The Kuhls went to Ireland. It was a trip we’ve discussed for years — I had never been — and serendipitously Mrs. Kuhl was engaged to speak at a conference in London. Speech well received, we hopped a Ryanair flight from Gatwick to Dublin.
We spent two days in Dublin — Book of Kells, Guinness Storehouse, many pints of Bulmers — then drove a lonely single-lane road (which isn’t even printed on some maps) over and through the mountains south of the city to Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains National Park. The Glendalough Valley is the site of a monastic settlement founded in the 5th century. The cemetery is still in use.
I love the mohawk of trees edging the hill to the right.
A river runs through the valley, forming two lakes along the way. Visitors can hike the length of the valley to the feeding waterfall tumbling down the rocks. The terrain is almost Pleistocene.
Feral goats haunt the western woods of the valley, descendants of livestock raised by the workmen of a 19th-century lead and zinc mine. My son was sharp enough to spot a herd in the trees, so we crept up the slope to snap some pictures.
We stayed one night at Killiane Castle outside of Wexford. It’s a crumbling 15th-century castle with an attached 17th-century farmhouse. Guests sleep and eat in the farmhouse but you can tour the castle ruins. This is the view from the topmost tower, a precipitous structure without banister or parapet.
You can see cows and hens and there is an apple tree in the garden — all of which contributed to the fantastic breakfast we had. Even packaged produce like juice and ice cream we found in museum cafeterias originated in close proximity to wherever we were. You can’t not be a locavore in Ireland.
We were the only guests at the castle that evening so we had the run of the place. Kathleen Mernagh and her family are incredibly gracious hosts. Highly recommended.
Our boys have grown into terrific travelers, the result of vacations to Disney and countless long weekends away. They’re good-humored and fun, and even when they grow tired or cranky, it’s nothing food or a nap or a small treat can’t fix. We’re crazy about them.
When they’re big, I hope they remember the trips.