Written by sararevell on 26 Sep, 2010
Our stay near Ballybeg was short. We arrived the evening before the wedding and departed the morning after. However the area is well worth a visit. It is only an hour and a half drive from Dublin airport and boasts some beautiful scenery. For serious…Read More
Our stay near Ballybeg was short. We arrived the evening before the wedding and departed the morning after. However the area is well worth a visit. It is only an hour and a half drive from Dublin airport and boasts some beautiful scenery. For serious hikers, the Wicklow Way is only two kilometres from Tinahely but there are other walks that can be done in a day and start from a trailhead at the top of Mangan’s Lane in Tinahely. For those interested in doing a day hike, stop in at Madeline’s and pick up a flyer titled ‘Walking in Tinahely’. It has a map and directions for three walks, the first is the easiest at 10km (about 2 hours), the second is 15km (3.5 hours) and the hardest is 21km (5 hours). Alternatively the flyer we picked up invites visitors to download maps from www.discoverireland.ie/walking There didn’t seem to be a great deal going on in Tinahely when we stopped in for lunch but as I mentioned, there are two small grocery shops, a great café at Madeline’s and some other pubs and restaurants to try. There is also an ATM at a small Bank of Ireland branch, which came in handy for the cash-only bar at the wedding. While the village itself isn’t particularly attractive, the surrounding sheep covered hillsides of the south Wicklow Mountains are and can be seen clearly from Tinahely. There are plenty of bed and breakfasts in the vicinity but with Ballybeg nearby it is worthwhile booking in advance.Also based in Tinahely is Tinahely Cabs. Run by Fiona and Joe, they are listed on the Ballybeg website and be contacted on +353 (0)86-8157065 / +353 (0)87-9942409. Although Ballybeg is very close to Rosbane Farmhouse and the village of Tinahely, it is not really advisable to navigate the narrow, winding unlit country roads on foot by day or night. I saw only a handful of roadside walkers and almost all of them were wearing hi-vis jackets. As we drove to Woodenbridge we passed by the pretty village of Aughrim. Woodenbridge is about a 25 minute drive from Rosbane Farmhouse and Aughrim marginally less. Sadly we didn’t have time to venture into Aughrim but since 2002 it seems to have won some sort of award in Ireland’s ‘National Tidy Town’ competition so I imagine it is worth a look in, for it’s tidiness if nothing else although I’m sure there’s much more to it than that. Close
Written by atherts on 20 Mar, 2007
You can't really miss Glendalough once you get close. There is a large sign and marker. However, I was pretty sure they moved the actual visitor centre and site around because it wasn't where I remembered it. After a couple of false starts, we found…Read More
You can't really miss Glendalough once you get close. There is a large sign and marker. However, I was pretty sure they moved the actual visitor centre and site around because it wasn't where I remembered it. After a couple of false starts, we found the correct car park and walked to the visitor centre. We were going to purchase a Duchas Heritage site pass here, but they didn't have a cash machine and we didn't have enough cash. They let us in for free on our word that we would buy a pass in Dublin. (We did.) We took a quick look around the centre and headed for the main entrance. We walked up through the main arch and into the entryway with the large stone that indicated one was safe from pursuers in the good old days. As you walk past the entrance you are in the main graveyard area. There are headstones everywhere and from a range of dates and times. To the right is the large and fairly intact round tower. Ahead is the ruins of the main church and outbuildings with the top of St. Kevin's Chapel barely visible through the trees. There are packs of people roaming through the site, and many standing on the stones with no more sense of where they are than if there were in their own backyard. With a little patience you can avoid most of them by just moving where they are not. In the end it evens out and you'll be able to see it all and get some good pictures too. There are tours and they can be interesting. We tagged along on one and managed to get inside St. Kevin's, but ditched them afterwards. There are a lot of nooks and crannies to explore and some large high crosses nestled in out of the way spots. The area is surrounded by the mountains and there are lots of trees and plants growing around and amongst the stones. You can go through a lot of film (or memory cards) here. There is a lot of nice scenery and great lighting because of the trees. Since the weather was so nice we decided to take the hike up to the upper lakes and St. Kevin's Cell. The path is more of a road and varies in width as you go along. There is a stream you cross over twice and there is a great view from the first bridge towards St. Kevin's. The walk is quite easy and there are incredible views of the mountains and countryside as you walk along. You can look back and see the round tower and a meadow full of sheep. There are other ruins of chapels along the way and well worth the look. There is an especially interesting wall with stone steps that are worn smooth and into a cupped depression from constant use. One can feel the history in the rocks and almost visualize the monks going about their tasks here. The first lake is low and easy to access. There is swimming and other touristy mayhem available. The water looked inviting as the sun rose higher and warmer, but we pressed onward. There is a slow rise in elevation as you walk until eventually you can look down into the second lake. There is a wide panoramic view near St. Kevin's Cell that is quite spectacular. It is a bit of a hike up through the trees, but not to difficult. The trail has rails and is well kept up. We took the walk back which was easier that the walk up. Downhill is easier. The weather had grown warmer and we shed our Columbia Sportswear jackets (these were to prove a great investment as they stuffed into a small pocket and were hooded and waterproof). There was more wonderful scenery on the return trip as you were facing the opposite way and saw new perspectives. Definitely pack water along, as this walk will dry you out on a warm day. We returned to the car, drank a lot of warm Club soda and packed in for the return drive to Dublin. Close
Written by atherts on 04 Jun, 2004
One sleepless night, as we lay upon the torture rack passing for a bed of "Hyacinth" (the owner of the B&B was a dead ringer in looks and personality of the main character in the British TV show Keeping Up Appearances), we started rummaging through…Read More
One sleepless night, as we lay upon the torture rack passing for a bed of "Hyacinth" (the owner of the B&B was a dead ringer in looks and personality of the main character in the British TV show Keeping Up Appearances), we started rummaging through the collection of printed material we had picked up so far on our driving trip through Ireland.
My wife happened upon a small entry in one publication listing "Music Under the Mountain," a festival of Irish music in the unlikely town of Hollywood. We called the listed number the next day from a gas station, and were assured that not only was the festival taking place that night, but the infamous Shane MacGowen was to perform. For those you who don’t know, Shane MacGowen is the semi-coherent, dentally challenged, exceptionally talented, former lead singer of The Pogues. He’s notorious for late arrivals or no shows due to intoxication. The Pogues are know for the volume, speed and general mayhem of both the music and their fans. The music is sort of traditional Irish punk. Not wanting to miss this experience, I highly endorsed the potential experience to my wife, and we backtracked to Co. Wicklow. We secured a B&B nearby and headed over to Hollywood for a recon of the "festival".
At the end of a long windy road, we dead-ended in the town of Hollywood. Basically, there were two pubs and a store at the end of the road, as I remember. There was a large banner up the read "Music Under the Mountain" so I assumed we were in the right place. One of the pubs was closed, so we wandered into the other. It was apparent that something was in progress as people were scurrying around looking busy. We inquired as to the festival location and status and were shown to a door through which we could see a tent set up with a large amount of folding chairs and a stage. Plastered around the pub were several flyers listing Shane MacGowen and the Kane Sisters as well as a couple of other musicians. We had a pint and looked around the place. The interior was done in light wood, and was very large and nicely laid out. The place was clean and not too smoky. There was a limited menu and nothing sounded interesting at the moment. We wandered back out and headed back to the B&B to get ready for the evening. We had average dinner in another pub/restaurant recommended by the owner of the B&B, and then headed back to Hollywood.
Some important notes are in order about Irish music events of any kind. They rarely start when scheduled and that’s usually well after 9pm. This is hard for American’s to deal with as we are used to getting things going much earlier and on time. We arrived on schedule (according to the flyers), the pub was crowded and loud. We found some seats and asked the waiter for two pints and when the festival would get underway. He shrugged and said they would announce the start and people could then pay and go into the tented area. I believe they wanted between 12 and 15 Euro a person. We pulled out our travel cribbage board and played a few games while we waited. (Note: this is an excellent pastime while waiting for airplanes, musicians, or food). After an hour, I got up and went to the door and asked the people sitting at the money table when things were going to start. They assured me it would be soon and would I like to pay now? Wisely, I declined and went back to the table. Several more games and another round of Guinness ensued. After another hour passed, we were understandably concerned. Further inquiries of the waiter and the doorkeepers resulted in further reassurances that the music would start at any time and announcements would be made.
A few minutes’ later two women walked through the pub with instrument cases and several people in tow. Obviously, these were the Kane sisters; this looked promising! We subsequently heard some warm up sounds, mics being tested and instruments being tuned. Forty-five minutes later the Kane sisters came by again with the same instrument cases and the people in tow; however, they were heading for the door and looking mighty pissed. This didn’t bode well! Further inquiries revealed that Shane MacGowen probably wouldn’t show or was too pissed to perform (we never found out which). Evidently the Kane sisters were disturbed by something and had either walked out or temporarily departed. At this time it was about 11pm and according to what we heard the festival had to be over by 11:45pm due to noise ordinances. The people at the door again cheerfully offered to take our money. We declined again even though some music was starting inside and a crowd had somehow managed to assemble in the tent, even though we had seen no more than five people go through the door. We headed out into the night grumbling about a wasted evening and an interesting story to tell. We stopped off on the way back in the Hollywood graveyard. It was partially lit by some exterior lights and a full moon. We took a few pictures and headed back to the B&B.In the morning we asked our hostess if this was typical of the festival or just Irish music events in general. She shrugged and said that she didn’t go to any of them, but yes, it was, as she understood it. We chalked it up to experience, and if nothing else, we had the quintessential Shane MacGowan concert experience!