Sunday, 14 June 2009

So where were we?

I know, I know! I entice you all with a taster of the holidays and then leave you dangling! Shouldn't be allowed!

Actually, although I had a fantastic holiday and a well needed rest, I did get a bit down on my return. I guess it's not uncommon that when you do something so different, normal life seems a little flat in comparison. I've been busy, not sleeping well and had a temporary crimp in my knitting mojo finishing the 5th pair of Sock Madness socks so I focussed on other things. I've spent waaay too many hours trawling ravelry for the ultimate pattern for the perfect yarn, began prepping fleece towards next month's Tour De Fleece and on Friday this week, spent the day photographing and uploading a teensy amount of my stash to Ravelry so I can correlate it with patterns and work out a sensible destashing schedule.

I haven't really had the time or the heart to blog up to this point so for that I apologise but it does take time to resize and rearrange photographs as well as write a post. As I can only juggle so much in my life, there may be more gaps in the future but rest assured, when I can, I will post!

Anyway, where were we? One day into the mega-holiday and still on the eastern coast at Wicklow. We'd spent the day at Glendalough where we'd seen our first "Rapunzel's tower" (more about the true meaning later) at the monastery setting.

Despite being a magnet for all nationalities, there was room and space for everyone and it was a fantastic site for our first day. But it didn't stop there.....

After Avoca, we hot-footed ourselves back to Wicklow so that we could visit the Gaol that had been recommended by a work colleague of Pete's. Despite arriving one hour before closing, even trying to rush as much as possible, we still took nearly two hours examining the tableaux, exhibits and information inside each cell. It is an experience I would highly recommend to anyone visiting the area as it gave us a whole different perspective on Ireland and its history. To be truthful, it made me realize just how ignorant I was about the Irish "troubles"; how any history lessons I'd had about such could only scrape the surface and I got a taste of the real-life stories involved.

Here's another of the stories, as we traipsed the town for the last time that evening, a park with the inevetable monument for those lost at sea.

There were signs of past conflicts both along the coastline...

...And more history on our doorstep, the Black Castle. This is where England and Ireland differ, a monument like this would be barricaded off and entrance charged but here, as in other things, you were free to scramble over and around the ruins. It actually gave me a better respect for the things we came across, these precious treasures left for all to see.

Then it was back home, footsore and tired to pack up and head on (after a second hearty "full irish" breakfast) to our next destination, a cottage on the south coast where we would stay for the full week.

It was raining pretty solidly throughout the drive and whilst we began by taking the small, narrow coast road, lack of photo opportunities and waterlogged patches drove us back to the bigger, main road. we broke our journey at soggy Waterford.

Grabbing lunch (and cake, get priorities right!), we pottered for an hour or so, had a smoothie then continued on our way. Unfortunately, early in the journey, we realised that the sattelite navigation was not charging so it was out with the map I had bought on the ferry to get us the rest of the way.
On later investigation, we realized that darling hubby, on eating a Kit-Kat had discarded the foil wrapper in the cubby where the cigarette lighter socket was situated and in a twist of fate, managed to squash a layer into the socket when plugging the sat nav. in, thus fusing the socket! Navigation got a little more interesting after that!

We arrived, mostly unscathed at our holiday accommodation which was, surprisingly, exceedingly chilly. We later discovered that, as the central heating was oilfired and fuelled by largish cylinders, occasionally there is an air block in the system when they're changed over weekly and it can stop the timed central heating kicking in and warming up. Luckily, by 5pm when it was next due to come on, we did get heat and start to thaw but before then it was a bit unpleasant. Not like we haven't had colder at home pre-central heating, of course!
Anyway, I got a little over-enthusiastic with the grape (and bopping around to the Eurovision...don't ask!), and ended up a little the worse for wear the next day. We decided that rather than heading out, we'd just explore the area and walk off the worst of it.

There was a leaflet in the cottage about " St. Declan's Way" so we followed the coastal footpath and came upon some more wonderful sights along the way.

There was St. Declan's well, reputed to have healing powers...

And this very Victorian pile was to mark another spring, discovered by someone (I forget who) who found the waters good for healing eye complaints!

In the afternoon, we took the car along the road, discovering, on our way, another source of yarny and knitterly goodness in the form of "Simply Irish"! After a short stop (and spend!), we headed on to Youghal (spelt yawl).

I loved the way the shops generally were little independents, not just clones of the malls we have over here. You were never quite sure what you'd find and inexpensive gifty shops were particularly rare beasts (along with wool shops!) but I was charmed by the colour and character...even if the pubs did look a little intimidating!
We looked around the museum and I gained the perfect baseball cap from the tourist information office along with some lovely suggestions for other places to visit, very helpful she was! Then it was into the local supervalue? (supermarket chain) for supplies and back to base again where the sun heralded our arrival. That was the one thing about this holiday, it rained every day but rarely all day. We'd usually arrive back, a little soggy around the edges from the day to clear skies and sunshine and locals walking along with ice-creams!
Hence we got some sunnier photographs that evening (and don't the days last longer down there?) of the historic site literally across the road from our accommodation....
Yep, there's another Rapunzel's tower, or more specifically a monk's belltower. They're relics of the years of invasions that Ireland had to put up with, even before the English put their oar in! Harking back to the medieval era, the door was set high up so that, on news of the latest marauders, the monks could grab their valuables, mount a ladder to enter and hide safely within. There are arrow slits at various points so that they could defend themselves and return once danger had passed. I still think the brothers Grimm must have heard about them!

This was the site of St. Declans Cathederal, the ruins of which were still standing and this was the shot we would see every time we left the driveway...

Click to embiggen and spot the fab. carving, it's amazing that given the worst of the weather it still survives so clearly!

Then it was back to the cottage which was warm and cosy....

To gaze out of the gable window in the lounge/kitchen at the stunning view...well, it was mostly stunning, it's just this is from when we arrived and it was a very wet day!
And that's where I'll have to leave the holiday for now, but be assured, there's plenty more to come!
In knitting, I finally managed to get a photograph of one of my Finished Objects!

It's the Kimono cardigan from the recent Noro publication - Flowers. And whilst I wasn't going to spend out on Furisode to knit it with, inexpensive Kaleidoscope and a little re-arranging of the pattern still produced a rather pretty sweater, even if the seamline is exactly at bustline (should have been lower!). Unfortunately, it has drawn much attention which though good for the ego, is rather tiresome when they ask for the pattern and it can't be provided so it has been replaced with something else for now.

I'm still not totally in knitting mode but circumstances did force me to complete the back of the next window project...

Knitted in Sirdar Calico, a cotton/acrylic blend, it should be the perfect summer knitting though I'm not terribly fond of knitting in cotton so it's taking a little longer than it should...
I have other projects on the needles right now but that's for another time. Hopefully a little sooner than of late!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What wonderful photos. I do love those bell towers, they're incredible!
Beautiful Kimono x