Still in Ireland

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.

I have had the best time in Ireland!

Aran Islands

Which are made up of three islands. The islands date back more than 300 million years and are renowned for their well-preserved Celtic monuments, over 300 miles of dry stone walls. It is a rare culture that is preserved by the islanders.

I hope my snapshots gave you some ideas of the amazing beauty of Inis Mór, which was the island I visited today by the 40 minutes ferry ride over the Irish Sea.Perched on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Dún Aonghasa is the largest of the prehistoric stone forts of the Aran Islands (c. 1100 BC) and re-fortified around 700 AD. It took me more than half an hour to walk up and 20 minutes down.

Cliffs Of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher featured in everyone’s favourite films “The Princess Bride” and “Harry Potter”. For me it was worth a visit because of the sheer breathtaking scenes I saw in pictures. On the Atlantic edge, Ireland most spectacular coastline, the cliffs boast the most amazing view.

We drove through the limestone landscape hundreds of square kilometres; the Burren is home to 70% of Ireland’s native flowers. It’s karst bedrock incorporating a vast cracked pavement of glacial-era limestone with caves, fossils and rock formations. It was great walking on the smooth rock surface when it’s dry but it can be very dangerous when it’s wet and slippery.

We were very lucky with the weather though forecasted rain, it was dry and sunny without the cold wind from the sea while we climbed up on the cliffs. Gerard, the bus driver told us that only last week when on a day you could hardly see at 300 metres away with thick mist and the strong cold wind-blown in from the Atlantic Sea sent people away very disappointed.

And the rain did come to Galway tonight but for myself I couldn’t complain. I have seen Ireland at its best!

Connemara, Ireland

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!

In Dublin’s Fair City

It is a wonder how The Book of Kells survived when medieval artwork were violently robbed and stolen by the Vikings many times in the 10th century. The Book of Kells was written more than a thousand years ago and was kept in a monastery on the island of Iona. When the Vikings attacked Iona, it was sent to Dublin around 1653 for reasons of security during the Cromwellian period. It came to Trinity College through Henry Jones after he became bishop in 1661.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trinity College

I have been longing to visit this place and now I can’t believe that I am here. In the “Long Room” which was the main chamber of the Old Library where houses around 200,000 books.

Black Down

A walk on Black Down through the pine trees forest and purple heather meadow in West Sussex, we came across the belted galloway cows contentedly grazing. The poet Tennyson lived in Aldworth House since 1869 where he escaped summer tourists from his Isle of Wight home.

The weather bureau did not forecast any rain today. We set out early after the children had a good Saturday breakfast of pancake and fruit. It was quite fresh walking under the shade of thick green pines canopies, but once out on the open the sun kept us warm.

I am so glad to be here in August when purple heather are in full bloom and what a sight! Though in Australia we don’t see these striking beauties, but in the centre of Australia the desert is also in full bloom this time of the year, which is almost the beginning of spring for us. (See my posts “Desert Flowers” and “Uluru” August 27th, 2016)

All of a sudden the dark cloud floated by and dumped a light shower on us, we believed in the weatherman and did not bring any raincoat or umbrella!