Friday, June 12, 2015

Ireland Day 8 - Stoneyford

We started our day at Lawcus Farm - our only morning there.  We had delicious fruit, coffee and a yummy spinach feta omelette with rashers, broiled tomato, and blueberry drop scones.  Jo had porridge – not to my taste! But she liked it.  Kaja scored rhubarb yogurt – delish!  Some of the other visitors were from Pinellas county Florida – small world, eh? The guestroom is bright and sunny and there was plenty of good coffee!

After breakfast, Mark took us up to tour the house that they built.  It is beautiful and homey with tons of imaginative details.  I got bunches of photos – Kaja was so wishing that Bubba was with us because he would have totally loved it – we are going to head off to the town of Kells to look at the tower there – she figured Bubba would stay and help Mark build something!  LOL  Packing up now to head off to Kells and then take the road up to Dublin.  We loved our stay here and wished we had booked a little extra time. 
On the way back down to the guest house, I snapped this beautiful mauve poppy.  I want one for my garden at home!

This morning I took the wheel for the drive to the Kells Priory - only a mile or two away from Lawcus Farm.  It was lovely – nice easy car park with a great map of the site at the car park.  You walk through a people gate and hike across a field full of sheep to the priory itself.   

 I have been working on my panoramic shots and got a pretty good one of the sheep scattered across the hillside with Jo on the right.

It is protected from the sheep by clever gates with step through for people.  There were almost no people there and the peacefulness of the site was intense.  The weather was overcast, not as sunny as it has been so far, but was still lovely for our exploration of the priory ruins.  Anne Marie gave us a map with a loop trail that led from the priory along the Kings River to an old flour mill.  The path was flanked by the river on one side and the mill race on the other, and the sound of the water and the birds was so relaxing. I could totally see coming here to draw or paint or just to sit quietly and let the peace of the priory sink into your spirit.  Loved it.

From the priory, we hiked on to an old flour mill.  The mill was a huge building – apparently some folks are restoring it – we could see where they had started the work and set up their living quarters on the top floor.  We hiked on along the Kells road to another beautiful mill – this time a flax mill, which has been set up as a crafts center – however it was closed.  From the flax mill, a beautiful arched bridge crosses the river.  Anne Marie told us that the old bridge had been built too narrow, so another was built over it.  We got some good pictures of the bridge – it was lovely.   I will post them once I process the photos from my camera.

We walked across the bridge into the town and stopped at a local store for a soda.  Kaja checked to see if they had any rhubarb yogurt – but no luck.  A guy pulling a horse trailer stopped at the corner – unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the whole rig – only the bumper sticker – it had 6 wheels centered under the rig and the horse looked to be loose and facing backwards.  In case you can't read the bumpersticker, it says "Farming.  It's a load of bollocks!" Funny!  We hiked back up the road to the parking lot, jumped in the car and headed off to Kildare to the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens. 

I found the stud & gardens a little disappointing.  Fortunately, we negotiated a family rate + 1 to get in, so we got a bit of a deal!  The gardens were well labeled,  but the whole thing was a little kitschy.  Saint Fiachra’s gardens and the grounds around the stud were quite beautiful.  Kaja and I were happy to get some scritches in with baby horses and the other sisters enjoyed it as well.  The stud tour was definitely a lowest common denominator kind of tour that was 70% entertainment, 30% information.  We did get to visit the stallion barns and they were just beautiful (both the barns and the horses!)  The museum of the Irish horse was small, but was well done, and had Arkle’s skeleton in the entrance – that was kind of cool.  Of the many places we visited, this is one I would not come back to and apart from getting a little time with the equine babies, wished that we hadn't wasted the time & money.
From Kildare, we headed to Dublin.  I weenied out of driving to Dublin, so Randee took over.  It was a shortish trip, until we got to town.  The streets are packed and terrifyingly narrow, but fortunately, everyone was moving so slowly that it all worked out!  Randee was AMAZING! We navigated our way through the streets to Molesworth Court Suites which are located near St. Stephen’s Green and Trinity College.  We got a nice spacious three bedroom suite with two baths – yay!  While not quite as posh as the photos show, the suite is very comfortable with a very pleasant living area and kitchen, as well as comfortable sized rooms.  It is in the heart of everything, but still very quiet for a flat in the middle of town, so we are all set up for the next couple of days.  

We finished our day with another delicious dinner.  This time at The Kitchen.  Delicious food and great staff.  Kaja had Salmon with greens, Shelley and Randee had a chicken dish that was out of this world.  Jo had a very good chicken curry and I had a yummalicious venison curry.  The desserts sounded sooo good, but we were stuffed to the gills and opted to pass on dessert.

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