2.28.2010

Dublin Part 2

We got up a little earlier on Saturday, and of course Jenny, the Irish angel, made us breakfast—French toast today. Michael drove us down to Wicklow, our very own guided tour (but without the timed stops and those particular passengers you can’t stand).

We drove down through Dalkey, an affluent little seaside town. We drove by Maeve Binchy’s (adorably quaint), Bono’s, and Enya’s (ridiculously lavish) houses. Then we went to Glendalough (pronounced “Glen-da-lock”).

Glendalough is famous for containing the ruins of the monastery founded by St. Kevin. The area has recently been experiencing terrible floods, and certain bridges on the site had been washed away. Because of this, tours were not being given. However, Michael (a self-proclaimed “silver-tongued Keane”) was able to procure us a personal tour guide for about a half hour. There are a lot of funny stories about St. Kevin, our favorite being this one: Kevin is meditating when a bird lands in his open palm. The monk is so peaceful that the bird lays her eggs there. Kevin decides not to move until they’ve hatched. It reminded me of those guys you see on the street that don’t move so they look like statues and you give them some change if they’re exceptionally still. Maybe St. Kevin was secretly a street performer.
That’s Glendalough. The tower is on the left. The fence in the front of the picture is where the bridge that got washed away used to be. Exploring the ruins on our own was a lot of fun. There are several church ruins, a tower, and a large cemetery left to see. The tower was a guard tower of sorts. The monastery often received gifts of treasure and things from wealthy people who visited. The treasure was kept in the tower, so Vikings and other Irish would try to attack it. Therefore, the door to the tower was 12 feet in the air. I pity the monk who had to climb that every day. The cemetery was really cool to explore, as well. It is still in use for those with family plots, but there are only 9 people left to be buried there. Can you imagine being one of those 9 left living? I bet the Glendalough historians are just waiting for them to croak.
There is a pretty lower lake near the ruins, but a bit farther on is the Upper Lake where St. Kevin liked to meditate (and which is ultimately the reason he decided to settle down nearby). We got tea at a stand (called St. Kevin’s Kitchen for the tourists), which felt very Irish. Then we made our way to the Upper Lake. This was absolutely gorgeous. We walked up to the shore where some people were feeding the ducks, and right as we walked up, a dog came running up behind us and into the lake chasing all the ducks away. Of course, I loved this, as did most of the kids there (does that say something about my mentality?).

On the way home we stopped off at Johnnie Fox’s Pub. It claims to be the highest pub in Ireland and is more of a museum of the strange than a pub. (Though Michael told us there is a pub in Cork that also claims the title of highest in Ireland. I guess nobody actually cares enough to check the truth. This would match the attitude of the rest of this laid-back country.) The ride home was the first time I’d been glad for Mom packing Dramamine, and I napped extensively upon arriving home.

Jenny and Michael went out with friends that evening, but we woke up to spaghetti and garlic bread waiting for us on the stove. Erin, Kate, and I warmed up dinner and ate  with every intention of going out. After dinner (Jenny got us cupcakes as well), we sat around watching TV with Simon and Alan, still with every intention of going out. But eventually it started to snow (quite a lot by Dublin standards), and Kate went to sleep. Erin and I stayed up watching the Olympics with Simon and Alan (curling is such a silly sport). Many extensive conversations and plans for their visiting St. Louis ensued.

I slept the whole way home the next day. As we were leaving, Jenny was going to pick up her brother (sounds a lot like the airport service my parents run). All in all, I can’t wait to get back to Dublin. And I can’t wait to return the favor when they come to the States!

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