Ireland, Easter 2006
[click on the photos for a larger version]

Click the map for an overview of the region

Well here are the pics from our Easter in Ireland! A short flight from Bristol to Dublin (aprrox. 35 min.) led to our retal car and off to the Wicklow Mountains on the south east coast to find our little cottage near a place called Shillelagh. The experiences of the Irish roads are mildly true, they are rough in patches. There is a funny way of passing on the 'N' roads where you move over on the hard shoulder to let the car behind pass by (the car behind makes there intentions of passing clear as they sniff the boot of your car). We settled in to the cottage on Saturday, a nice cosy loft cottage which suited us perfectly. Sunday we drove over to Kilkenny to visit the castle and the medieval passageways along with lunch in a small 'nostalgic' cafe called ML Dore, stuffed with guiness signage and Irish trinkets. On Monday, we walked part of the Wicklow Way (a main walking route that runs from Dublin to Clonegal) in the area we were staying.It is mostly forest pathways with pine trees and the pathways are broad enough for logging trucks and forest maintenance vehicles to use. Tuesday, we headed to Dublin by train to visit the Guinness Storehouse; have a pint of Guinness in the Gravity Bar at the top of the Storehouse; and do some shopping where Sarah found a pair of black boots she had been aspiring to own. Wednesday we headed to Avoca (the site of a television series called 'Ballykissangel') and Glendalough to walk around the rugged area of the Wicklow Mountains. We would return to Glendalough on Friday because of being soaked by the rain on our first visit - it was Friday that we walked up to the Miner's Village as well as a drive through the Wicklow Gap. Thursday we made the trek to Waterford to the crystal factory. It was obvious that this is a key stop for all the American tour groups as they were keen to note their links with American culture (i.e. the New Year's Eve ball in NYC). The tour through the factory was really good as you could speak with the factory workers and felt like you were part of the environment. The master craftsman we met has been a 'master' for 38 years! After saying goodbye to Sailor (the sheepdog) and John (our host) we set off for the airport and return to Bristol. A good trip had by all - thanks especially to the safe return of the rental car!
Important reminders for all visitors - in the front of the hire car
Kilkenny Castle 1
Kilkenny Castle 2
One of the Kilkenny side streets
Out walking on the Wicklow Way
Local lambs
View back into the Valley from the Wicklow Way
Sailor the friendly farm dog
Celtic Cross in Glendalough cemetary
Gates of the Guinness Brewery in Dublin
Replica of the MD's safe at the Guinness Brewery, containing a backup vial of the all important yeast
Water flowing into the Guinness Brewery
Flying Toucan at the Guinness Storehouse
View West from the Gravity bar at the top of the Guinness Storehouse
View North from the Gravity bar at the top of the Guinness Storehouse
Glass blowing at Waterford Crystal
Craftsmen at work at Waterford Crystal
Reference samples of Waterford Crystal
Master Craftsman demonstrating glass cutting at the Waterford Crystal factory
Sarah at the monastic settlement at Glendalough
Walking up the Glendalough valley
Old mine workings left in the valley
Looking back from the road out of Glendalough
"The Store" - our cottage for the week
Sign at the entrance to the farm Larger view of the cottage (and rental car)