?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Day Two: Wicklow and Glendalough

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Day Two: Wicklow and Glendalough

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
flyposters
Saturday, 27 June 2009

Today, we had schedules a tour of the Wicklow Mountains and of Glendalough. The Wicklow Mountains are just south of Dublin. We woke up, had breakfast downstairs, and went to meet the bus on O'Connell Street. We ended up in the wrong queue and were delighted to find that, instead of the sleek silver year-3000 tour bus, we were actually scheduled to go in the smaller red minibus. Our driver was great, introducing us to such gems such as calling Dublin's millenial monument--a tall silver spire that resembles a nice-looking cell-phone tower--the Stiffy by the Liffey rather than its proper name of the Spire of Light.

The weather in Dublin so far has been more like summer in Maryland than what we were led to believe of summer in Ireland. It has been quite sunny and very warm as a result. After spending the bulk of England and Scotland last September cocooned inside a heavy sweater and, generally, soaked to the skin by all the rain, I am not protesting our change in fortunes.

Thus, we had a gorgeous day for Wicklow, but the minibus was also very hot, and I fell asleep, still somewhat tired from the traveling on Thursday. When I woke, we were outside of Dublin and in view of Sugarloaf Mountain. We stopped several times along the high, winding road to trek off the road a bit to see lakes and take photos. It was beautiful. We stopped for tea and coffee served in styrofoam cups from the back of the minibus and got to mingle a bit with the other passengers, and some of the xenophobia that always accompanies groupings created via happenstance fell away. This is, also, why I was glad we weren't in the space-age tour bus, besides that those tiny mountain roads would have just felt wrong if not taken at reckless speeds while feeling every dip and pothole.

It actually reminded me quite a bit of the mountains in Puerto Rico--sans palm trees, naturally--with the tree-cloaked mountains that fell away, in places, to expose bare rock, and the tiny road threaded upon them that was barely wide enough (and sometimes not wide enough) for two cars. I am now in debate about whether the most beautiful place I've been is the Wicklow Mountains or the stretch of coast in southern Puerto Rico near Guanica. I don't know that I can choose, and being able to consider such a choice does not seem to be a situation worth complaining about.

We stopped in the town of Laragh for lunch before heading on to Glendalough. Glendalough is a monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by Saint Kevin, where it remained important until Roman-influenced Christianity began to dominate and the relatively less ascetic lives of the so-called "Celtic" monks began to be discouraged in favor of the stricter orders.

Some of the structures of Glendalough remain even to this day. It remains awe-inspiring to me to walk into buildings that, at the flourishing of the Rennaissance in Britain, were already 100 years old. There are also two lakes and a trail that circumvents them called the Green Road which, of course, having more than adequate time, we walked.

Then it was back into the minibus to return to Dublin. We also had a reservation that night for a music-and-dance show and dinner at the Merry Ploughboy's pub just outside of Dublin. That is all that I am permitted to say about that.

We went to the regular Merry Ploughboy's pub downstairs after the show. I had been drunk, at this point, just once in my life. Make that twice now. I felt that I could not come to Ireland and go to an Irish pub without crossing my usual two-Guinesses-and-a-happy-buzz line. At least I didn't do anything embarrassing, aside from getting the brilliant idea (along with Marie) while Bobby was in the bathroom, of taking pictures of ourselves with our digital cameras. I cannot say the same for others at the Merry Ploughboy, which was--if nothing else--quite merry. It was good people-watching, to be sure.

A taxi ride home, and we were pooped. Despite the long day and the fact that all three of us were considerably pickled, to say the least, we managed to carry on a conversation with our taxi driver about the deregulation of the Dublin taxi industry and how it was affecting individual drivers and long-term forecasts for how it would possibly stabilize itself in the future.

That did it. Fifteen minutes later, I think we were all asleep.


Day One



Dublin Castle from the roof of the Chester Beatty Museum.

Ireland 2009

Dublin Castle garden from the roof of the Beatty museum. Back when the Vikings landed in Dublin in the tenth century, this part was underwater and earned Dublin its name: Dubh Linn, which is Irish for "black pool."

Ireland 2009

Marie and I found this much funnier when we thought it was a home for the sick and indecent. Oops. Oh well, we were all travel-wearied!

Ireland 2009

The Wicklow Mountains



Sugarloaf Mountain is the pointy one just visible behind the rest.

Ireland 2009

Ireland 2009

Ireland 2009

Ireland 2009

Some weirdos.

Ireland 2009

A lake in the Wicklow Mountains. (Bad me, I do not remember the name! :( )

Ireland 2009

Ireland 2009

This building was once a teahouse frequented by Oscar Wilde.

Ireland 2009

The little black bricks are formed by digging peat from the embankments and leaving them to dry in the sun. Rural homes often use this for a heat source, although it has been discouraged in recent years because of the toll it takes on the land. Some of the hillsides are visibly scarred from such digging.

Ireland 2009

I remember the name of this lake! This is Guinness Lake. No, it is not filled with Guinness, else you would see a wee Dawn swimming in the middle of it. I believe that one of the Guinness family owned the land, once upon a time, hence the name.

Ireland 2009

Ireland 2009

Ireland 2009

Ireland 2009

Fools again.

Ireland 2009

Ireland 2009

Glendalough



The double archway was the entrance into the monastic settlement.

Ireland 2009

The cross carved onto this stone signified entrance onto sacred ground.

Ireland 2009

The church with the round tower in the background.

Ireland 2009

Crossing the bridge to the Green Road, I think this stream captured all of our imaginations.

Ireland 2009

The lower lake at Glendalough.

Ireland 2009

Ireland 2009

The (enchanted?) forest between the upper and lower lakes.

Ireland 2009

Ireland 2009

Ireland 2009

I don't know who are these people who keep appearing in our photos ...

Ireland 2009

The upper lake.

Ireland 2009

These flowers were everywhere in Wicklow.

Ireland 2009

Ireland 2009

Ireland 2009

Ireland 2009

The large Celtic cross is called St. Kevin's cross although what (if any) connection exists to St. Kevin is unknown.

Ireland 2009

Our tour guide informed us that hugging St. Kevin's cross is thought to be lucky, kind of like kissing the Blarney Stone. He warned us, though, only to do so away from the site staff, as they discourage hugging the cross for fear that, over time, it will become unsettled. It has already had to be reset once. Of course, Bobby and I--ourselves public servants as well as concerned with the preservation of historical monuments, not to mention not being superstitious--took a pass on hugging a carved piece of rock.

Ireland 2009 Ireland 2009


The oldest Celtic cross on the site.

Ireland 2009

Ireland 2009

Ireland 2009
  • What beautiful pictures! You really have a talent for landscape photography. Everything looks so dramatic, and the "enchanted forest" pictures kind of look like . . . *shifty eyes* an 80s Trapper Keeper cover.

    What kind of luck does hugging the cross bring? Or is it just general good fortune?
  • Beautiful pictures. And it looks like you're enjoying yourselves lots and lots, which is utterly perfect. I'm sooo envious. :)

  • Gorgeous! Wish I was there - you need more weirdos in your pictures! ;)
  • OMG! I am so jealous. Beautiful pictures.
  • What an amazing place - I really must get around to visiting Ireland one of these days!
  • Damn, seeing that has made me sigh to go back to Ireland again. Glendalough just blew me away when I went, it's like a place out of time in a land which is aleady magical.

    Stunning pictures!
  • Those are wonderful pictures. We got rained on the whole time we were there (we expected gentle Irish mist, certainly, but got BUCKETLOADS of rain, so I'm happy to see what Glendalough actually looks like. My happiest memory of our visit to Glendalough was my first introduction to hot whiskey. Yum! If you get caught in the rain, too, be sure to try it!
  • Gorgeous pics! Looks like you're having a great time!
  • Gorgeous pictures, lovely description! It's always wonderful to read your travel journals. LOL on the "Incident" building...A lot of the pictures are just enchanting and they just scream "Elves! Elves!"
  • Oh Wicklow! Now I want to return (even though I lost my heart to Co Waterford). We stayed for a couple of days in the middle of Wicklow Mountains in a manor and we visited Glendalough briefly while we drove there (rented car). Coming from the flat lands, this what I expected when people say 'rolling slopes'. And those small roads, can you imagine how intimidated those big busses are when you are driving a small car?

    It remains awe-inspiring to me to walk into buildings that, at the flourishing of the Rennaissance in Britain, were already 100 years old.

    Oh yes, we had a female tour guide back then, we started at the bell tower, but she never explained the cross thing to us (but then again, this is what 5 years ago?) I love to see pics of Glendalough again, at Deviant art I have two up which I found the best (we had bad spells of rain on that day), here is one of St. Kevin's Kitchen and one of the graveyard. Did you guys also spot the deer stone and heard of the legend that came with it. And that small waterfall... gorgeous!

    No, it is not filled with Guinness, else you would see a wee Dawn swimming in the middle of it.

    LOL!
  • They are so beautiful and looked so magical. I wouldn't be surprised if I found an elf lurking inside the forest or dragon flew over the mountains!
  • Dawn!! I was in Dublin the same weekend as you - we arrived on Thursday night and left early early Monday morning (but fortunately no jet leg since we were just travelling between London and Dubs!). We went to Glendalough on Sunday - I recognise the places in your photos! :D Wicklow looks beautiful.
  • I'm happy you're enjoying my adoptive home country!
    The Spire has about ten different nicknames I think... The Spire in the Mire, The Stiletto in the Ghetto, The Stiffy by the Liffey... while the statue of Molly Malone is nicknamed The Tart with the Cart and Anna Livia is also known as The Floozie in the Jacuzzi.

    Yeah. Irish people love rhyming names for things!
  • Goregous! My second favorite author (Diane Duane) has a book set there, though it's somewhat fictionalized geographically. And Sugarloaf plays a somewhat important role. So I really loved seeing your pictures.
  • What gorgeous countryside! Are you sure you're in Ireland and not Beleriand?
Powered by LiveJournal.com