On the road again

I am now in Abigail’s Hostel in the Temple Bar district of Dublin, not too far from where I was when I first arrived in Dublin. This place looks cozy, with several couches and comfortable chairs in the common area. Peter, my ‘couch surfing’ host brought me here after a great breakfast.

Peter and Jola in the Mount St. Anne’s Milltown area, took me for a long drive yesterday to see another part of Dublin. We first saw the rocky beach of the Bray coast. A typical beach and boardwalk as seen in many places in the world, but this one has grass between the beach and the parking lot, which would accommodate people wanting to sit for a spell on grass before embarking on the rocks. Peter said someone told him that rocky beaches instead of sand are favored in some places because it’s cleaner, and you don’t get sand in your clothing, between your toes, and all over the place. The water was calm, and from where we stood we could see the small mountain where a path took walkers up to the top of the hill for a great view. A train travels around the base of the hill near the ocean.

I found out later, that we were only a  block away from where my friend, and romance writer, Kemberlee Shortland once lived. I must ask her how much of Ireland influences her stories.

After spending some time walking near the sea we then headed to the Wicklow National Park in Glendalough. It is a beautiful park with a lake and walking trails. I could imagine on a non-rainy day, how families could bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the grounds. Peter had spent time there as a youngster and pointed to the dense tree forest and fauna, and said a trail would take him through the forest to the top of the hill. For more detail on this beautiful spot go to: www.glendalough.ie. It was once a granite mining village, according to Peter. Walking around, I could only imagine what it must have looked like back in the day the miners worked and families lived near the lakes, the river and the hills.

Nearby, there is an old village of stone houses, a cemetery with many large stones, and large crosses, and is protected. It is the St. Kevins Monastery of the sixth century. Still standing is the church and a partial gateway of stone.

Peter and Jola were wonderful hosts. Peter, a kind bear of a man and Jola, a fiesty, pixie of a woman, entertained me with stories and prepared the best of meals. Peter, a rising star in the business world and Jola, an experienced world traveler with stories and good traveling advice, will soon depart for Australia where Peter has been recruited for a position there.  They exemplify a delightful couple. They were exceptionally good hosts for the www.couchsurfing.com program. Peter has not yet ‘surfed’ for a spot in the world, but Jola is experienced in couch surfing and in hostel living. Peter and Jola have hosted many surfers, and, according to both of them, they have had good luck with choosing guests.

Both were kind to me, and that was grandly appreciated. It’s just another example of how good most people are in this world we share. I liked their style of living and, of course, there are always ideas to learn and put into place in my life.

You’ll find photos of me and Jola, Peter and Jola, the Monastery church, two different archways.

2 Responses to On the road again

  1. Hey Laureen,

    The days are ticking down until we see you this Friday!

    Bray is a lovely seaside community. Those stones beside the promenade were put in by the county council in order to protect the promenade walls. When we lived in Bray, it was not uncommon for the waves to break on the wall and crash down onto the promenade and even onto the grass beside it! The council started off by placing massive boudlers between the pier wall and down as far as the aquarium (that stone building midway to the food end of the promenade. But that just made the waves crash higher and give them a better trajectory for the promenade. So they brought in mega tons of stones and pushed the breaking point further away from the shoreline.

    The other reason for doing this is that you can see the ferry from Bray, which travels between Dun Laoghaire in South County Dublin and Holyhead in Wales. The ferry causes a riptide effect across the sea and raises the sea level suddenly (about 15 minutes after the ferry has passed) and if children are in the water, it can become dangerous for them. By pushing that breakwater out into the sea more and lengenthening the ‘beach’ area, that tidal effect is much lessened and safer for beach-goers. The stones are hard on the feet though. Not cleaner, as your friend suggested. They’re larger stones than coarse sand and catch everything and anything floating in the water. But Bray County Council does try to keep it clean manually.

    Bray, by the way, is the first town in County Wicklow as you leave County Dublin.

    Peter and I both agree that was the best place we’ve lived in our time together . . . 15 years now!

    Isn’t Glendalough amazing? The name Glendalough is the modern Irish for Gleann Dá Locha, Glen of the Two Lakes. There are actually two lakes on the site. The main one is way at the back of the site and away from tghe monastery ruins. That’s the upper lake. It’s said to be haunted with a monster like Loch Ness. The story goes that Kevin, who founded the monastery and became St Kevin, went up into the mountains to his private cell for prayer and fasting, but he was followed up by one of the village ladies who fancied him. A lot! Let’s say she gave love by the hour! Kevin repeatedly spurned her. The more he told her no, the more she tried insinuating herself into his cell. One day he’d had enough and pushed her off the mountain and into the lake where he turned her into the monster that she was. Or so one of the stories goes 😉

    The ‘two different archways’ are the ruins of the original gatehouse entry into the settlement. There was once a structure above where guards resided and would come down to open the gates for refuge seekers and people who had business in the settlement. I don’t know if Peter and Jola pointed it out to you, but as you pass through the second arch, on the right is a massive stone slab with a cross carved into it. This denoted a place of sanctuary for people facing harm or looking for solace. Amazing that it still survives in the Irish weather after 1400 years.

    Now that you’ve seen Glendalough, I can wait to get you down to the Rock of Cashel on Saturday. We’re sending out some requests for good weather to the Weather Gods!!

  2. That is so interesting Kemerlee. Isn’t it amazing how the stories have been passed down through all the ages? The stories are as strong as the stone buildings and memorials.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *