Friday, July 24, 2015

Last Days in Ireland

Tower at Glendalough, Ireland

Many people probably think we are still in Ireland, because I am so behind in my blog posts. My apologies. We are actually now in Northern England, but we did spend a month in Ireland, so I'm struggling to get caught up.

Our last couple of days on the Emerald Isle went quickly, as we played tourist, visiting the site of Glendalough (pronounced Glen-da-lock), where St. Kevin meditated and communed with animals and eventually founded a monastery.  Most of the buildings at Glendalough date from the 10th to 12th centuries, and the site is a lovely park (although to my mind, marred a bit by all of the tourists). I think there are more beautiful sites in Ireland, but I won't be peevish--it was pretty. And we had to go there, right? I mean we are talking about St. Kevin.

We also visited the weaving center at Avoca and took the tour there.  Avoca is the oldest working woolen mill in Ireland, dating from 1723. It was another place of temptation, because the weavings are so beautiful. But we really can't buy souvenirs on this trip if we want to keep traveling. Plus, anything I buy, I would have to carry.

The tour guide at Avoca conducted an engaging tour, and we were pleased that although most of their work is now done by machine looms, they still make their signature scarves with the human-powered looms.

Avoca, still in the same place, still in some of the same buildings.
Colorful yarns at Avoca.

The master weaver demonstrates how quickly he can weave on the old-fashioned loom.

Close up of threads on the loom.

A yarn bin--someone had a sense of humor.

Because we needed to get back to Dublin before rush-hour on a Friday, we did not have time to tour Powerscourt, the gardens outside of Dublin. However, we were able to share a coffee on the terrace and look out on a grand view:

Finally, a little later, we had lunch at Johnnie Fox's pub, founded in the late 1700s and known for its traditional music.  It has many historical items in its collection, including posters from the Irish independence period and a dancing shoe from Michael Flatley of Lord of the Dance.  It is very touristy, but still well done, and it was a fitting place to end our tour of Ireland.

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