A Travellerspoint blog

Sunday in Powerscourt & Wicklow Mountains

Driving to the most beautiful Gardens in Ireland or Europe; then to the Wicklow Mountains and the Military Road

sunny 62 °F

After prayers, and a quiet morning, we hit the road to Powerscourt; site of the Viscount of Powerscourt. This is a country estate of enormous beauty; but especially some of the loveliest gardens in all of Ireland, if not Europe. Pictures will follow on Facebook, but you can look at some of the photos and information on their website: http://www.powerscourt.ie/gardens

We ended up spending 4 ½ hours there, wandering all through the formal Victorian gardens. One nature of these gardens, which I knew but had forgotten, was the nature of surprise and intimacy these afforded. They were very well tended. Tulips bloom only for a short time, and we caught them in the springtime sun. They still obviously care for their gardens very well indeed.

Of course, with that name, Robin and I were wondering how it was we didn’t inherit!

We both enjoyed a nice lunch on the terrace in the warm sun, then got to the car park; but reluctently.

The Wicklow Mountains are south of Dublin, and about the only mountains of note on the entire Island. We drove into them, making sure that we travelled the Military Road. This is a road built by the British Army after the 1798 Rising. Frustrated by Irish fighters who simply disappeared into the mountains where the Army couldn’t go with their troops and artillery, they simply built a circular mountainous road of 60 miles. Imagine the response of the soldiers when the General told them: we will find and fight these rebels; but first we need to build a superhighway through the mountains!

Some parts of this were lush and beautiful. There were tons of bicyclists and motorbike folk. It was a bank holiday, with lots of long weekend holiday-makers and day-trippers; so much so that there were traffic jams in the village. We detoured to the Clare Valley, one of the smallest hamlets in Ireland: one church, four houses, two pubs.

Finally it was time for the R115, the most desolate of the Military Road.

This was, in essence, a one lane, bumpy road, winding north for about 30 miles. At one point for many miles, we were above the tree-line, and the vast bogs of yellow grass and brown bushes stretched as far as the eye could see. It was breathtaking in its isolation and desolate beauty.

It’s hard to imagine building this road about 1800, which is still in use today; this weekend in fact!

Here are some websites:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R115_road_(Ireland)
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g212535-d216595-r145965605-Military_Road-Enniskerry_County_Wicklow.html

Eventually, we descended the tree-line, and entered civilisation once more. Then, it was home to the Cottage, for a quiet evening, and Robin packing.

Photos to follow on FB.

Posted by stbrides 13:40 Archived in Ireland

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