We felt the decision to book our ferry home a few days earlier than planned was vindicated when we had several wet and overcast days in succession preventing us from fully enjoying some of the amazing outdoor sites in Ireland.
Before checking into our Dublin campsite we enjoyed a delicious lunch and a lively couple of hours catching up with Pauline Boylan, the mother of a close friend of Annie’s. We then had two nights on a large campsite outside Dublin. This was only one we could find close enough to the city to have a bus route into the centre which still took nearly an hour each way.
Our first evening was spent having a walk around the city and visiting a couple of famous and very old pubs, The Long Hall (1766) and O’Donoghue’s (1789). This is a city we know quite well as Richard worked with a company headquartered here for three years so we had no need to revisit the most popular tourist attractions.
The second evening we had a real treat eating probably the best steak we have ever tasted at Shanahan’s on the Green, adjacent to St Stephen’s Green. Richard had been here on business and wanted to share the experience with Annie and it turned out to be every bit as good as he remembered.
Leaving Dublin on a wet misty day we headed south to the Wicklow Mountains (where the top of the Sugar Loaf was invisible, shrouded in cloud) and arrived at Glendalough the site of another ancient monastic centre just as the weather dried.
Glendalough, established in the 6th century by St Kevin has a magnificent setting in a wooded valley between two lakes.
Once a centre of learning it was noted for manuscript writing, copying and illustration or ‘illumination’. The ruins, partially caused by continuous sacking by the Vikings and finally attacks by the English, continue to be a site of pilgrimage for many but are also a huge tourist attraction with people also coming to walk on the various marked out hiking trails in The Wicklow Mountains National Park.
Our final night on a campsite was spent at Roundwood, the highest village in Ireland, where in an effort to get our last treat of live Irish music we stumbled upon the most out of tune, dreary and downbeat trio we have ever seen! They were performing in a pub claiming to be the highest in Ireland but as with so many boasts we have discovered on this trip, there are others that also lay claim to this title with arguably better justification.
The following day dawned bright and sunny and we continued south enjoying a stroll around Wexford before arriving at Rosslare where we parked up on a headland with lovely views out to sea and overlooking the long sandy beach with the ferry harbour in the distance. After Annie had enjoyed a walk on the beach in the sunshine we decided it was the perfect spot for us to spend the night rather than looking for another grotty car park somewhere.
Being close to the port it was only a 15 minute drive the next morning for our 8am ferry back to Fishguard. So on Tuesday 14th August we relaxed on a calm 3½ hour crossing on a rather grubby Stena Line ferry before a 4 hour drive home.
We have a couple of one week breaks planned including a week in New York to celebrate Annie’s 60th, but our next ‘blogging trip’ is scheduled to be to Sri Lanka in October/November where coincidentally England have a three match test series.