At the time, a beautiful day of driving south out of Dublin with some nice sites. Looking back—since pretty much everywhere we went in Ireland was stunningly beautiful—I’d have to amend that to say an average day with fair sights.
We packed and left Dublin for Powerscourt. We didn’t tour the manor house but, instead, walked down in the the fields below to see the famous 397′ waterfall, the highest in Ireland. What amazed me the most was that it was just a waterfall you could walk up to in somebody’s (admittedly nice) back yard. In the U.S. it would have been fenced in and guarded by the National Forestry Service with notices everywhere about deportation to Guantanamo if you even thought about getting near it. There, we could have climbed it if we had wanted to.
After Powerscourt we moved on to Glendalough to see the remains of a 6th century monastic community. We’ve all read the stories about how the Irish monks saved civilization by preserving books and manuscripts during the Middle Ages. This was one of those places before its destruction by the English in the 14th century. However, it wasn’t all work and no play for the good brethren; the annals of the era talk about “riotous assembly” on the feast days, particularly the Feast of St. Kevin, the community’s founder.
The “postcard” view from outside the community:
There were a few too many other people there that day for my taste; it seemed like everywhere I looked there were people standing in my way. Of course, I was standing in theirs…
A totally unexpected bit of lagniappe came as we were leaving. Starving, we stopped at the Wicklow Inn for some seafood chowder. On a whim, I ordered some lemon meringue pie for dessert…and who expects good lemon meringue pie in Ireland? It was the best. Even Frank, who doesn’t particularly care for it, thought it was insanely good.
A note on seafood chowder: before we left the U.S., I had told Laurie that there was no way I was eating seafood chowder for the entire trip, no matter what she said. I mean, I like it…I even like it a lot, but a week of it? No way! I’d be sick of it in three days.
Well, now I’m eating crow on that one. Every place we went had its own, particular variety. Different creaminess; different seafood; different spices. All were great, although I think Wicklow Inn remains my favorite. I have to say, despite the dire warnings about food in Ireland from know-nothing friends here, I think we had only one bad meal the entire trip.
While driving down to Dunmore East for the night, Julie noticed a town on the map named Graiguenamanagh. “I wonder how you pronounce that?” she said.
“Well, let’s go find out,” replied Laurie. Hard right turn. Off we go; our first Plan B. It turned out to be a rather boring town, but we did have a Guinness and find out the proper pronunciation before resuming our original path.
We spent the night in a B&B in Dunmore East.