Must see places in Ireland: Powerscourt Gardens

Every year I mean to do more tourist things in Ireland, however my plans always get way laid or postponed due to my love of travel outside the country, work, hikes and hangovers. I live in a beautiful country that people spend a lot of money to travel to so why not take advantage of that?

One place I kept wanting to visit is Powerscourt Gardens. It is in county Wicklow about 30 minutes outside Dublin and whilst I visited the waterfall two years ago I wasn’t able to visit the gardens as I had my cairn terrier Izzie with me. 

This week I changed that by heading down with my mam. It is €10 entry fee per adult in and takes approx 1 hour to walk around the full garden. 

I would stress to wear comfortable shoes as there is a few steep hills you will encounter and it would be more enjoyable without the stress of heels. 

When you first walk in you notice the huge fountain and the beautiful landscaping that takes your breath away. The gardens are set against the backdrop of the sugarloaf mountain which adds to the stunning scenery surrounding them.

There are different sections marked on the map to visit and audio guides are offered if you wish. We declined these however if I go back I would like to get these to know more about the history. 

We wandered to the different gardens, enjoying the smells and the views around us. I don’t need to say much more about the gardens as the pictures speak for themselves!

Afterwards we had intended on sitting in one of the cafes within the house, however they were extremely busy. We had a look in some of the shops and window shopped in the garden centre before heading back to the car.

We drove two minutes down the road to Enniskerry which is a pretty village that offers a couple of dining options. We opted on pub grub that we got to enjoy outside as the weather was lovely. 

Overall I would recommend a trip to visit the gardens if you have the time. They are voted the third best garden in the world by National Geographic so it’s not just my opinion!!


Summertime walks: Pt1 Hellfire Club, Dublin

Ok so I decided to share some of the walks I do during summer, sometimes during the year. The reason is because a lot of people I talk to never venture further than what they already know so it’s always good to discover there’s more out there. 

The Hellfire Club is in the Dublin Mountains near viewpoint and Masseys Wood. It is a moderate climb if you follow the path. If you go through the Forest however it is a lot steeper. As you walk along the pathway you will see an amazing view of Dublin City. Though I do need to warn you that on warm days the insects and flies can also be found in their thousands along the walk. 

Though there are signs saying otherwise I always feel it’s safe for Izzie to be off her lead. It can be tough on her paws with the gravel but worth it when she reaches the top and there’s grass to roll around in. Up here I take in the view and gather my thoughts. I never go in the crumbling building however!

On the way down I go through the forest as it’s downhill and quicker. The walk doesn’t take long and most people I know enjoy it.

My easiest way to get here is to take the m50 and turn off towards Firhouse. Take the left at the next junction near Woodstown and drive towards the mountain. When you get to the t-junction take the left then at the top of that road take the first right. A few minutes up the road you will see the car park on the right.

Summer of 2016

It is September 4th and in my head I am marking this day as the last day of summer for me. It’s not a bad day either. I am after parking beside killiney beach and walking up the many steps to Killiney hill. I’ve earned a few moments to sit, take in the view and reflect on what has been one of my best summers. 

Killiney Hill

From my resting spot I can see the Sugar loaf, which I climbed with my twelve year old nephew. No money needed, just us climbing and chatting, bonding I suppose you might say. I can also see Bray. I climbed Bray Head with my nephew, my sister and my dad. It took us many stops to get to the top as my dad isn’t the fittest person and to be honest we were worried about his heart. More fool us as when we reached the top he then decided to gloat about his achievement and gleefully jogged down the hill. I also ventured the cliff walk with my friend Kate which is a 6km walk from Bray to Greystones. This would have been more enjoyable if it hadn’t been for the numerous amount of people with the same idea, it felt like we were in a cattle market. 

Bray head with the family

On top of the sugarloaf

Killiney beach of course is below me and my first trip to this beach this summer was with Kate (as were many other trips), who brought a picnic for us to enjoy whilst people watching. Killiney hill itself I have visited many many times throughout the year, not just this summer. Sometimes I bring people with me and enjoy watching their faces as they take in the magnificent views from this hill. 

I have not had one beach holiday this summer which is very unusual for me as I would normally have two. Yet I have had the best tan throughout the summer. Customers in work have asked if I was away, is it from a bottle or a sunbed. They are suprised when I tell them it’s from Dublin. Some feel this wasn’t a great summer weather wise yet I beg to differ. I have been able to get out hiking in the evenings and I have taken a few half days from work to enjoy the rare sun Ireland enjoys. 

Sandymount strand

The hiking has also lead to a few lbs being lost. I had aimed for 14 which I knew was a stretch but I will settle for 6. I did not diet or restrict myself from brunches out, burgers or tapas in the evening. I just drank more water, cut out bread as much as I could and excercised. I am by no means near what I wish to be, but I never will be unless I go to the chicken and broccoli brigade and I’m not ready for that! 

This summer had only one concert for me which was Bruce Springsteen. Whilst it was tainted by a family crisis I still got to enjoy a night out with my dad, who was in flying form. I can’t remember much of Bruce’s performance but I remember the numerous selfies of my dad and my sister in drunken madness. 

Pre drinks before Bruce

I had an evening in Dun Laoghaire that was filled with contentment, so I drank it in as much as I could. I have had so many bad days over the past few years that when a good day comes along you grab it tightly with both hands. I spent that evening listening to a brass band playing, strolling up and down the pier with a playlist that soundtracked my evening perfectly. I spent another day in Dun Laoghaire learning how to paddle board and not fall in. The place used to cause me sadness now helped me find bits of happiness. 

Brass band in Dun Laoghaire

This summer I read a lot, overdosed on Netflix and spent a lot of time with people that matter most to me. I have had not one romance and it has not bothered me at all. Instead I enjoyed the company of friends and the solitude equally. Plus this whole time I have been accompanied by my trusty companion Izzie. She proves her loyalty constantly by traipsing behind me for hours up mountains, even with her little legs. 

Memories of the summer

So that is how this summer is one of my best. I have many happy memories and spent very little as I save for Peru in October. I have learnt over time who I can trust and rely on, so I enjoy their company when I can. Of course it hasn’t all been plain sailing but the good has definitely outweighed the bad! Hopefully winter will treat me the same 😊

Why I love living in Dublin

Ok so this is just going to be a quick post as I currently have two dogs fighting for my attention!! When I was younger I always saw myself living in a different country. Very young = Orlando as they had Disneyland and Universal, plus it was always sunny!

My teens = Manchester: I loved Take That and Manchester United so it was obvious I would want to go there. Right??

Australia was then on my list in my twenties as that’s where everyone seemed to be travelling to!

Then I came to a realisation in my thirties. I actually love living in Ireland, I love my city. Dublin is a great place to visit or live. There are many restaurants, pubs and clubs. Every now and then Bord Gais get brilliant theatrical shows so you aren’t missing out on Broadway or the West End. Many historical places to visit and the Phoenix Park is possibly one of the best places to spend hours in free of charge.
On a sunny day you cannot beat the atmosphere in town. Everyone is in good form, relaxed and socialising.

Deer crossing in Phoenix Park

I try and walk my dog in different places every week. My absolute favourite place to escape is Killiney Hill. Here you can have your dog off the lead, as most people do, and you don’t get any funny looks off people. The cafe there also leave out bowls of water for your furry friends to rehydrate. It’s nice to sit there with your dog and grab a tea/coffee and cake! Then you walk up the small hill, stopping to take in the mountain views to the right which are beautiful. However when you continue walking up, the views there take your breath away! Beyond the gorse you see the beach below and the views as far as Bray, the mountains setting a nice backdrop. I have seen this view on multiple occasions in different types of weather and each time I find it hard to believe I’m in Dublin and not looking at the Amalfi Coast. Continuing on you can also see great views of the city, with the Poolbeg towers and Howth in the distance. I reckon everyone should make a visit just once. If you have kids, there is a good playground in Dalkey park including a mini zip line!
Few of my pics from Killiney Hill

From Killiney I normally head onto Dun Laoghaire which isn’t too far away. I used to avoid going there as my last dog sadly drowned out off the west pier, but one day after being in Killiney I accidentally found myself back here and I remembered how nice it was to walk along. You can grab an ice cream in Teddys or a coffee off the guy at the pier. On Sunday’s you can visit the market at the people’s park, sampling some of the great smelling food and admiring the photos on show.

Dun Laoghaire on November 1st!!

My father likes joining my outings some times and his particular favourite is Howth. It’s a bit further for us to get to but I do love it too. It used to be a small fishing village and it is full of tourism as a result. My dad loves wandering along the different fish shops, trying to find a bargain. We then walk to the pier, passing many restaurants and chippers along the way. It’s a sin not to grab a bag of chips by the way! Now and then there’s a busker on the green near the pier so you can sit and enjoy the show! After walking the pier we generally walk back to the car after spending hours in the fresh air. I always look enviously at the people sitting outside enjoying their wine. Last week I actually got to be one of those people and it was really nice! In fact the sun set in Howth was so amazing that my friend suggested toasting it with a bottle of wine. Really a memorable experience sitting on the pier, watching the sky change and enjoying a small glass of vino. Who needs to go abroad when the weather is so good!

Some photos of Howth from last week

Also in Howth you can walk Howth Head which is a lovely cliff walk. I may write a piece about this at a later time regarding hill walks.

Photo from Howth Head 

As you can see these are mainly outdoor activities that I have spoke about. This obviously means that they are weather dependant however it also means they are Free!! And who doesn’t love a free day out in Dublin?!!

I love many things about this city that I could spend hours talking about, however this was meant to be a quick blog post 😂

Talk soon!!