map of Ireland

Part 1:
Vale of Avoca and the Wicklow Hills

Bray, Co Wicklow
Bray - a modern introduction to a journey into history. A level crossing to the sea.

Glendalough 1
Our first visit was to Glendalough, the valley of two lakes, one of the ancient monastic settlements of Ireland. The location was chosen by St Kevin and the succeeding monks because of its remoteness and isolation in the Wicklow Mountains.

Round Tower,
It is a pity for those of us who are not as mobile as we would like that places such as this require so much walking. But to make it much more accessible would destroy the whole character of the place.

Glendalough 3
There are the remains of seven churches on this site, and of a host of other buildings. In the late afternoon sun, the buildings looked quite dark and forbidding.

Glendalough Tavern
The Glendalough Tavern.

Woodenbridge Lodge
Woodenbridge Lodge, an annex to the historic Woodenbridge Hotel.
A beautifully tranquil location for a quiet holiday.

Our base was at Woodenbridge, in the Vale of Avoca. This picture is of a Victorian post box built into the wall of the Woodenbridge Hotel.
Woodenbridge Post Box

Woodenbridge Advert 1921

Avoca Church
Just a couple of miles from Woodenbridge is Avoca, the setting for the BBC television series Ballykissangel.Photograph of Avoca Church.

Garda house
The Avoca (or Ballykissangel) Garda house at the top of the village.

Fitzgerald's, Avoca
Fitzgeralds Pub in Avoca. Taking pictures early in the morning is great for wandering about without being run over. But the absence of people and activity robs the the images of much of their character.

Waterfall above
				Laragh 1
We took the road from Laragh that leads into the mountains, past notices warning that this road was impassable during the winter months. It went up, and up, and up.

Waterfall above
				Laragh 2
The Wicklow Mountains are rich in waterfalls. The high bogs hold vast amounts of water which steadily pours over the granite rocks. We saw the area at a time when it was comparatively dry. It must be an amazing sight when in full force.

Wicklow Mountains -
				emptiness 1
Once we reached the top of our long climb we entered a world of the most amazing emptiness. Not a tree, animal, person or bird was to be seen. During a 28 km drive, the only other vehicle we saw was in the distance, travelling up a track to the TV transmitter on the summit of Kippure.

Wicklow Mountains -
				emptiness 2
According to local legend, the traveller crossing Sally Gap must turn his coat inside out as a mark of respect to the Little People. Failure to do so will result in him getting lost on his travels, even when he is convinced he is taking the right route.

We had heard of this story and decided we must comply with it but, on the day, we completely forgot about it until afterwards. The number of times we took wrong turnings and went round in circles after this suggest there may be some truth in it! Beware! (Photograph taken on Achill Island, 2004)

Lough Bray Lower
Soon after passing Lough Bray Lower (above) we returned to the world of trees, animals, birds and human habitation. We turned onto a minor road to travel along Glencree to Enniscorthy. There we hoped to find Ireland's highest waterfall, in the grounds of Powerscourt. Some way along this road, a signpost suggested that a turning on the right would lead to "waterfall". So we followed it, only to give up after about two miles. Later we discovered that, if we had carried on for another half mile, we would have arrived at the entrance to Powerscourt waterfall!

				Waterfall 1
Unlike our previous waterfall, this one is set in the most beautifully designed and maintained parkland.
Powerscourt was the home of the Powers family, famous for the whiskey on which their fortune was founded.

				Waterfall 2

Created 18 November 2005
HTML revised 4 January 2019