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Befrienders’ Wild Wicklow Tour – 6.7.14

July 31st, 2014

On Sunday 6 July, we all scrambled out of bed early to meet at the Gresham Hotel at 09.00 to catch the bus for our Wild Wicklow Tour. Our driver Shay A.K.A. John (there’s a story behind that) whisked us away, regaling us with stories of the history of Dublin. First stop was The Martello Tower at Sandycove, where we stretched our legs in the morning sunshine. Kevin told us he had read a poem in the tower as a youngster.

Next, Shay took the big bus around the small winding roads of Dalkey and Killiney, where the Yankees gasped & the Irish sneered at “the homes of the rich and famous.” One of our American companions nearly had a coronary as we pulled up at Bono’s gate. Luckily, the blustering buffoon himself wasn’t home, otherwise she would have definitely collapsed from the excitement.

Next we hit Avoca Handweavers for a much-needed Coffee agus c├íca milis. Their cafe in Kilmacanogue boasts gardens once part of the house of the Jameson’s Whiskey family, with some extremely rare and lovely trees including a 900 year old Yew (see picture below).

Shay then took us through Sally Gap, rich with mountain lakes, wild heather and barren boglands. This landscape has provided a beautiful backdrop for several blockbuster films. Remember where Brendon Gleeson as Martin Cahill AKA The General lost the silly special branch men by driving until they both ran out of petrol? That was shot here. John Boorman’s Excalibur? Shot here. Remember Mad Mel Gibson baring his bum at the brits in Braveheart? Shot here. Remember P.S. I Love You? No, me neither. But several of the woman (& one man!) on the tour braved the torrential rain that had started falling to pose for pictures beside a bridge that apparently featured in that film.

The downpour didn’t last too long and we all piled out at our next stops: Upper Lough Bree & Lough Tay. The latter currently done up as a Viking Village for a new series starring Gabriel Byrne.

Famished by the fresh air & all the pootering about, we split into two camps for well-needed lunch. The many mean meat-eaters descended on Lynham’s of Laragh whereas this writer & Debbie took ourselves to Glendalough Green for virtuous vegetarian vittles. Only joking, us vegetarians are not all food fascists!

Finally, we hit the enchanting 6th Century Monastic Settlement at Glendalough. Driver Shay gave us a guided tour & left us to our own devices for a gentle walk to the magnificent Upper Lake.

Before we drove back, Shay gave everyone a free tot of Jameson Whiskey. Everyone except this writer, who never lets the demon drink touch his lips (I use a straw!).

It was 7pm by the time we landed back at The Gresham. This was one of the best days out we ever had!

Thanks to Ann & Celestial Green Ventures & Tolka Area Partnership for making this great day possible.

Click on photographs to enlarge.

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