“Road tripping’ with my two favorite allies; Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies; It’s time to leave this town – it’s time to steal away…” Red Hot Chili Peppers
Andrea, Helen, and I drove away from Dublin and took the first exit toward the road to find out. And as luck would have it the road led us to the tiny village of Enniskerry, population 1,800. One of the best things about Dublin is that one can escape to many a quaint town within minutes, and as it turns out, Enniskerry is the absolute quaintest, and it knows it. The movie Leap Year was filmed here and Enniskerry was also the hometown of Gerard Butler’s character in P.S. I Love You. Which leads me to ponder, who’s cuter – Gerard Butler or Matthew Goode? Oh sorry, I digress…back to the town.
We have a home cooked lunch of quiche and salad and rhubarb crumble at Poppie’s and then wonder around the main square and the few stores and places to stay. We check out a stunning bed and breakfast run by Josie, a woman who seems to also be right out of an Irish movie. She tells us, “I’m so busy I don’t have time to bless myself,” but then she shows us around the place as if she has all the time in the world. And once again I am impressed by the world-famous charm of the Irish. We wander into an antique store where the items are staged in piles on the floor, and I buy a crystal bud vase as a souvenir of the day. And then we are back on the road that leads us to Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains, one of my most favorite spots in the world.
In Irish Gleann Da Loch means “valley of two lakes”. The valley was formed during the last ice age by a glacier which left soil and rock across the valley’s mouth. (Ireland’s magnificent coastline is over 3,000 miles long and it is accentuated by mountains along much of its way.) Just near the lake is an early Medieval monastic settlement founded in the sixth century by St. Kevin. The remains of its buildings and its cemetery endure, other-worldly beautiful. This is my fourth visit to Glendalough and I am still swept away by its magic. Helen, Andrea, and I put our feet in the clear water of the lake together, and it’s a moment. This is where water, beach, trees, mountains, and sky collide with the memories of those long gone from here. As we wander back through the valley, we take in the waterfall and the woods of Glendalough with its stunning shades of green.
Daniel Day Lewis and his family live close by, and once again I’m reminded of his good taste when it comes to movie roles and real estate. I love something he said for an interview with The New York Times as he was looking down from the mountains – “It’s easy to love humanity when you’re this far away from it.” Daniel Day Lewis notwithstanding, Glendalough remains one of the most beautiful spots I’ve ever been.
On the way back to the city, we stop to take in Dublin Bay and the red Poolbeg Lighthouse at the end of the South Wall Walk. Yes, Dublin has a beach and it is surrounded by a power generating plant. The juxtaposition of the beach, water, and the towering red and white smoke stacks is like something from a dystopian novel. We walk out on the long jetty to the famous lighthouse that was built in 1767. I can’t believe all of this exists so close to the city and I can’t believe I’ve never been here before. Andrea and I are so happy that our friend Helen, who is a Dubliner heart and soul, has shown us this new snapshot of a city that was born from water. When we finally make our way back to the car, Andrea and I sign Helen’s map on the spots that we’ve visited to mark and remember the day that we once spent together.