Since my return to my native land, I have been making valiant efforts to see places and things that had hitherto escaped my attention. I am being a tourist at home. While it is not always possible I endeavour to see something new on a weekly basis. The more I see, the more I understand that it will be impossible to see it all. There are so many beautiful places in this country. I realise that I am only scratching the surface. Never mind – I am enjoying the journey – there is no final destination.
Yesterday, a friend from Wicklow drove us to the Powercourt House and Gardens in Enniskerry. It was a real novelty to be sitting in the front seat of a car, listening to ABBA Gold, idly watching the world go by without a vinegar lipped driving instructor judging me and criticising my every move.
Powerscourt is a stately manor – originally built in the 14th century. The house is vaguely impressive but having visited many stately homes this year I am getting a bit blase about them. Far more spectacular are the gardens. They are incredibly beautiful. Looking out onto the Sugarloaf Mountain the gardens are meticulously maintained. The Japanese Gardens look like something from the Hobbit, with brilliantly colored trees and flowers.
The pet cemetery is quite sad – with all the Powerscourt family pets buried there – including Eugenie, the Jersey cow who died aged 17 in 1967 having borne seventeen calves, and produced over 100,000 gallons of milk. Well so says her headstone – I suspect poetic license may have been used in the estimate. Rest in peace Eugenie.
The gardens are a very pleasant place to spend a few hours.
Next on our list was the Powerscourt waterfall – situated about five miles from the house. The roads leading to it are winding and narrow, so drive carefully.
The waterfall is allegedly the highest in the British isles. Signs are dotted all around warning people not to climb it. A German tourist came to a sorry end some years ago, attempting to do just that. It’s all fun and games until someone loses their head is the callous thought that popped uninvited into my head.
It cost six euros to see the falls. I resented paying that – it’s a waterfall, something that occurs naturally. Apparently the land on which it falls is privately owned though, so a buck can be made from it.
Then to Greystones. The crowd outside the Happy Pear cafe was vast. This seemed strange until I learned that it is a hipster cafe which sells dishes like quinoa, and fennel twig tea. Its owners are photogenic twin brothers who have a TV show. I went to the Italian chipper next door and had a battered sausage and chips.
We took the DART to Dun Laoghaire (always a difficult place name for non-Irish people to pronounce). We took a walk along the massive West Pier – made from granite, it is less popular for walks than the East Pier, while having the same breathtaking views.
All told a very enjoyable day.
My ankles are sore.