athlone
Mom left this morning. It felt normal there for a week being all together, seeing her everyday. The girls have been pretty quiet all day. They definetly miss their Nana already. I'm still amazed at their strength and resilience to all the changes that have been going on the last three months. Are they oblivious? Do they really notice all of it? Or am I doing a great job at keeping things normal and right in their little world? I hope Yes is the answer to all the above.
Everyone here talks so much about the awful weather. I told Mom she'd better bring a raincoat and be prepared for gloomy days. Not the case. Mom had the best weather we've all seen here since we arrived! Nothing but sunshine and clear skies the entire week. Ruth, on the other hand, experienced true Irish weather. Only a couple more months, then we'll be homeward bound!