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East Coast:  Dublin and Other

Although we have had many experiences in Dublin, mostly good, it is a difficult city for us to write about. Since our first trips in the early 90's it has changed greatly and we have changed even more so.  Thus our thoughts and impressions are constantly evolving.

Karin has done extensive research on the history of Dublin, specifically the background of sites that can still be seen.  We are now compiling this into a series of brief notes about the highlights of walking around central Dublin. Our Dublin Historical Highlights

For most of 2012 circumstances conspired against us to spend time becoming reacquainted with Dublin.  During what little time we have spent there we were greatly impressed with the public transit system; it is now quite easy to get around and with due speed--no endless waiting at clogged intersections as in the old days of 2000.

Middle December was a little slow in Ennis so we decided to hop over to Dublin for a day of hectic Christmas spirit.  Catching the earliest train there and the latest back allowed eight hours in Dublin--too much for our old legs it turned out.  Yet we greatly enjoyed it and included visits to two free museums, the National Museum of Archeology and the Chester Beatty Library amongst all the holiday gawking.

Interior of St. Stephen's Green shopping in December 2012


A Hallmark Christmas at St. Stephen's Green Shopping Centre

Glendalough & Avoca

Glendalough tower Wicklow

 

This area is one of the most visited because it is a pleasant drive out of Dublin, about 60 minutes of good scenery and then even better vistas within the Wicklow Mountains National Park and Glendalough valley. 

 

It is a great area for getting out and stretching your legs on paved paths along streams and by lakes.  The round tower and surrounding monastic ruins go back to the earliest days of Irish Christianity.  While we were there the mood was enhanced by a flautist somewhere off in the woods.

 

Avoca hand weavers mill

 

When leaving be sure and take the route through Avoca.  Here you will find a well preserved old mill and a modern factory for weaving wool.  It is one of the few places left where you still have the choice of wandering around at your own pace or joining with a guide to get your questions answered.  You will see Avoca products throughout Ireland but they will be more meaningful once you have talked with one of the workers who made them.

Waterford

Waterford is billed as Ireland's oldest city and I am sure it has much to offer but the few times we have found ourselves in this far southeastern tip of the nation we have only had time for the Waterford Crystal Factory.  It is fascinating; I highly recommend it.

Waterford crystal display


For our 2012 visit we chose Blenheim House B & B.  Everything was excellent, rooms, decor, hosts and grounds.

                       Blenheim House, Waterford, Ireland

The three entries on this page so far involve shopping.  So lets have a change of pace to look at stallions and horse breeding--and gardens.

Kildare

  stallion at Irish National Stud                                               (Not exactly East Coast but only a 30 minute drive from Dublin’s M50.)

In travelling to every nook and cranny of Ireland we usually shoot right through the middle of the country.  In 2017 we are making up for that by investigating further some by-passed spots.  The first of these is Kildare.  In old days one drove through the town on the N7 now one has to exit the M7 and stop at Kildare Village, an upscale outlet mall.  Of course, I only recommend this mall for those who love shopping because bargains are few and far between.  Except for the Clark’s outlet; I got a good deal on discontinued shoes there.

The Irish National Stud and Gardens itself is very impressive.  Frankly well maintained grounds are rare in Ireland so these stand out in the attention to detail.  Everywhere you look there is something pleasing to the eye.  Our April visit was cold and rainy but it was still a delightful experience from start to finish.  The stallions were in their stalls rather than paddocks and not much movement but still quite interesting. Of course, the Japanese garden was the highlight but the desserts and coffee in the restaurant were great too.red footbridge in Japanese Garden

Speaking of which, there are several well rated eating and drinking establishments centered around the town square.  So plan your cross country itinerary to include a stop in Kildare.  I know I will next time.

leery stallion Kildare    friendly stallion Irish Stud    stallion paddocks Irish Stud

paddocks at Irish National stud    Colonel Walker, Kildare    Colonel Walker statue closeup  

robin on a horse, Kildare    monk bee hive, Kildare    St. Fiacra Garden waterfall    entrance Japanese Gardens, Kildare    Japanese Gardens, Kildare    pond in Japanese Gardens Kildare
Mini-gallery:  Click to enlarge. Photos by Karin

Continue to our next adventure in the West of Ireland

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