...An Aussie on Holiday, Part 6
When I last left you guys I was digesting a pretty rough meal (a mouse pasty!) and feeling even rougher. What I strongly needed was an AWESOME day out to lift my spirits. Luckily my friends Denis and Kevin at Wild Wicklow tours had just the remedy!
Those of you who know me know that I have wanted to visit Ireland for a VERY long time, working in tourism does that to you.
You make friends with all different nationalities and start making a list of all the different areas you want to visit - eventually that list can get very long but Ireland has ALWAYS been at the very top of my list. Especially after watching the movie P.S I love you – which is set in America with patches in Ireland.
After watching the movie, I moved on to reading the book writing by Irish Author Cecelia Ahern then continued to make my way through ALL of Cecelia’s books - which are (for the most part) set in different areas of Ireland. Anyway, these books and movies, along with meeting so many amazing Irish people really made me keen to see Ireland and its countryside, so I was so excited to be heading out for a day trip to the country side.
Our tour guide - Kev, bless him, was right on time for the 9.20am pick up on O’Connell street in Dublin City.
He gives everyone a huge hearty Irish welcome and we’re off! YAY! Not even halfway down the street and Kev starts filling our heads with information, telling us about how much the millennium spire in the middle of the street cost (OMG!) and about the history of the city - this man REALLY knows his stuff! A few more pickups through Dublin and more history about the amazing Georgian architecture… I’m gobsmacked and actually stunned into silence of the beauty and history of these old buildings.
We have a quick 5 min break in Dun Laogahaire (pronounced Done Leary) so we can take photos and ‘enjoy’ the cold. Along the coastal sides and we are told about wee little towns, about the nude sunbathing in the area - but in my opinion it's too bloody cold to go out in less then tights, jeans, socks, boots, a thermal undershirt, another undershirt, a long sleeved over shirt, a thick snow jacket, a scarf and a beanie or hat of some sort... but that’s just me!
Through Enniskerry and onwards, we start seeing mountains and countryside. Next stop our coffee break!
We stop at the Avoca Wool mill for coffee, but I quickly run around outside to do a few photos of the surrounds before my hot chocolate break - it's just too pretty not to!! While taking my photos I see a Robin Red Breast and almost get clocked by a car - all in all a good photo session! I quickly grab a takeaway hot chocolate and join up with Kev and everyone else on the Wild Wicklow bus… As usual I’m one of the stragglers. Oopsie!!!
Next stop - WICKLOW Mountain National Park! We drive around bogs and lochs and mountains and houses, we hear about the history of the area, the hard times and the good times that Ireland has seen and learn about the Vikings and how they would destroy towns. Kev tells us about how County Wicklow sees a lot of filming through the area, with various films and tv shows shot there – including Braveheart and PS I love you. He even points out the main areas that filming is done - to think I am in the same area Gerrad Butler was when he was filming PS I love you… Sigh.
We are starting to see little patches of snow left and I get the idea that outside of the bus is a lot colder than it was back in Dublin! We carry on to see Loch Tay filling our view, everyone is up and straining in their seats to try and get a better look - it is STUNNING! Kev tells us that there is no need to struggle as he will stop up ahead so we can have a look – but everyone is still cranking their necks as if afraid this amazing sight may disappear at any second, it just looks so magical!
We jump out and start snapping, there are so many flashes going off it feels like the paparazzi are here!
We are standing on the top of a cliff, looking down into this huge deep blue lake, there are some buildings to the side, but it’s the lake itself which is amazing.
We all have our fill of Loch Tay and eventually Kev herds us back to the bus. But being that it is so cold outside, and Kev – being the type of guy who looks out for his guests, is worried about our health.
We’d better warm up quick smart! So, as ever the charming host - Kev is waiting for us at the Wild Wicklow tour bus with shot glasses and a bottle of Jameson Whiskey, bless him!!
We drink our drinks and stagger onto the bus feeling much warmer, best get some lunch into us before too much more whiskey - hey Kev? And so it is LUNCH TIME!
We head to a cute little town and get our grub-on in a little pub, yum! They’ve pulled out all stops here with hot food waiting for us.
There are soups, stews, veggie options, roasts and more, but the local Honey Baked Ham with veggies and mash has my name all over it! I get a huge meal plus a bread roll and a drink for less a bargain and honestly the meal could have fed two.
I snuggle into the pub, give the meal my best go then jump outside for a few more happy snaps - what a great day so far!!! As I’m heading back to the bus, I am surprised to see Denis (the owner of Wild Wicklow day tours) behind the wheel and Kev tucked into one of the seats - must have had too many Jamesons at lunch hey Kev??
A film crew emerge and it turns out that Denis is about to make his film debut and we’re all going to be FAMOUS!!! I always knew I’d be famous one day, turns out today’s my day! Denis does a little drive and gives Kev a chance for his lunch to settle, then we are at Glenalough the town of Lochs.
We take a guided walk with Kevin through the Graveyard and monasitic ruins, seeing celtic crosses, ruins and more. Some of the headstones have no writing on them which Kevin explains is because of the age of some of the stones some may be older then 1720 when a lot of people couldn’t read or write so there wasn’t much point in writing on the stones. Wow!
I pop out and view the two lakes and then pop into the local hotel for a hot chocolate and a chance to warm up before popping back onto the bus with Kev and all the happy guests. What a lovely day out!!!
On our way back to Dublin, Kev puts some Irish music on, we have a sing along and watch the sun go down over Wicklow, what an amazing way to end a brilliant day.
Kev does a little re-cap telling us the areas to see and things to do while in Dublin some of which are totally free - which is always appreciated!
After my horrible meal experience yesterday in town, Kev has given me faith to step back out and try again - BLESS HIM!
Tomorrow I'm going to explore town and see what Ireland throws my way - BRING IT ON!