Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dublin-Day 3

Today after our "Full Irish Breakfast", we loaded on the coach and headed south of the city to Wicklow which is called the Garden of Ireland. As we left our hotel, it was raining. It was a rather dreary ride along the Irish Sea. Every once in awhile on this trip we would spot a Martello Tower. These were small defensive forts built in several countries in the British Empire in the 19th century. Some are quite well preserved. Our first real stop of the day was at Powerscourt Estate. Powerscourt is a large country estate with gardens covering 47 acres. The house was originally a 13th century castle. It was extensively altered during the 18th century. In 1974 a major refubishment occurred so that the house could be opened to visitors. November 3rd was the grand opening to the press and on the morning of November 4th a fire broke out on the top floor and by morning the house was left as a roofless shell. Below is a picture I took of a picture of the house after the fire.It wasn't until 1996 that the house was again restored. Most of the house isn't open to visitors but the gardens are.The gardens were beautiful. Although it wasn't raining, it was gloomy so the pictures are kind of dark. I do wish we had had more time here. We didn't have nearly enough time to see all of the gardens and to stop and smell enough roses!After Powerscourt, we headed to Avoca Weavers. Avoca handweavers was established in 1723 and is Ireland’s oldest business. It is also family owned and has several branches throughout Ireland. We had an interesting tour before lunch and some shopping in their giftshop. After lunch and some shopping, we headed on to Glendalough (pronounced Glenda lock). Glendalough was a early medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin. It was destroyed in 1398 by English troops. Boy those English sure did destroy a lot of stuff didn't they??? Again, it was dreary and the "midgies" (the same thing as no see ums on Sanibel) were horrible but we had a fantastic guide. I'm going to steal a bit of information from Wikipedia now. "The Gateway to the monastic city of Glendalough is one of the most important monuments, now totally unique in Ireland. It was originally two-storied with two fine, granite arches. The antae or projecting walls at each end suggest that it had a timber roof. Inside the gateway, in the west wall, is a cross-inscribed stone. This denoted sanctuary, the boundary of the area of refuge. The paving of the causeway in the monastic city is still preserved in part but very little remains of the enclosure wall."The Round Tower was very impressive. It is about 30 meters high, with an entrance 3 1/2 meters from the base. The entrance was so high so as not to weaken the structure at the bottom. The roof was rebuilt in 1876 using the original stones. The tower originally had six timber floors, connected by ladders. Round towers were landmarks for visitors. They were built as bell towers, but also served on occasion as store-houses and as places of refuge in times of attack.Other ruins included the cathedral and St. Kevin's Church. Again, we didn't have nearly enough time. I would love to have roamed around the graveyard and read the many interesting tombstones. We headed back to the Hilton after a long day to have a great meal, enjoy some entertainment by Alex, and then to pack since we are moving on to Cork tomorrow.

4 comments:

gpc said...

I'm afraid I would have been left behind somewhere along the way -- I would have wanted more time exploring every place you stopped! But new amazing stuff around every corner. What a nice trip!

ChrisC and JonJ said...

Those gardens are awesome!I,too,would have wanted more time to explore.Can't wait to read about the rest of your trip.

maria said...

The gloomy day worked well with the graveyard pictures - especially the second one. Nice framing BTW. Thanks for sharing your trip & looking forward to more.

The Farmer Files said...

Love that pic of you in front of the ferns. SO LUSH!