We took the bus south out of Dublin, and it was a long, long way before we left the city behind. It is difficult for me to really grasp the size of large cities like this; but finally we were in less populated places. As we traveled our driver, Dennis, kept up a running stream of banter and information about the places we were passing. The day was gray and overcast, not promising for what was promised as the 'Into the Wilds" tour.
We drove through Killiney, where the driver pointed in the general direction of the Celtic singer Enya's home the former Victoria Castle (bought in 1997 and renamed Manderley by Enya because she loved the novel Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier). Members of the pop Irish group U2 also had homes along this "south by the sea" route, we learned. After about 45 minutes on the road, we reached our first destination: The Forty Foot, a small stretch of picturesque beach at Sandycove. The Forty Foot was once reserved for men only, but today anyone can swim there.
Tell me, would you walk away from this view? I couldn't tear myself away.
As we drove off, I noticed something very odd. Palm trees. In Ireland?? Yes, because of the Gulf Stream this area enjoys a climate mild enough for palm trees.
Another surprise awaited us at our morning coffee stop at Avoca Kilmacanogue. This shop was located on the grounds of the old Jameson estate (they of the Irish whiskey-making fame) and featured extensive gardens with unusual plants--such as this giant California redwood.
A view of just one small part of the gardens.
I am not sure where I took this next photo, but it may have been as we passed through Enniskerry. We saw many lovely little villages on this tour, but had no time to stop at any of them. What a pity. I could have spent days exploring any one of them.
After our morning stop, we headed up into the hills--and into the rain. More about that part of the trip in my next post.
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