July 11, 2012

adventures in county wicklow



After doing a bit of recovering from our flight, we dove right into action mode on the first Saturday of our trip.  Upon waking and finding the clouds were gracing us with dry weather, Evin's family asked if we'd like to do our Sugarloaf hike (which I had heard so much about).  But of course!  So we gathered piles of clothes (just in case) and loaded into the car, destined for County Wicklow.  I was told that this drive, which took us all of 45 minutes, once took hours (before the Motorway came along and allowed travelers to drive AROUND, rather than through, Dublin).  I was happy for that.  When we pulled into the empty parking lot and got out of the car, we were all glad we packed our hats and gloves because it was windy and COLD.  Seriously, I think I wore a t-shirt, long sleeve, fuzzy pullover, and my rain jacket, plus ear-warmer and gloves.  In JUNE!  The mountain didn't look too challenging when we drove up, but once we got near the top it was all rock and for awhile we were practically rock-climbing.  This was extra exciting because of the quickening winds near the summit.  At the peak, I swear it was gale-force.  No wonder some of my photos came out blurry...it was actually hard to hold the camera steady.  But the view was so beautiful!  I think it was the first time I'd been on top of a mountain with the ability to look in every direction, 360 degrees.  So charmed by the fields and fencelines and white dots that were sheep.  We found a little shelter up against a rock pile and hung out there for a bit before making our descent back into calmer conditions.  On the way back down, we spotted wild horses and visited sheep in a nearby field.
From there, we drove to Powerscourt House & Gardens, which we could spot from the top of Sugarloaf.  Its elaborate landscaping made me dream of Versailles and was the closest thing I think I've seen to those gardens I so desperately want to experience.  There was a lot to see and a lot of wandering until it was finally time for lunch (on this trip, I really grew to look forward to lunch.  We packed a lot of activity in the time after breakfast and worked up an appetite!).  We ate soup and drank tea outside in the sunshine, which peeked out and shocked us all after the chilly, gray morning at Sugarloaf (I loved that you could see the mountain from Powerscourt and it looked so impressive from there.  I took lots of pictures of it).
After our meal we checked out a few gift shops then got back in the car once more and headed to Bray, a shore town.  I was of course tickled to walk along the rocky beach, picking up stones and dropping them again after convincing myself I don't need any more rocks (I disregarded this a few days later and began to collect a stone at each place I particularly enjoyed).  We got 99s, an Irish seaside staple, which consist of soft serve ice cream in a cone with a Cadbury Flake stuck in one side.  Walking back down to the car from there, we ate our treats and probably complained about being tired and made the journey back to the house for dinner.  The first full Irish breakfast of the trip...well deserved after a busy day!
More soon.  It's hard to find time to devote to sharing these days but I'll keep trying!

*There are also photos on film from this day, but I think I will probably post them later by roll.

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