Winter Vacation 2013: Dublin, and Wicklow

Most memorable bits of our Winter Vacation Part 1.

It is a family tradition of sorts to travel at least once a year. It used to be the only way that the parents could truly take a break from work but alas, technology!

Still, it was good to inhale some fresh air in Ireland. Made up for all the smoke that entered my system in Rome. And for the first time (and hopefully the last time) in my life, my bag got stolen. At Pepperpot cafe that used to be my favourite cafe in Dublin.

Start of rant:

While they were polite and civil all the way, they were clearly reluctant to provide any information about the customers sitting behind me that day who stole my bag (Yes, it is that ludicrous I don’t want to repeat the story anymore haha). After referring us to security they scuttled off, and when we returned to ask questions, the vibes they exuded were not very friendly. I was too distressed to do any cross-ex ugh. Oh and the security in Powerscourt Centre offered to report the matter to the police but we found out later in the day that it was not done because the security officers were too busy (or rather the person who tended to us had ended his shift)? hahaha. All THE LIPSERVICE that day was too much to bear.

End of Rant.

I was very glum that day but lesson learnt! I should have taken more precautions and been more vigilant.Fortunately this is the only bad memory I have of Ireland (: Below are the happier things I remember.

1. Our taxi driver mused that Liberty Hall, used by SIPTU, was the tallest building in Dublin (a quick search tells me that this info is outdated, it is now the 3rd tallest, but that’s not the point haha). I chuckled. Ah, all the memories of my scuffle with labour law during exchange.

2. Running out in the morning for a coffee and pastry together with many like-minded folks. Love city life!

3. Visiting Wicklow one more time. This time, in the comforts of a van driven by our guide Michael from Day Tours Wicklow.

If you have no time for a 3 or 4 day hike, the next best thing is to go for a day tour. I’ve done almost all the tours available but the tour to Wicklow was the best by far. Wicklow isn’t that far from Dublin so this means less time in the bus and more time outdoors. It’s also not an exaggeration that Wicklow is one of the prettiest parts of Ireland.

Finally, a visit to the Powerscourt Gardens! The friend and I were too tired during our hike to visit this place last summer. 

Avoca has an outlet in the Powerscourt Gardens (It has the same concept as Anthropologie in the US, being a lifestyle brand of sorts, with a focus on handweaving. Walking around their concept stores is always so inspiring). We didn’t bother to sit here for our hot chocolate and scones because the weather outside was so good. But isn’t this view gorgeous too?

Blessed with gorgeous autumn-ish weather despite it being the early winter. The lack of tourists (a bane of the summer season) was a major plus. This gave us the opportunity to savour the pristine beauty of the manicured gardens all by ourselves. 

The Japanese Garden

This plump, inquisitive robin followed us everywhere! Cute little fella. 

Hi Sugarloaf Mountain we meet again!

The Powerscourt Estate attracts not only tourists but also locals. There is a huge gardening shop and they were selling all sorts of supplies for christmas. Picked up cardboard cake stands for a good price too! There is a small animal pen outside where they sell christmas trees to entertain kids. Spotted reindeer, and a donkey.

Beautifully styled spaces within Avoca

Adjourned for lunch at Poppies Cafe, Enniskerry, for delicious homemade pie and salad. Yes fans of “Leap Year”, this IS the cafe featured in the movie. 

Billowing winds that were so refreshing.

This little stream leads to the River Liffey that separates North and South Dublin

The Guinness Lake, or Lough (pronounced as Loch) Tay in Winter (It was shimmering deep blue when I saw it in summer!). The water is not used for Guinness! That come from the Wicklow Mountains. But this is owned by the Guinness estate, together with most of the land around this area. Doesn’t the beach look like the foam head of a pint of Guinness haha. 

As darkness fell, we wandered in Glendalough. I think this is the lower lake. When I came last summer it was buzzing with locals, and hikers.

4. Found new favourites at the Queen of Tarts. Rustic Apple crumble and cinnamon rolls ❤

5. Had Carluccio’s once again. This Tiramisu was so good with the perfect balance of mascarpone cream and savoiardi biscuit. There was just enough soaking liquid to keep the biscuit super moist. Oh, and the coffee liquor was a nice touch!

There are still many reasons to return to Ireland for me.

I want to hike Croagh Patrick, and the Kerry Way. I don’t think I’ve experienced enough of Belfast. A day trip on our own would be awesome I think.

Oh well, there are too many places in the world that I want to go anyway. Next time!