March 30 1000am

People in Dublin walk their dogs off leash, and the dogs are weirdly well behaved. A gorgeous smaller german shepherd dog and her owner just walked by my tour bus while we were sitting here picking up two more people. She strayed one foot off the sidewalk, and one sharp command from her owner had her back at his ankles.

The view over Dublin from up the mountains is magnificent. Today though we are facing typical Irish dreariness, so there’s not too much of a clear view. It is views like this that make me wish I had one of those professional photography cameras to try and capture what it’s like to see sucha view. I’d love to come back here on my own in a car one day and run around the fields (particularly if it could be done on a sunny day). From here, you’re really stunned by the size of the city.

We just stopped at Oscar Wilde’s childhood home. While you can’t see it due to a million trees around it, I took a picture of the trees, lol. The sun is finally starting to come out, so maybe I’ll get some more nice pictures of the mountains.

March 30 100pm

The Wicklow Mountains are just stunning, and it’s not even spring and summer. The heather that covers everything is still just a dark maroon color, and it’s beautiful now–I can’t imagine how beautiful it is when it blooms bright purple. There are ridges all across the land where locals come and harvest turf to burn for fuel. You would think it would take away from the scenery, only it doesn’t. The heather quickly takes the raw dirt back, leaving the mountainsides textured.

I’ve seen Arthur Guinness’ home, deep in a valley, sitting stately beside the aptly named Guinness Lake. The water is deep deep brown, easily visible where it meets the land on cream colored sand. A trickle no bigger than a stream races along the narrow road and down into his valley, where it feeds the lake.

I also saw the bridge from PS I Love You, when Holly and Jerry first meet as she’s walking through the Wicklow Mts. I love that movie, it’s one of my all time favorites, so it was really cool to see it.

A waterfall just before the small village where we’ve stopped to eat falls beside the road, past little fluffs of white, pregnant sheep grazing on the steep hills. The valley goes so deep you can’t make out any faces on the sheep furthest down in the flat, emerald field below. They look like little white clouds floating above the grass. The waterfall itself was rather small and unassuming, but serene, water dark brown like the water of Guinness Lake.

The cute little village and pub we ate lunch at is set in another little valley. I ate Guinness Beef Stew, which was DECADENT, I ate the entire bowl and I’m now overflowing. We are currently paying our fees for the tour, and then we are heading to the ruined monastery of Glendalough. The sun is finally shining, I’m hoping it will stay this way while I’m wandering the grounds.

Mar 30 545 pm
I’m so mad at myself for booking the wrong time train! It’s not a big deal because I didn’t have to do anything or pay anything, I just showed up late and took the next train. But the sucky part is for those who booked early, your name is displayed on a digitized screen above the seat you’re assigned! How cool would that have been, to get a picture of my name above the train set. I’m pissed, lol.

I’m sitting here in my seat anxiously awaiting departure. It’s a 2 hour and 45 minute ride to Cork. Soon as I get there I’m checking into my hostel, then attempting to find food, as I’m feeling slight hunger pains.

Glendalough was cool. It is a monastery dating from 900 AD, that was destroyed by the vikings in the 1500s. Since that time it has been a cemetary through the centuries. There are tons of graves there, as new as the 1920s (from what I saw, there may be some newer than that). But then there are others so old the writing has worn off, or they’ve fallen and been moved from where the owners lay. Several remains of monastery buidings exist, including a virtually intact church. It’s a very holy place, having been used up until quite recently as an active church for the community. Glendalough is peaceful, full of celtic high crosses marking the graves of those long buried.

The drive back to Dublin was just as beautiful, yet no stops. We saw baby lambs everywhere. We also crossed through the dammed lake of the River Liffey. In the 1940s the government decided they wanted to dam the Liffey to create a lake to supply water to the city of Dublin. It passed unanimously, and the 50 families living in the Liffey valley were offered compensation and told to start packing. An all out war ensued for over a year over the fact that many of the homes were ancestral homes, having been inhabited by said families for generations. Finally, the government told them there was no negotiation, they were to get out immediately. My tour guide said all the roads are still intact beneath the lake, and all the stone frames of the houses are intact as well (minus the roofs, there were thatched, and thus removed before the flooding so as not to clog the dam).

My tour guide, bless his heart, dropped me off right at the doors to Heuston Station to catch my train. Had he not done that, I would have had to figure out which Dublin bus would get me across town, and then had to wait on it. The travel time would have set me back even more. As it is, I;m right on schedule as I thought I’d be.

Ok. I’m stopping here. I’ve got two pages of stuff from the train, and I need to shower and go to bed, I can’t keep my eyes open. I’ll do it tomorrow.