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Leaving Dublin behind for a good reason

Dublin is an amazing city! I cannot stress how much I loved it but I had to get out. There was this amazing deal on a tour through the Wicklow Mountains and I gave it a go and can only stress how much this made me love Dublin even more (is that possible?). If you are keen on why, read on.

Take Me Away

I had a week in this lovely city and already in the first couple of days, I walked my feet sore, discovering every inch of it, strolling around temple bar, walking up and down the Liffey and even going to some lesser known further out districts. I had gotten a good glimpse of it and then someone suggested I should see the Wicklow mountains. I thought nothing of it except that it might be nice and so booked the ticket for the very next day.

Having no expectations, it surely wouldn't disappoint. But what I saw of Ireland's natural beauty stunned me. Rolling hills, lush green meadows and the wavering mist in the valleys were such a breath of fresh air to me. It wasn't the best weather but that didn't bother me in the least. After all, it's Ireland, where rain and clouds are a friend. No wonder the green looked as if someone had tweaked with the saturation.

Out bus took us along winding roads, next to cliffs, all the way rolling up and down and never stopping with random and interesting information. Some of it might have been made up it sounded so funny. But how could you explain two main streets with the name of a river crossing, being publicly referred to as 'the meeting of the rivers' and then later seeing a toilet built on top of it? Is that real or made up? I like the humour, in either case.

Nerdy Facts

We stopped at an old monastry, which was mostly left in ruins but still invites guests over. Every now and then trees are planted here as a sign for peace or support. Again, one of the stories went that one day Prince Charles planted a tree here and the next day it was eaten by a goat.

But aside from such anecdotes, we also learnt about film facts because the Wicklow Mountains are a popular destination for Hollywood productions. No matter if it is Braveheart, PS I Love You or Becoming Jane, you bet it is filmed here. Apparently it is much cheaper due to taxes. And so I saw the bridge of PS I Love You and imagine Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler walkignr right here.

What we also saw was its connection to famous musicians. Did you know that Michael Jackson had bought a huge ranch out here with a massive lake and deer grazing on the green grounds? We were told that it was here that the Beatles wrote Yesterday, which was originally titled Scrambled Eggs. Anyone know whether that is true or just a tourist guide joke?

Haunting Churches

Besides the passing landscapes that changes around every bend, turning from highland-like mountain regions to deep valleys and moonscape surfaces to bubbling bogs, we had a lot of stops to go out and explore. One of the outstanding stop was at Glendalough, a former monastry/cemetery. Upon entry you touch it with your right hand and when leaving with the left hand and all your sins will be washed away How convenient is that?!

Since I can't help it, here are some facts for you: The tower is 79m high, which is exactly the steps Jesus took when holding the cross. One church is a ruin but the other one intact and completely made out of stones.

Only one window can be found, otherwise it is pitchblack. What good is this church then, you may ask. Every equinox and solstice at about 5pm, the sunlight would directly fall upon this window and illuminate the whole building as if through the holy ghost itself. One last fact: this monastery once housed two monks that became much older than 100 years! I guess this place is magical after all.

Cemeteries and Fairies

The cemetery itself was absolutely beautiful. If you didn't know, I adore cemeteries and this one is definitely one of my all tiem favourites. The crooked and worn old stones all cracked and overgrown gave this place a hauntingly charming appeal. With the two old churches and the huge tower in the middle, this place is truly an eyecatcher.

Pretty close to Glendalough are two big sister lakes. Every time I see the lovely film Leap Year, I yell out in glee because I recognise them in the pukey scene. (Not the best time to show delight, wouldn't you say?) My advice to you is to walk from the smaller lake to the larger one becaus then you will walk next to the typical stone walls and lichen covered trees that really make you understand how the old Irish could believe in magical nature and fairies.

What that supernatural feeling in mind, we drove back overlooking ridges and gazing at grazing sheep while in the distance rain clouds were pouring down on the land. Clouds hanging low and the sun poking through the dense covers, we got some amazing spots dancing on the rolling hills. Just like in the Kerry Gold ads. Who doesn't love a place as beautiful as this?

Is anyone else going all starry eyed over this little European island? Have you been? Do you want to go? Tell me right here in the comments and we can dream together.


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Profile photo of Annemarie Strehl

I think I was always made for foreign countries. At the age of 8 I started learning English and a lifelong language romance began. Seeing the country of Shakespeare for the first time 6 years later only set free what has always been lurking: the travel bug. I went off to live in England and Sweden for a little over half a year, travelling whenever I could while studying and working, all the while blogging about my experiences and interrogating my new international friends about their own cultures, daydreaming of finally visiting their foreign lands. This year I made the decision to stop dreaming and start living the dream. I made the bold plan to travel through Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia and Japan within 11 months, discovering as much as I could and keeping my budget stable through jobs on working holiday visas. Here I am now and already in the midst of blogging about my adventures and travel stories. There is always something happening and I'd love to share it with you. I hope you join me on my crazy ride. See ya!



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