I am very happy to be back in Seattle once again and to be with my daughter and her family. The welcome hugs and greetings from my grandchildren wiped out all my tiredness from my wandering in Dublin and Galway.
It’s great fun and exciting to venture in places that one had not been before, but it was also great to relax in a familiar environment where a comfortable room and bed that you slept in before. Thanks to my granddaughter’s hospitality giving up her room for grandma.
My first morning was in the spectacular solar eclipse of a hundred years that swept across America when for a few long minutes the sky darkened and I could feel the air became cold. It was an experience of a lifetime! But it did not cure my jet lagged. The children decided to take grandma for a play down at a nearby park and that was nice. How they have grown even in just a year. The twelve-year-old: “Look grandma! My feet touched the branches!” And the eight-year-old could spin his little football like a pro.
My tour today took me to the Wicklow Mountains and National Park. It’s the largest continuous upland in Ireland occupied about four counties. Passing by slopes and peaks covered with blanket bog and heath in beautiful pink and purple heather against the many shades of green. Such a beautiful sight to drinking in despite sun showers throughout the morning.
Wicklow Mountains including Glendalough, where an ancient monastic site founded by St. Kevin in the year 555 AD. Despite being attacked by the Vikings over many years, Glendalough thrived as one of Ireland’s great ecclesiastical foundations and places of learning until the Normans destroyed the monastery in 1214 AD.
We stopped at Kilkenny, a Medieval Capital of Ireland for late lunch and a bit of a wander through an Anglo-Norman stone castle built during the first decade of the 13th century, later became the principal Irish residence of the powerful Butler family for almost 600 years.
As we travelled on the bus today from Galway toward Connemara, rows and rows of many layers stone walls and colourful hedgerows reminded me of the romantic Irish landscape in books and films. I realised how this land could get under the skin of so many artists, writers and poets alike. From the barren mountain peaks to the golden green hills and vales – cascading streams rushing toward the blue Irish Sea, something untamed, strong and oh so beautiful!
“… One of those days we went out for our early morning walk even before breakfast and found the rose sky that reflected on the river as we stood on the pier. How perfect this gentle atmosphere that surrounded us…”
“… White clouds, whose shadow haunt the deep. Light mists, who soft embraces keep, the sunshine on the hills asleep! O isles of calm! O dark, still wood! And stiller skies that overbrood, your rest with deeper quietude! O shapes and hues, dim beckoning, through yon mountain gaps, my longing view. Beyond the purple and the blue,O welcome calm of heart and mine. As falls yon fir-tree’s loosened rind, to leave a tender growth behind. So fall the weary years away. A child again, my head lay. Upon the lap of this sweet day…”