Sunday, February 14, 2016

Ruins

One of my favourite things about being back in Ireland is being able to show my boys the beautiful sights in our lovely little country. They are particularly interested in "really old stuff" and love going to see old ruins. We usually combine these outings with a hike and a stop off for lunch afterwards.

A few weeks ago we were staying over at my parents' house and my Dad and I brought them to Monasterboice, the ruins of an early Christian settlement in County Louth. There is a really old graveyard, a round tower, some beautiful high crosses and the ruins of an old church, plenty for little people to explore. Of course, they quickly turned things competitive trying to see who could find the oldest grave.










Naturally all the mischief and questions worked up an appetite and we went to a nice Irish pub for a hearty lunch afterwards before going to meet up with their cousins for more mischief. 


On the way back we passed by Newgrange, an ancient passage tomb originally constructed over 5,000 years ago. I'm looking forward to bringing the boys to see it another time, hopefully in the Summer.

A couple of weeks ago after a very windy rainy January we decided to dust off the cobwebs and take advantage of a nice sunny day to hike up to the Hellfire Club in the Dublin Mountains not far from where we live.





The boys had great fun exploring the spooky ruins, there are many urban myths and tales of paranormal activity associated with the Hellfire Club, the most popular one when I was little was that "if you walk around the hellfire club at midnight in an anti-clockwise direction the devil will appear!!!" 





It didn't look too scary on this nice sunny day though.



There are beautiful views all over Dublin from the top of Montpelier Hill where the ruins are located.




Rather than walking the main track back down I would recommend losing yourself in the beautiful woods, we even saw some moo cows!

We stopped off at The Merry Ploughboy for lunch, I highly recommend it, the food was yummy and they have a really nice kids menu :-)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Magic Rainbow Clouds

Whilst packing the kids into the car for the school run this morning my middle son let out an almighty screech of excitement and pointed up at the sky. Expecting the usual moon/bird/airplane/helicopter I was stunned to look up and see these beautiful rainbow clouds...




These camera phone photos don't do them any justice, they were absolutely stunning!! I have never seen anything like this before and when we got back home I looked them up on the internet, of course there was a scientific explanation involving crystals and high winds, but we are sticking with calling them "magic rainbow clouds" :-)

Friday, January 1, 2016

Powerscourt House and Gardens

Happy New Year!!! It's hard to believe it's 2016 already!

It's been a rainy, stormy week here in Ireland and with one of my boys having a bad tummy bug we've been stuck indoors a lot more than I'd like. Thankfully there was a dry day before the bug hit and we rugged up and went out for a drive. Often when we go for drives we have no set plan on where we're going, we just like to see where we end up.

This time it was at the beautiful Powerscourt House and Gardens in County Wicklow...










The only word I can use to describe this place is stunning! I was blown away by the beauty of the gardens and if they look this amazing on an overcast Winter's Day I can only imagine what they look like in late Spring and Summer!




The gardens are vast and there are so many beautiful spots and nooks and crannies for kids to explore.





The boys had a great time exploring and running all over the place.






And for when you're all walked out and have worked up an appetite there's the Avoca cafe and for a little retail therapy various lovely little shops and a gorgeous garden centre.





I have a feeling this will be a place we visit over and over. The gardens are listed as the "Number 3 Garden in the World" by National Geographic and the house is listed as one of the "Top 10 Houses in the World" by Lonely Planet. I can see why!