Ireland Memories

Friday, June 13, 2008 - written by Russ Hannigan

After a breakfast I returned to the room by turning right - thru the lounge - another right - up the stairs thru the door - left to the stairs - down and then a quick left down the hall and there it was. We boarded our coach and departed from the Kilford Arms Hotel for a very scenic drive. Jean had composed a very funny and accurate lyrical tribute to the rather unique hotel. This drive was another of the most amazing views we could behold. Just when you think this view is best, you turn the corner and the new vista is even better. As far to the left, right, fore and aft as you could see - beautiful green hills and farms - sheep, cows, horses -no sign of industry or business's - no billboards. Lush - green - peaceful.

I believe it was during this leg of the journey the coach became "territorial". There was now "backies", "frontalians" and "middle kingdomers". Or Frontalia, the Middle Kingdom, and Backstein. This reporter also became aware of a certain choraler who got into it with a few revelers - even had beer spilled on him -at an after hours park bench. What time was that George?

Ireland pic 17

Arrived at Glendalough and viewed a short film and saw some interesting artifacts including a scale model of the entire monastery. We also got to witness the true universality of a hill and energentic school kids who love to roll down said hill. It was kind of overcast and a bit damp as we toured the monastic sites that had been established in the 6th century. There was a tall round tower, cathedral, kitchen, gatehouse and a St. Kevin's Cross, which people like to pose in front of, AND midges. We sang "Go Ye Now In Peace" at the chapel ruins. Met someone from Chicago there, so I had to ask about the Cubs. We had time to eat and browse. I talked to a vendor who had a son going to school in Colorado. Saw one of the troops with a postcard of Molly Malone.

Ireland pic 18

Then we drove to Powerscourt. This was a huge place with beautiful gardens and a picturesque fountain. I particularly liked the Japanese Gardens. There was also an Italian, and Walled garden; Dolphin Pond, Pet Cemetery, Winged Horses, Tower Valley and Bamberg Gate. Nice restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, and a gift shop.

Back on the coach to finish our journey to Bray. Checked in at Hotel Ramada Woodlands Court and had a wonderful dinner. Plans were in the works for the next night’s farewell dinner. People then split; some went into Dublin, some to a show/play, I asked the desk clerk if there was a pub "close" by. Her directions indicated about a two block walk, which in actuality became a bit longer. Jim, Peggy, Jan, Sue, and Cara showed to enjoy the Viva Inn. Nice local place, lots of sports fans. Jim noticed a sign in front of the place saying "Residential Area, please leave quietly". Cara and I Stopped at another local pub on the way back to the hotel. Very local clients for a change. Also into sports. If we had known they were having karaoke we could have brought a group, but alas, it was time to go.

Respectfully submitted by Russ Hannigan