Ireland Road Tripping: Greystones & Wicklow Mountains

On Sunday, we decided to take a road trip towards the south of Dublin towards county Wickow which is known as the “Garden of Ireland” has it all – mountains, lakes, coast, beaches, forests, blanket bogs, ancient monastic sites, stately homes and gardens, pretty villages & towns.  Sounds great, so we first visit Greystones – a village we heard a lot about.   When we arrived we poked around a vintage flea market called Flea By The Sea – which had a mix of some real vintage items and a bunch of overpriced junk.  For example, a used, dark blue plastic police money box which Soren asked about.  Her reply to him was 20 EURO saying it was where Dr. Who slept – pfff.  Perhaps if it were brand new or metal would anyone pay 20 euro.   I was expecting a few EURO. So if I ever see one – [or if anyone who reads this blog posts sees one for cheap], grab it for Soren.

We parked our car in the centre and walked around the seafront a bit, where Nils and Maebh spotted a giant car boot sale -so we of course, had to visit that for a good hour.  We got some good deals including football boots for Soren.

Then back along the seafront, the kids played hop scotch and watched some people in the sea, a SUP and a seal.   Then we were off to explore but first had to eat.

Walking down the main street during lunch time with two hungry kids, we ended up in a place which had a soup/sandwich special for a good price – but in hindsight, I’d have preferred different.  It’s too bad we didn’t do any research on pubs or restaurants to visit as we ended up in one which was fine but not good food.  Note to self – never do that again.   But they did have a lot of laughs on their shared bench.

 

Before you say it – Soren just got a bit of a haircut now he can see again! ;0

After we left Greystones we took a drive into the Wicklow National Mountains through Enniskerry – which is such a cute town coined gateway to the garden of Ireland.  I’d much rather have had lunch here and a friend suggested next time we try Poppy’s for lunch in Enniskerry and come see the Kilmacanogue Horse Show next year.

We set off to find Ireland’s tallest waterfalls – Powerscourt Waterfalls.  It’s part of the Powerscourt Gardens Estate which looks like such a nice place so we’ll have to come back and explore. If we lived closer, I’d consider an annual membership as you support the estate, the amazing grounds and the conservation of the beautiful falls.  I just saw it was rated No. 3 garden in the world by National Geographic.

Not knowing what to expect after we paid entrance and went past the super cute cottage,we parked our car and walked over a bit but as you’ll see in the first photo, you can drive right up near them and many families were having picnics, birthday parties, etc.

There are some nice trails around which we didn’t do, but here you can see three 20 something year old guys who climbed up the side and were struggling to come down. Soren said they were “not smart people”.

Part of the falls area is a nice playground which the kids loved.   Soren was especially loving the metal crank thing where the water is brought up.

And like all the playgrounds here, a giant fire pole and super fast, super high slides -they are all so high and so fast – why?!  One kid came down so fast, they flew right off and into the dirt.

After an ice cream, we were off to make our way towards home, until Nils suggested one more detour and so we headed towards the Glendalough National Park. It was already 5 pm when we arrived, so we only planned to take a quick peek and head home.

We drove through the mountains on Military Road, built in 1800 by the British who were trying to gain access to areas wehre the Rebels who took park int he 1798 uprising were hiding out.

The first thing we came to was the Monastic site – an early Christian monastic settlement founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. Over time, this early settlement developed into one of the great monasteries in Ireland whose remains can be seen in the Monastic City today.

The Monastic Site contains a number of monastic remains. Foremost among these is the Round Tower which stands 30m high and has been completely preserved. Round towers are a feature unique to Irish monasticism and have evoked much curiosity as to their purpose. As a symbol, the Round Tower has become synonymous with Glendalough.
Other buildings of interest include:
  • the Cathedral which was dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul;
  • St. Kevin’s Church (commonly known as St. Kevin’s Kitchen) dating from the 12th century;
  • St. Kieran’s Church which stands next to St. Kevin’s Church in testament to their friendship;
  • St. Mary’s Church dating from the 10th century which was also known as Teampall na mBan (the Women’s Church) and stands in the outer enclosure of the Monastic City;
  • the Priest’s House which stands in the cemetery.
Remains of other churches outside the Monastic City itself can also be found on the site. These include the beautifully preserved Trinity Church dating from the 11th century; Reefert Church which was one of the earliest built and stands in the area near the Upper Lake known as St. Kevin’s Desert; and St. Saviour’s Church situated at the eastern end of the valley about 20 minutes’ walk from the Monastic City.
A number of other features of archaeological and spiritual significance can be found. A large granite High Cross, thought to be one of the earliest in Ireland, stands at the centre of the Monastic City.
The remains of an old stone fort or ‘caher’ can be found between the Upper and Lower Lake. A further three stone crosses can also be found in this area.
Most significant of all is St. Kevin’s Bed, a Bronze Age cave carved into the rock overlooking the Upper Lake which St. Kevin made his retreat when he founded the monastery. It is a lonely and inhospitable place which gives one an idea of the hardships faced by early Irish monks and the courage and commitment it took to face their challenges.
St. Kevin’s Bed is no longer accessible but can be viewed from the other shore of the lake. However, St. Kevin’s Cell on a ledge of rock also overlooking the Upper Lake can be accessed relatively easily. Here the remains of a beehive hut can be seen which is also thought to have been St. Kevin’s.

From the monastic site, we took a 2 km walk before finally heading back to the car and make our way home.



Overall it was a lovely place to visit and like the other places on our trip today, it would be nice to come back and visit again – especially during their family days – which look to be fun & educational.

There is a place just up the road called Clara Lara –  despite their horrible website – it looks great. Apparently it is a unique outdoor adventure park – dedicated to providing healthy and creative fun for
families and groups of children. 30 acres of beautiful countryside in the Avonmore River valley with tree houses, Tarzan swings, rope bridges, rowing boats, water slides, rafts, canoes, junior go-carts, B.B.Q.s, mini golf, picnic areas, a restaurant and lots more.
 




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s