Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Glendalough, Avoca, Waterford & Cork

Today was a busy day that started around 7:00.  We got on the bus around 8:00 am and headed out of Dublin.  We learned that today was the first day back to school for most children.  I found that interesting because many children in the US also start back on the day after Labor Day.  Our tour guide said they started back after some national game.  It might have been the hurling game we heard so much about the day before.

kids going to school, walking along the quay

Our first stop was about an hour away and it was Glendalough, an abandoned monastery built in the 5th century by St. Kevin.  Glendalough is in the Wicklow Mountains in County Wicklow.  The weather turned off wet, blustery and cold and I was very glad to have my rain poncho.  We enjoyed walking around the grounds and taking pictures.  St. Kevin was said to have fasted and prayed for 7 years, sleeping on the ground and only eating what he could catch and find.  It was a very interesting and beautiful place.  It made you feel like you had stepped back into a medieval fairy tale.

Tom, our friendly tour guide, said we were going somewhere different and unscheduled for lunch.  Evidently, the place he had planned to take us couldn’t accommodate us.  We had about an hour and a half drive, but the country-side was gorgeous.  I took lots of pictures, but I’m sure they won’t do the scenery justice.  Our lunch stop was in a little village called Avoca.  We found out that a much-loved BBC TV series called Ballykissangel was filmed there.  The town is also known for its hand weaving.  We were able to watch them doing some weaving and grab a delicious snack in a café there.  They also had a nice shop were they had some of their products for sale.

We traveled on about two hours to Waterford.   Every turn in the road brought new sights to see.  As we traveled south, we went past several bays and even caught sight of the ocean.  We passed through New Ross where JFK’s grandfather departed for the US.  There was a monument erected in honor of JFK right on the dock and they have a replica of the SS Dunbrody from 1845.  Waterford is a bustling port city and we spent about an hour touring the Waterford Crystal Factory.  We were able to watch master craftsmen at work and ask them questions if we wanted.

monument in honor of JFK

made for rescue workers on 9/11

  • can you believe that I only got water here?

our hotel for the night

We made it to Cork City in Cork Co. around 5:30.  We are staying at a beautiful hotel called the River Lee Hotel.  It is right on the river and the whole front is glass and we have wonderful views.  Before dinner a historian spoke to us about some of the local history.  He specifically spoke to us about Cobh, which we will see tomorrow.  It was the last port of call of the Titanic before it sunk.  Our tour provided us dinner in the hotel tonight and we enjoyed the meal and visiting with the others in the group.  Cork is a fairly large size town and I wished we were here longer to see more of it.  We have another early day tomorrow, and then we will be on the road again.  I believe we go to Cobh and Kilkenny.

Until next time!


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