Casa’s Blog

A Life Abroad

I said nothing can take away these blues, ’cause nothing compares, nothing compares to you…

Today’s start was slightly hectic.  I had pre-book a “Wild Wicklow Tour” to the Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough before I left Leeds and all my ticket said was to be outside Gresham Hotel at 9:20am.  Now finding the hotel was easy enough as it was on the main street – O’Connell St…but when I got there, there were 4 different buses titled something involving “Wicklow” and a mass of people.  Which one was mine?  Ummm….eerrr who knows!😛 Interestingly enough…none of the 4 buses was mine and a few minutes later my bus rocked up, the majority of the people (80% of us waiting) jumped on and we were off.

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Our guide/driver for the day was Kev…who surprisingly looked a lot like Big Kev.  I ask you, is he really dead or did he escape his business collapse in Australia and scamper to Ireland to start running tours from Dublin?  He was good, but probably a little too rehearsed.  Nothing was spontaneous in what he said…and although most tour guides read from a script – at least some make you believe it isn’t that scripted haha.

Our first stop was in a little harbour town near Dublin (Dun Laoghaire).  This was just a photo stop, but it was great to see that although we aren’t far from the coastline of Northern Ireland…it certainly looks a lot different. Totally different terrain.  We then stopped at the Avoca handweaving store which was a pointless 30mins.  Yes we could grab a coffee or go to the toilet but to me it just looks like a shady under the table deal has gone on for the tour to stop there so dumb tourists spend there money there. I just sat in the gardens in the sun (Yes it was a brilliantly sunny day…more on that later ;))

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As we passed the Sugarloaf mountains (no dam unfortunately😛 haha), we entered County Wicklow. A county that Kev kept referring to as the “Garden of Ireland and he was pretty accurate in that description I think!  It was truly beautiful countryside.  Another picture stop at a point that looked over the Guinness estate (Beer makes good money😉 ) and I was delighted to see Kev with a bottle of Jameson’s in his hand. Free glasses of Whisky all round…the perfect drink while looking at such a wonderful scene.

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We then stopped in another little town for lunch.  I decided the local pub’s carvery would be good enough and I got a Beef and Guinness stew…topped off with a pint of Guinness to wash it down haha.  Now this is a somewhat random observation, especially to mention at this point, but this pub was about the 15th Irish pub I had been in to where in the Men’s room there were only “speciality condoms”😉 on sale.  None of the good ol’ fashioned ones – what is with the Irish?! :S  And the story goes that the Brits are the kinky ones…

Anyway we were back in the bus and off to Glendalough. Glendalough is a Monastery first founded in the 600s and is near two lakes – Upper and Lower.    It was a beautiful setting.  The stone monastery with its stone roofs, massive graveyards (that would’ve interest mum especially as they dated back so long), tower and little chapel was amazingly preserved. It was an amazing location with amazing history on show.

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By far the highlight though was the lakes.  Much like Cumbria, the views blew me away.  I am annoyed that I will have to add the pictures in to this post later as there is NO WAY I could describe in words what the view was like.  I can just say that it was such a peaceful slice of Ireland. With all the conflict through Ireland’s past and present it would be easy to forget that you were in the same place as you sat by the lakes.  I found myself just relaxing in the sun by the lakes.

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And that gets me back on to the weather.  I promised I would discuss it again.  Gloomy and wet Ireland has only rarely reared its head for me.  I have seen a sunny Dublin, Belfast and countryside that is probably a view uncommon sight, but it is a beautiful sight.  I think it would be interesting to re do all this Irish excursion…with traditional irish weather. I don’t know if it would be better or worse, but no doubt it would be different.

Anyway thats my day…I will just add in what I put as my facebook status yesterday for posperity and those who aren’t my “friends”.
“Simon Casinader just saw one old irishman get full on punched in the face by another old irishman. He then got up, apologised, they shook hands and then they walked in different directions. WHAT A COUNTRY!”

April 3, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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