Glendalough Monastic Site here we discover the history of Saint Kevin who frequently retired to a cave nearby. Well if you are going to be a hermit where better than the Wicklow Mountains? This place is truly amazing with new discoveries happening all the time. One of the highlights of our tour I think.
The last picture is a reconstruction of Saint Kevin’s retreat. A site well worth a visit and/or looking up the full history on Wickepedia.
In Cork for a few hours we find it’s another shoppers paradise but shopping is not our thing. However it is suggested there is an historic English Market which we visit briefly before we discover the Crawford Art Gallery. This gallery includes watercolours by Harry Clarke, famous for stained-glass windows. There is a series of paintings in blue for a window illustrating Keats poem ‘The Eve of Saint Agnes’. Keats poetry is a bit too complex for me but would not have missed these illustrations for the world.
We meet an enterprising street artist painting his version of the Titanic disaster. The Titanic was built in Belfast of course. He tells me he does the drawing at home and paints it on the street in acrylics. He studied art and design initially but loves working with a public audience. I hope they give generously.
Of course we tourists visiting stately homes add to the Irish economy and get to see how the rich have always lived. This time the extra degree of pure opulence is partly due to an earlier Earl going to South Africa and getting involved with the diamond industry. The hand painted 1930 plates in the dining room originally belonged to Madame Dubarry.
At George VI’s coronation one got to take one’s chair home (pic on the right). I can just imagine the scene. Did they stagger from the Abbey clasping the ultimate ‘goody bag’?
This table below got left behind at Russborough when the contents of the house were sold in the 70s. How lucky is that!
It is carved, inlaid with wood and paint used too. I love interesting techniques.
I thought the tombs of the Earl and Countess in the grounds looked a bit sorry for themselves. Side by side in death they lie, above them lions in stone hold the sun.
Eric Byrne is a second generation stone mason with a fully equipped workshop in the grounds of Russborough House.
He makes beautiful products from Connemara marble which was formed around 700 million years ago. Smaller souvenirs are also available such as condiments sets and ‘worry stones,’ the latter being said to bring serenity and good fortune. I bought two just in case. http://www.hennessyandbyrne.com.
The compere/guitarist/folk singer at Treacy’s Hotel in Waterford for Celtic Storm, tells us between his songs how the various recessions have affected Ireland. Sadly it seems that the young, particularly graduates, leave for a better life abroad. His son is an example having left for the States and now married with a young child and thus unlikely to return.
Kilkenny, Waterford and the Japaneze garden deserve a another post and may still get one. Other visits offered were Midleton Whiskey Distillery, Waterford Castle Hotel for tea (we missed that as my partner was ill) Tranmore, The Irish National Stud and Japanese Garden.
Please note This trip was the first to Southern Island offered by the Brighton and Hove Bus Company, the itinerary for which was arranged by the Irish Tourist Office. I couldn’t recommend it as it stands, due to the seriously exhausting schedule including just 3 hours in Dublin in the rush hour! Two key events were cancelled during the trip, dinner times a moveable feast etc. No maps and sparce information. The leprechauns must have been laughing!
However Steve and Dave, the good natured and competent drivers, pulled out all the stops to make it a happy holiday. We understand that other holidays run by the Bus Company are much better paced and therefore more enjoyable.
Moral of the story – insist on detailed itinerary with time scale and the Lonely Planet for Ireland on Amazon – they do it on Kindle too, why didn’t we think of that!
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