Monday 7th October – My dad’s 90th Birthday-We are travelling to Ballybraid Co, Wicklow – 2 days in a cottage with no traffic, or cold and no wifi, – we didn’t know we had to pay until after we got there and then could not contact the owner so left it at that .
We had a great time driving from Doolin to Limerick, and Tipperary to our final stay in Ireland at Ballybraid.
The day was planned to be a 4-5 hour drive across the country from the west to the east. So goodbye to Storyteller’s Cottage.
We left the Burren , in County Clare and headed across the island to the ‘garden’ of Ireland, County Wicklow.
First we went to Limerick and then Tipperary.
So Limerick was a lovely stop on the drive, where we had morning tea and a wander.
Our journey was unhurried and full of new villages and fields and sights for me to photograph.
The lunch was terrific, vegetable soup and brown bread. The bread is heavy and wholesome and so tasty with a nuttiness I wasn’t expecting. It is the norm, with soup here, it appears.
At one stage we passed a dairy farm and the road was closed with a gate opposite us and a procession of black and white cows were meandering across the road from the milking shed to their night accommodation. It was lovely watching the young woman in charge move around her charges and a young boy employed to move cones and ropes off the road once they had passed. Just lovely to see.
We drove from Doolin to Glenmalure – to a lovely cottage called Ballybraid in the Wicklow mountains near to the Wicklow Mountains National Park. The trees and undergrowth are thick and constant in this area. We found the drive in once off the motorway to be long, winding and narrow. We stayed on the N76 as it zig-zagged across the country. The last hour was on narrow winding roads and we were very pleased to arrive at our accommodation.
We had an ‘air code’ to put into google maps to find the cottage. We arrive and started reversing out of a very narrow lane, and our hostess arrived just in the nick of time and lead the way up a very potholed steep driveway to our little cottage. It is a lovely spot on top of a hill looking down into the valley across dark glossy green fields dotted with white sheep with blue markings, who eat incessantly and move around all over the incline outside our door.
The cottage is two-story with a steep wooden staircase at the back of the house. There are three bedrooms upstairs with an en-suite in the master. It is centrally heated and it is so warm and cosy. Each of the windows has shutters inside to close over the 18 inch window sills. It’s very effective at shutting out the light, sound of the wind and cold.
The interior is clean and there is wood panelling on the ground floor ceiling, on open fire with exposed brick to the roof on the wall where where the fireplace is located.
There is a washer and drier so we caught up with our laundry. We have been self-catering for about 5 days now so have all the food we need to stay ensconced in this lovely place and get some rest.
The only flaw in this plan is that we will have to drive back along the long and windy road – maybe not as far because we are going in a different direction – towards Dublin for our 8:40 flight during the dead of night. We have found that Google’s estimates of how long routes will take to drive is not accurate and usually only half the time it will take. So, we plan to allow four hours for our journey so that we are well on time for our flight.
8th October 2019
The cottage is part of a working farm and this morning the sheep were taken to be drenched. The farmer arrived with two black and white border collies enthusiastically rounding up the flock. It took about two minutes for all the sheep to be in a group and moving forward towards the drenching area.
One of the sheep stayed sitting down in the grass and one of the dogs went back to get it. It stood and staggered forward as if its front legs were damaged. It then sat down. The farmer instructed the dog to leave the animal where it was, and he then went and looked more closely, again it struggled to its feet and then collapsed and the farmer left it there and went towards the job to be done.
Afterwards, the dogs came just inside the driveway gate with the farmer and milled while another man in a van appeared with a brown and white border collie on the edge of the driveway. The brown dog was herding his flock down the driveway with the man in the van close behind. The farmer signalled to his two, now filthy dogs, to stay with him while the sheep were processing down the race.
Soon they were gone, and the farmer’s mob were back grazing where they had been this morning.
Such a great show to observe from the kitchen window in our cosy cottage at Ballybraid, Glenmalure.
The hostess of the cottage has written a history book about the area called Glenmalure: The Wild Heart of the Mountains. A valley and its People by Carmel O’Toole, Glenmalure, County Wicklow, Ireland. It took her 5 years and it is magnificent.
It is a fascinating read and I am hoping to get a copy in due course.
Printed in Ireland by Colourworld Print Ltd, Kilkenny. Edited by Richard Beeler.