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  • Writer's picture Jana

We Relish our Last Day in the Irish Countryside Before Heading to the big City.

After a rather underwhelming and therefore not-so hearty breakfast at the River Court Hotel in Kilkenny, we were on the road yet again. This was our fourth one-nighter in a row. Packing up and moving night after night is challenging but in Ireland, there's seemingly no way around it if you want to cover ground and see the country.

The forecast was for rain all day on Thursday, which wasn't ideal, given that our itinerary for the day consisted of entirely outdoor/nature-oriented activities. Rain has become a way of life for us here, so carry on, we did.

En route to our first stop of the day, we came upon this tiny town of Hollywood. Of course, we had to stop and take photos! We especially got a kick out of the Hollywood sign posted atop this grassy hillside above the town. Although you can't see in this photo, the bucolic hillside was dotted with cows, in sharp contrast to our own Hollywood sign at home.

At one point we ended up behind this bus, which we also found amusing. The tour company shares a name with our beloved Jamison "Fitzy" Fitzpatrick.

We arrived at our first destination, Glendalough, County Wicklow, at 10 AM. Wikipedia says, "Glendalough is a glacial valley in County Wicklow, Ireland, renowned for an Early Medival monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin. Glendalough is also a recreational area for picnics, for walking along networks of maintained trails of varying difficulty, and also for rock climbing." Although it rained during most of our three-hour visit (surprise, surprise), it wasn't a downpour, so we managed to enjoy the stunning scenery of this place and even squeezed a short hike. To learn more about Glendalough use this link:

Since this was our last day with our now infamous rental car, we had to take a photo, for posterity's sake. On our first day with the car, our very cheeky host at the B and B in Trim referred to the car as a "bean can." The name stuck!

The car is a Dacia, which is a French car company and the model was a Jogger. We thought it to be a rather unattractive car from the moment we laid eyes on it, but it's not as if Hertz provided any other options. For the astronomical prices they charge in Ireland for rental cars, one would think you could at least get a name-brand car without dents and scratches all over it. That said, our "bean can" was reliable and managed to get us through 1700-plus miles of Irish countryside. We were sad to say goodbye to the jalopy, after 16 days together.

We found this cozy restaurant to have lunch as we left Glendalough. Both the cuisine and ambiance were the perfect choice on a rainy day.

After lunch, we took a remote route from Glendalough to our next destination. The Old Military Road is a mountainous pass in the Wicklow Mountains National Park and

is considered to be one of the best scenic drives in Ireland. We were pleased to find some familiar sheep friends along the side of the road.

Next stop, Powerscourt. Powerscourt Gardens was named no. 3 in the World's Top 10 Gardens by National Geographic*second only to the Palace of Versailles and Kew Gardens in London. Dating back to the 13th century, Powerscourt is a vast country estate noted for its magnificent Palladian-style mansion and 47 acres of formal landscaped gardens in the picturesque village of Enniskerry, County Wicklow. To learn more about Powerscourt use this link:

We found this precious pet cemetery on the grounds of the Powerscourt estate. Most graves dated back to the early 1900s. There were cats, dogs, horses, and even beloved cows buried there. The epitaphs (and the pet's names) were so touching.

We finally arrived in Dublin in the early evening. Garin and I dropped the kids off at our hotel in Dublin (Buswells), before heading to the airport to return our bean can rental car, which we would not be needing in Dublin. It turned out to be a 90-minute round-trip affair, with traffic to the airport and back again. We were wiped out by the time we returned to the hotel. The kids were not, as they spent their time watching TV and snacking on shortbread cookies that were placed in the room.

Garin was too wiped out to join us, so I took the little kids out for dinner while he stayed behind and rested. I was so tired that I forgot to photograph our dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant around the corner from our hotel. Graham and I especially enjoyed our lasagna made with lamb and beef ragu.

I found these selfie photos late in the evening that the kids took in the car, as I was viewing my photos from the day. They made me smile.

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