Friday, July 10, 2009

Tuesday 7/7 Driving around the Wicklow Mountains

First stop is the place I came to Ireland to see – the only place I’ve seen in a movie that I said I had to go to – from the movie PS I Love You, when Hillery Swank gets lost walking and the beautiful Gerard Butler comes her way – they are standing in Wicklow Mountain Park. Well, it proved to be that beautiful and more. Rolling hills of green grass in beautiful patterns almost as if an artist had carved it out and painted it, so perfect are the patterns of landscape. Janice drove the first day and I had to get used to being the passenger on the left side of the car, where it seems that you get way too close to the edge of the road, or in this case, the landscape on the side – and I kept leaning to the right as if that would help. Also kept yelling at Janice to move the car more to the right, but it was where it should be. Just took getting used to on these narrow rolling roads. Janice did a good job with the driving but every time she went to make a turn, she turned on the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal. It became the funniest thing and we laughed until I peed. The first of many many hysterical laughing sessions on the road in this beautiful place. Also the first of hundreds of “oh my god” that we uttered as one or the other of us noticed the new scenery first as we drove along the rolling hills.

Stopped in Glendalough – and saw a horse and buggy, the only one in the place, so never missing an opportunity to take a ride, we hired Jimmy to take us down to the lake. Jimmy had to be 80 if he were a day – the sweetest man, all dressed up. We sat in a carriage that was 120 years old. He regaled us with tales of the area and as we passed people, everyone called and waved to Jimmy. he asked us if we would like to see a beautiful waterfall and of course we said yet – it turned out to be more like a leak in the floor and Jimmy cracked up.

He told us the story of Kathleen, who was the lover of St. Kevin. When Kevin turned to the monastic life, her grief was so large that she threw herself into the loche, turning the loche the color black with her grief. Janice said to Jimmy that no man is worth that, but Jimmy didn’t seem to agree.

Signage leaves a lot to be desired – hard to figure out where you are and where you need to get to, with no mileage whatsoever, so we ended up in a small town called Rathdrum, a very quaint town, brightly painted store fronts, each a different color. This is birthplace of Charles Stuart Parnell, an Irish patriot and they have a beautiful park in his honor. We are staying at a lovely B & B called Glebe with our host Sheena. We were the only guests and paid 35 euro each for this lovely fully restored house. They are only open to guests in the summer as the house does not have insulation and it cannot be added since this is an historic house on the register.

We walked to get some dinner in a bar where we watched the Michael Jackson memorial service on a big screen TV. After dinner we headed to the local pub, called the Cartoon Bar, which is covered with hand drawn cartoons done by a local. Cartoons on the wall and characters in the chairs. We met up with a very handsome guy called Sean Murphy who bought us a round and told us a tall tale about the drunk in the bar – said it was his father Leo. Leo, was a stinking drunk and between his slurred words and his Gaelic accent we couldn’t understand anything he said except Viagra in between his slurred mumbles. He kept telling us we should stay at his house since it wouldn’t cost us anything. He grabbed Janice’s boob on his way out as he tried to kiss her and tried to kiss me on the mouth – but thankfully I turned my head. Sean said that he was 45, was never married and had no kids. We told him we couldn’t believe that such a handsome guy was still single. He insulted us Americans in several ways and said fooken a lot.

After they left, we were talking to the two ladies next to us at the bar – they turned out to be mother and daughter – and the mother was Sean’s sister – said he has 4 kids and Leo was not his father – just a neighbor he watches over and his girlfriend is Grace the bartender – which I kind of suspected. All in all, a fabulous evening getting to know the locals. In the morning Sheena made us an amazing Irish breakfast.

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