BRAD     |     EMILLIE

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The beaten path

Well, I guess it's a sure sign that we've lived here for quite some time now... the fact that in showing Baba and Deda around we were able to give them the depth and breadth of Ireland... the best that can be offered in a short tour... while hardly covering any new ground ourselves!

So the review of their visit will focus on the places that were new to me... as I've already blogged about Newgrange, Trim, Castletown, NUIM and Galway.

We did cover some new ground worthy of a note... primarily en route to somewhere else.  The first stop off came as a recommendation from a friend... who was called in desperation after we left Galway for Maynooth at 5pm on Thursday. Was there anywhere good to eat about halfway along that route? (Something affordable was the unspoken request). And that was how we found ourselves at Tyrrellspass Castle.  The food was typical of the Irish family restaurant scene, at typical prices, so it suited us just fine. As it turned out, we all ordered the same dish... and in quintessential Irish fashion our veggie lasagna came with a side of garlic bread, roasted potatoes, coleslaw, potato salad and chips (fries). Leading me to wonder what kind of Irish dinner would it be if it didn't come with at least 3 different potato dishes?  And the veggie lasagna was authentic Irish style lasagna... using a bechemel as it's base.

So, if you want to eat in a 14th century Tower Castle at affordable prices, or if you really like potatoes then I would recommend Tyrrellspass Castle as a good place to stop along the M6!
The next day we drove through Wicklow.  Now this is something I've done before... but thus far it's involved laying in the backseat of the car moaning about carsickness (Wicklow is full of one lane roads twisting around the mountain side). This time we drove REALLY  S L O W L Y and I enjoy the journey. We hopped out in the middle of Wicklow National Park to explore the bog mountains, up close and personal. I've included a few photos primarily because it's a pretty amazing sight. Bog is so acidic that very few things are able to grow on it, and it makes for a unique ecosystem. So while the pictures may appear to be showing very dry grass lands, walking on the bog was more akin to walking on a water filled sponge. Slippery and wet. (It was also a wet and windy day, hence the mountains are somewhat obscured by the clouds).
Now... as anyone who has been reading my blog for a while knows... I ADORE AVOCA.  And this journey through the winding roads of Wicklow ended up at the birthplace of my favorite shop. The shop is named after the original woolen mills located in the rural town of Avoca. It still has a working mill, weaving away the colourful blankets and scarves that they are famous for. It also has a cafe serving it's signature nutritious and delicious food.  (And a bit of excitement on the AVOCA front... our local farmer's market friends has been commissioned to grow organic, heirloom vegetables for AVOCA! A major boon to them for sure, since they currently only earn what they sell at the markets.)

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