I had a personal mission that the women were very enthusiastic to help me with, and it was successful
Annie and Jo arrive at Woodford House
and are greeted, as we now have the full group of 7 of us together
then the minibus is filled up with the luggage quickly
Even a local pigeon wanted to come with us
A we left Blackrock it looked like we were off into another warm summery 20+C warm sunny day. Posts by friends on Facebook were already describing their beach, picnic and summery style indulgences. As we climbed up the ascending windy road towards Glendalough we knew we were into a different kind of day. We were ascending into the clouds.
When we arrived at the car park near Glendalough's Great Lake, it looked like the group thought this was it ... and were unpacking the bus
But, everyone was soon into the swing of why we were here for a brief taste of Glendalough, a very short visit.
So, its was "screens up!!!, everyone!!!
for a bit more of this
For a bit of a taste of the local ancient monastic we choose the Reefert Chapel by the Great Lake,, one of the more modern former establishments here.
so into it we explore
Let me introduce you to the group
Here's Susan, the facilitator of it all
and there is a Sue here too
and I love this shot of Jo and Anne together ...
and we cannot forget the forever jolly Judy, who I do not have a close up photo of but I love this one of the lake shore with Susan.
After some time in the sensory garden
Loving the trees here
and exploring more of the relics and wonders of this wee bit of Glendalough
it was time to chow down some lunch at the Glendalough Hotel, very nice lunch, Liam was on as chef.
Amazed at some of the cozy features in the restaurant now ... despite none of the staff knowing what a 'Flat White' is yet.
After lunch it was back on the road again, ascending higher into the clouds towards Wicklow Gap. Visibility down to about a metre or two, and traveling a few kms per hour I tried my best to describe what we were passing. Fortunately, barely any other traffic was coming the other way.
As the road descended towards Hollywood, we departed the cloud into sunny blue sky above us. In the opposite direction were some large tour buses going where we had came from, with tour guides perched at the front holding microphones. I amused myself, for a moment, considering what they may talk of when they entered the cloud.
After some comfort of driving the N89 south westwards around the rim of the Wicklow mountains, and its close relationship to clouds today, it was now time to re-test my minibus skills down roads narrower than the bus, and psychic GPS/Sat Nav skills through roads and tracks that GPS and Sat-Nav devices fear to tread.
With not too much effort we did arrive at the site of my own personal indulgence mission of the entire tour, This was Kilranalagh Cemetery in the remote townland of Colvinstown Upper.
By this time, the group of ladies were in wonder and amused about how Ireland has an amazing next day delivery postal mail service at regular rates despite most places not having street names, house numbers and postcodes, just some vague idea of what the nearest field, called a 'townland', may be called.
The mission for Kilranalagh Cemetery, that the group decided to accept, was to find a hidden Brighid's Well that I have looked for a few times.
Well, its turned out not to be hard. The first think I noticed was someone had been here with a lawnmower for the first time in probably at least 50 years ...
and we also noticed this ...
Someone had especially put up a fence, and left a sign, to make it easier for us to find it.
and here it is ...
Not much to look at in this pic, by photo just a hole in the ground. It just has not been restored yet. By the looks of it, and I did not take close up pics to verify, if someone carefully cleared the growth around it, and removed some of the built up soil the usual well features like steps and a ledge would be revealed. It is a natural spring well, and a very good one. Worth the effort by the very few locals there.
The other thing I wanted to show everyone here was the "Gate To Heaven", which I normally find with no hesitation, but this time it took me a long time ???
'Experts will recognise this as being orthostat stones of a passage cairn or wedge tomb here, with a ridge stone between them.
The ceremony for each burial here is to pass each coffin, towards where Susan is, as that ridge stone is regarded as the point between the two worlds, the point of entering into the Tir na Nog.
Its as if the people here still practiced their old ways with their passed on people, before they kept 'the priest happy' by allowing the coffin and body to enter the grown to follow along the priest's idea of a Tir na Nog up above.
More amazing, to me is ... is this what these full passage cairns or wedge cairns used for, ... as passing on ceremony places more than simply be graves?
Here's a pic of the well, a symbol of birth, and this Gate To Heaven, a symbol of passing, together.
What I did not photograph, and its just above both of these, is the burial place of Sam mc Allister, who indirectly affected a bit of Australian history, especially Sydney, by being a bodyguard to Michael Dwyer. Typical of mc Allister honour that has popped up several times in Ireland and Scotland. Ask me about those stories sometime.
One more place to go before we reiire to the hotel for the evening.
On the pre-planned itinerary I had posted visiting three of several stone circles in the area. I was eagerly looking forward to taking the group to the nearby Bollycarrigeen circle above all others. By now input had been mighty and a yearning for hotel was strong, so we went to the enchanting roadside Castleruddery stone circle with its gigantic quartz stones at the entrance
I suppose with Susan Rudd as facilitator we were destined to be at 'Castle-Rudd-ery', so with Susan we gathered for some Ruddery
Lots of pretty hawthorns here
and some that are challenging the stones, so is this a batter between the tree fae and the goddess revered by the farmers? You don't mess with the fairies, or there are consequences !!!
but before I left I had to take one pic of them in harmony :-)
So it was off towards the Killysheen House hotel, in Co. Kildare, and as we left Castleruddery, the GPS/Sat-Nave machine decided to speak to us, at last, and lead us along. We were back in digi-sati-land.
Just passed Kilcullen it said 'You have arrived" ... I wish I had taken a photo of the building that we had arrived at :-)
Anyway, I checked Google Map and saw we had 8 km to go yet.
We saw the grand Killysheen Burgundy sign with a gold crown on it and pulled in. This was a public school !!!
Further along the road another Burgundy sign ... and it was the hotel. Was this a school prank?
Arriving at Killysheen House is incredibly grand, bordering on the best hotels in Las Vegas ... in miniature.
Once out of the reception lobby we soon found this was really Killyfawlty with its arrangement of going to top floor to walk along awhile to get down to lower floors to get to our rooms. On the way to our rooms we met people who seemed to have been there several days, just trying to find their rooms.
The rooms are amazing though, huge rooms, monster size beds, lovely classic decor, lots of different shaped pillows and cushions that I did not have a clue what they were used for. Maybe I need another honeymoon to find out.
Oh, and the fasted wi-fi I have ever found in an Irish hotel, 15 Mbs both upload and download, with a huge ping too :-) (had to throw that in for the nerds).
Then it was the task of finding the restaurant. For most of us that took about 30 mins from room to restaurant, and at one point I thought the GPS saying "You have arrived" was indeed accurate.
So to eat, and here's some of the plates we had. The food was stunning in presentation, tastes and quantity. Nobody went away hungry :-)
Thai Green Curry
some strange dessert
so please join us again tomorrow when we enter into the world of Brighid of Kildare for the day :-)