Our Celtic Fairy Tale
It is a special thing to have a place as wonderful as the Irish countryside to visit and remember. The sights are unparalleled. It takes your breath away, makes time stand still and casts the kind of magic spell you think exists only in children's books. Your heart will ache to leave it behind!
Even the most stunning photographs are reduced to fragile, wan echoes of how it felt to be there, and you know the only way to feel it is to go back once more and feel it.
"It's just like being inside of a fairy tale. You think, Nothing can ever be as perfect as that fairy tale but just look at it. It's right here. We're in one. It's amazing." - M
She said she'd never been to a place more beautiful than this, and I might have to agree. Here's to hoping you like these photos of our day trip to the Wicklow Mountains, and the lovely jewel of Lough Tay (or "Guinness Lake" as it's sometimes called - you'll see why soon!).
Look! Even the peaty brooks and streams pooled under a rickety wooden footbridge resemble Guinness! If that isn't pure dreamy frothy magic, then I don't know what. We also chased sheep with branded with neon initials through broken fences and sent huge herds of Sika deer running across big green plains. Sometimes we'd happen across a small group of deer in a clearing, and they'd all freeze and swivel their heads around to stare and stare at us, still as statues. TIP: Never have a staring contest with a deer. They'll always win!
Happily, M flung herself beside this stream into the tall, lush grass, clutching a bottle of Irish whiskey. I joined her and she picked little flowers and pressed them into my hair. We shut our eyes and breathed in the smell of peat and heather and whiskey on each other's breaths, and wanted nothing more than to lie there in the blanket bog for evermore. God, it was spectacular.
I love this about Ireland. Everything looks so divine and soft and bright green with life and benign, yet a silly gust of wind or misstep will actually kill you. Are there foul fences or obnoxious signs or bossy rangers or paved paths guiding you to safety? Hell no, there's a danger sign painted bright red and dulled by moss and time stuck into the ground right where you'll trip on it for sure, and you're on your own so don't do anything stupid, buddy! It's great.
When I said "on your own" I meant it. Not another soul in sight. We walked down a trail that was little more than a 6" wide path that seemed a bit trampled down, to lie down on a ledge and drink the view in, and I screamed at M to back away from the steep edge she had no business standing so close to lord only knows how many times. She's supposed to be afraid of heights! There were a few near-misses, but we did alright.
There were big, fluffy clouds moving fast across the sky, so you'd get intervals of bright sun or these great shadows passing over, and we just watched the gusts of wind send silver shimmering ripples across the entire lake for a while. Do you see the white sand there below? That side of the lake borders an estate belonging to the Guinness family. They imported the sand! I'm sure you can figure out why.
I have to stop now. Just thinking about it is making my poor old heart ache! Good thing there's a bottle of Jameson in the cupboard. You're too damn pretty, Ireland!
LOCKS OF LOVE
It seems that nobody really knows how love padlocks started as a tradition, but stories go back as far as before WWI.
Lovers bring a padlock and the key with their initials written or scratched into the lock, or maybe attached by a string and paper, and together latch it onto a structure, usually a bridge, and together throw away the key, hoping that it brings them eternal love.
Well, we all saw how that turned out in Paris...
This boutique hotel in Temple Bar has this outdoor patio for eating and drinking (and smoking, if that's your thing).
It's equal parts whimsy and glam, and we loved hanging out there. It was usually quieter and more chill here on the patio than in the ultra slick, glossy, all-white lounge inside. Drinks were great, especially the Manhattans, but pricey.
Still, a relaxing and chic setting away from the hubbub on the main drag outside, and worth a pit stop.