After another hearty breakfast (Susan's been stocking up on black pudding) we jumped in the car and headed south. Our final destination for the day was Waterford for an overnight stay.
We could have driven straight down in about 2 1/2 hours but the whole point of this part of the holiday was to take our time, take in the scenery and see a bit of the country.
First stop en route was only about half hour or so out of Dublin at a place called Powerscourt, the old home of the Earls of Kildare.
It's a big old stately home and garden that's open to the public. After the debacle of Versailles we were almost a little reluctant to do the "historic house" thing and left the house out but visited the gardens. The estate is in the Wicklow mountains, just outside a little village called Enniskerry which itself was lovely. The gardens at Powerscourt were fantastic. Divided into a formal Italian Garden with lawns, flower beds and fountain, Japanese Garden with a river, bridge and grotto, an English Rose garden and a woodland with a castle. There were a few other people but the gardens were big enough so that there was no sense of overcrowding and it was incredibly peaceful. Every few minutes you'd stumble over someone sitting meditating in the peace and quiet.
As we drove we noticed a few signs to somewhere called Glendalough (pronounced Glendalock) It's an old 6th Century monastic site built around three lakes.It was founded by a monk, who has since transcended into sainthood - St Kevin, St KEVIN, KEVIN! I mean I ask you, what's saintly about a Kevin??? Karen and Mem have an esky called Kevin. St Kevin aside, Glendalough was beautiful. The monastery was built around the lower lake and we decided to take a walk up to the middle lake, about 1.3k away. We got about half way and it started to rain. Well, it didn't actually rain, it poured, it bucketed down, it pissed like an elephant after a night out on the town. In fact it didn't just rain, it hailed too. As we were half way we didn't know whether to continue up to the lake or turn back. One look at Susan's face told me it would be wise to turn back. Poor Susan looked so cold and miserable, I on the other hand felt alive and invigorated (yes me!)
We got to the car and I got some dry clothes out of the suitcase for Susan to change into. I thought she'd do it discreetly in the car, you know the way you pull jeans half way up, wiggle around, push yourself up on the chair trying not to overbalance whilst you struggle to pull them over your bum. But no, she just stood outside the car and striped off. What was I thinking? The seats in the car are heated so we soon warmed up once we got under way again.
We continued south through the Wicklow Mountains. We'd been driving merrily along, minding our own business when suddenly out of nowhere , up would pop some old ruins. A castle, a monastery, a church, a tower, a something unrecognisable, just sitting in the middle of a field.
The next big(ish) town we came to was Wexford (as in Inspector, although he was from Oxford not Wexford, how confusing. I wonder if Wexford has an Inspector Oxford?) We stopped off briefly for a late lunch and a quick look round before setting off for the last part of the days trip.
We arrived at Waterford later than we'd planned and by the time we got there it was too late to get anything for dinner, so we settled for a bottle of wine in the bar, a view of the swans on the water and a couple of chapters of our books before heading off to bed.