I’ve been traveling a bit the past few days and have been joined by my daughter Caitlin for the week. Here’s where I’ve been since visiting Birr Castle.
First, I spent three days based in a B&B between Avoca and Redcross in County Wicklow. Of course, I visited Avoca where the BBC program about life in a small Irish village, Ballykissangel, was filmed.
About 25 kilometers from Avoca is Glendalough, the early Celtic monastery founded by St. Kevin. It is in a beautiful setting and is a popular attraction both for the Irish and for foreign visitors. I must have heard a half-dozen or more languages the day I was there, including German, Italian, Spanish, French, and Japanese, as well as English (and some I didn’t recognize).
In the southwest part of County Wicklow is Baltinglass where one finds another monastic ruin, the remains of Baltinglass Abbey. Unlike Glendalough, Baltinglass Abbey is not a Celtic cite. It is considered one of the most important Cistercian abbeys of Leinster. and was founded in 1148 by Dermot McMurrough, king of Leinster. It was the second house to be colonized by the Cistercians of Mellifont. One finds it now on the grounds of a small Church of Ireland parish tucked back in a corner of the town.
I visited the county town of Wicklow, but it was crawling with a motorcycle touring group and several groups of teenagers in buses visiting the historic gaol. So I didn’t stay long. I visited the other major town in the county, Arklow, and went to the modern shopping center to buy some supplies. I took no pictures in either place.
My daughter Caitlin and her friend Jeff arrived on Monday morning. I picked them up at the airport and we spent the day exploring Dublin. Our first stop was the famous Bewley’s Tea Room on Grafton Street for a bite of breakfast. We tried to see the Book of Kells, but there was a one-and-a-half-hour line so we decided we would return later to do that and come back early some other day. We then walked from there to the Guinness Storehouse and took that tour.
Our first full day together, yesterday, we were blessed with fabulously sunny (if cool and breezy) weather. We visited the Burren. Our first scheduled stop was to be the Burren College of the Arts which Caitlin had read about on-line. However, on the drive there we passed Dungaire Castle and decided to take a look.
After the castle we went to the art school:
Finally we went to the Caherconnell ringfort and the nearby Poulnabrone dolmen.
Between all this travel and taking my free time to work on translations, I’ve not had time to post to this blog. However, I am making notes and next week, when I am again on my own, I’ll post more photos and comments.