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!!
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.
After breakfast we got transported to the zip lines which I chose not to do. Two reasons; Firstly I was still unwell (great excuse). Secondly I unfortunately had read reviews before I left & a lot of them had mentioned about how unsafe they could be, tourists dying as a result of not being shown how to strap themselves properly. I had already zip-lined at home a few times so I didn’t feel it was an experience I was missing out on.
Instead I got to chill in the sun watching eagles soar in the sky & listen to the squeals in the background. It also gave me time to let my stomach settle a bit more & force feed myself. The scenery was pretty too. It turns out that there are quite a few of these zip-lining places & by talking to others later on, the one we were taken to was quite a good one.
After this place we shared a bus with another group to Hidrolectica station where we split up. Our group made our way to a large restaurant where hammocks awaited us! We were early so we got to lie in the sun before our lunch was served & for a short period after. Amazingly enough I found myself able to try lunch. I managed a couple of spoons of soup then a few bites of the beef & rice dish. Both were lovely I would have liked to eat more than what my stomach allowed!
We then began our trek. Our bag-packs were heavy but as we were only to trek for a few hours it was manageable. We offloaded some of our goodies to local children once their parents approved. We walked along gravel & railway tracks, passing people with a lot heavier loads on their backs. Whilst it wasn’t as taxing as the previous day it was still a long journey. We avoided a few trains along the way too, giving us time to rest.
As we neared our destination of Agues Calientes we stopped for a short break. Another group came along & I was delighted to find that Mary, who I spoke to on the bus after white water rafting, was part of it. We had quick chat, comparing insect bites (some of her group were destroyed!) and giving advice about where to eat when back in Cusco.
As we walked towards the town, our guide pointed out the bridge where we would begin our final trek to Machu Picchu. He told us we would have to be up at 4am to make the opening at 5am. It should take an hour to make it to the top or that we could get a bus. We scoffed at this, stating that we would be cheating if we did that (in hindsight we should have!).
Agues Calientes is a very pretty town. It reminds me of ski resorts that I’ve seen in movies. We passed the five star hotel and made it to our lodgings above a Chinese restaurant. Out of our three nights this was the nicest stay that was offered. The wifi was great, beds were comfortable and the bathroom was the nicest we had seen since our arrival to Peru. I managed to eat dinner which was also a bonus as I needed my energy for the next day, the final day of the trek ….Machu Picchu
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 😊