I am half Irish and I have a confession to make…. I have only been to Ireland a handful of times and all of them to the urban centre of Dublin. This is something which niggles at me and I plan to remedy it along with my brother at some point soon to go in search of our family’s origins.
Part of the lack of visits is due to the fact that it was my mother’s side of the family that were Irish and she passed away when I was 11. Her parents are also both gone and my uncles live overseas Still, I do feel, at age 31, like I would enjoy digging through my roots and little and I know my brother feels the same.
All that said, the visits to Ireland have always been lovely. I went to Dublin with my friend for New Year in (messy) to visit a friend’s boyfriend for New Year (messy) and then to visit the same friends for St Patrick’s (messy)… more recently, a friend is living there with her (now) husband and they have just had a lovely son.
So The Boy and I headed off to a weekend to visit them in the county of Wicklow, which lies just south of Dublin. This is rural Ireland, with minimal petrol stations, shops and general hustle bustle – most definitely in comparison to Bradford anyway.
Our friends live in a lovely house which is located equidistant to the hills and the beach. We didn’t make it to the beach this time (distracted by the baby and generally being in lazy holiday mode) but we did make it to the hills.
Glendalough is an old monastic site. It is named for ‘the valley of the two lakes’. Our friend told us it was a very popular tourist spot, but on the windy and slightly wet Friday in January that we visited, it was pretty quiet. I loved it – the sight of the snow sprinkled mountains and the icy cold lake were very calming. We didn’t go mad with sightseeing, but even driving around the country roads and through the villages it was a great experience, looking at the little traditional houses in the villages and the rather palatial ones outside the settlements.
We also headed to the village of Avoca, made famous by Ballykiss Angel (which I have never seen) Apparently the local pub is one of the best in Ireland… We decided on the Avoca Mill instead for tea and a giant scone. Its worth looking at the Avoca Village marketing website – it’s a bit strange and features donkeys!
I can’t wait for my next escape to the country!