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Posts Tagged ‘Ireland’

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The classic view of Powerscourt looking down the immense staircase and across the gardens to the Wicklow mountains beyond.

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There are wide lawns and formal gardens at the foot of the first part of the great staircase.

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Formal rose gardens are set into the lawns on either side of the grand path.

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The roses in these gardens were all either red or yellow.

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Down another great set of steps, the large water lily covered pool is viewed through the symbols of Powerscourt, two winged horses.

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The shell of the grand house of Powerscourt as seen from the far side of the pool.

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Looking down into the ‘Japanese Garden’. It has some features of Japanese garden design but is very much a European garden.

A small rill and several small waterfalls are a feature of the “Japanese Garden’.

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Another view looking down into this garden showing the Japanese style additions.. The view changes dramatically depending on whether you are down inside the garden or up on the edge.

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Light and shade on the trunks of a grove of trees in another section of the garden – reached after a long climb up a hill in the park.

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The long perennial borders in the walled gardens.

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Evening or English Primrose makes a splash of colour in a predominantly green border. This may be seen as a common plant but the delicacy of its veins are beautiful.

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As in most gardens we have seen, various types of geraniums are used as bed fillers in the long border gardens – each flower delicate and beautiful.

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In amongst the more common plants are specimens like this prickly Eryngium.

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Hydrangea villosa originates in China and is not the common garden Hydrangea. It’s totally deciduous and almost tree-like in form and flowers from late summer into autumn. It can withstand hot, dry conditions but, like us, was not so happy in the wet of this Irish summer!

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This beautiful blue plant was unknown to us – and unlabelled in the garden.

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The previous photo was just of the buds. Following our friend Ross’s clue that this was probably  a species of anaconitum or monkshood or maybe its a delphinium / larkspur.  I checked my photos again and found one with buds open. Together with the leaves shown in the previous photo it may be possible to make a more definite naming.

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The sky – note the BLUE – and trees helped to set off the view of one end of the walled garden with its small pond.

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Back on the house level is a formal garden – the ‘keep off the grass’ variety!

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And on this level is a fairly extensive rose garden growing against a high and sheltering wall. The perfume was heady and at last some roses to really enjoy.

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This rose has an apt Irish name – Whiskey Mac.

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Back to the lawn in front of the house – the views are expansive of park and skies.

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One of the features of this garden is the statuary.

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Another, more classic view, of the gardens and the Wicklow mountains from the front of the house.

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One of the less famous statues in Powerscourt gardens – a smaller, reflective style rather than the large brash ones used to make statements throughout this large park style garden.

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And in quiet out of the way corners there is evidence of age and decay – such a huge old garden takes an enormous amount of maintenance.

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A rain storm seen approaching over the cafe wing of the house sent us scurrying to put on our wet weather gear yet again and leave the gardens for a dry area – the plant nursery out near the car park.

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Powerscourt has a fine nursery and garden shop – oh to have been able to take home some of these ready made hanging gardens! We have seen these in so many places throughout Ireland as people take great pride in their villages.

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Choosing what we would buy if we could was fun. I loved this Hydrangea called ‘Bela’.

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A small growing Cockscomb or Celosia called ‘Intenz’ was another favourite.

But no, we could look but not buy – and we will just take home our photos and our memories of a good day visiting this immense garden / park estate at Powerscourt near Dublin in Ireland.

J and A

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Today we are in ‘The Burren’, just south of Galway in western Eire.

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The Burren is one of the most fascinating parts of Ireland. It’s a huge limestone plateau of shattered rocks where many rare plants and flowers grow. It may look like a barren and stony wasteland in places, but if you take the time to stop and explore like we have been able to do, it’s a place of  fascinating geology, a paradise for looking for wildflowers like the ones below. I haven’t named them all properly yet but will do so when I get home again.

Harebell

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A meadow orchid

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Road through the Burren

It’s amazing how quickly you move between areas of the burren plateau to farm land that has been wrested from the rocks. The roads are narrow, windy and very uneven – to meet a bus on this road is a bit of an adventure !

A Burren platform of rocks

There are several areas of burren rock to explore – carefully – as it is very uneven.

A tiny rock garden

And tiny bit of soil between the rocks is likely to become a small natural rock garden.

Fissure – or grykes – in the rocks.

These platforms of rocks are split in many ways into grykes, making walking across them a little tricky.

A tiny garden like this in a fissure makes the exploring worthwhile.

Poulnabrone Portal Tomb on the Burren

This tomb was built 150 meters above sea level over 5,00o years ago !

The remains of more than 30 people have been found on and around this site on the Burren.

Fences in this area are made of the most available product – rocks!.

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A wide view across the Burren Plateau.

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Rock Garden

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Early Purple Orchid

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Herb Robert growing in a crevice in the rocks.

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Ferns

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Moss in a damper crevice

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Growing by the side of the car park.

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Bright face of a buttercup

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Thistle

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This section of the plateau shows how the rocks split over time.

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As the rocks recede into the distance they take on a purple hue.

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We are thoroughly enjoying exploring this fascinating part of Ireland.

J and A

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Another note or two before we leave Switzerland:

Wine Tower at Radisson Blu Zurich Airport

Our hotel, the Radisson Blu, was right inside the airport terminal. It was so quiet in there you would never know that a very busy airport was operating day and night around you. Our room faced into an inner courtyard that was dominated by a wine cellar ‘tower’ which we watched from our room in fascination. As diners ordered their wine, a young lady high wire artist emerged from the floor of the tower and, as she twirled up and down the tower doing her acrobatics, she would select the bottle of wine and bring it, via her trapdoor, to the waiters. The lighting in the tower also changed colour. Quite a work of installation art.

Another observation: the train line underneath this enormous airport services many parts of Switzerland. It’s a through line. We took a train into the city but could have gone to any of a number of parts of the country.  It’s a real rail hub… and great idea. It’s all part of the service – not a private, expensive extra like our Sydney airport line.

En route to Ireland from Zurich, we had two more flights – the first to London.

View over south east England from plane

The view over south eastern England was great – cliffs by the sea, green farm lands and towns and cities. We flew along the Thames River, over Kew gardens and down to that huge hub of airplane travel, Heathrow, pulling into BA’s hub at Terminal 5.

‘Follow the purple signs,’ we were told. After what seemed to be miles of walking, we eventually came to a door where we were to wait for a bus to Terminal 1. With only three passengers, our lady driver took us on an interesting but  circuitous route under tunnels and through site works to what must have been the original airport. We thought T1 might not be as big as the other terminals. BUT that was a real mistake. The irish Airlines, Aer Lingus, has its own hub right at the end of a long series of tunnels in T1 and our gate was number 83. We sure did our daily walk through airports at Heathrow.

Just one of the endless walk tunnels – the only one with a travellator to ease the walk

Lots of standing around and waiting when we got to Dublin … sim phone card, heritage cards and car pick up being the end results of the waits.  After several attempts at getting a sim card, we finally found a delightful young man who couldn’t have been more helpful. But the wait for the car was interminable. People dithering at the hire desks. We had ours pre booked but it appears that something happened to our assigned car from Thrifty and they had to do a deal with Europecar for us to get a car.. a chevrolet – a much larger car than we had requested. And by that time it was rush hour and we had to hit the roads and find our B&B and that meant following a tangle of narrow roads and lanes – welcome to Ireland.

And that, Sandy Hills B&B is in a small village of Rush, by the water.  Mary, our hostess gave us a warm welcome – and a pair of socks to wear when in the house. Mine were fluffy brightly coloured striped ones and A’s were spots – at least we wouldn’t be tempted to take them with us!  (Mary also wore what appeared to be a throw away cotton shower cap when she served food!

The Harbour Bar at Rush – our first irish Pub

She gave us directions to the Harbour Bar for dinner. To get there we had to drive right through the village with its many hanging baskets full of flowers.  It was a relief to find that the pub was smoke free with smokers either out in the beer garden  – or on the street.  And finally, it was so good to sit in a local and have a fresh cooked fish meal served by a delightful young Irish lass.

Low tide at the tiny harbour at Rush, Eire about 9.00pm

Because it’s summer and the sun doesn’t set until late, after dinner we were even able to have a wander by the tiny harbour where the fishing boats were high and dry on the mud at low tide.

The beach at Rush on a summer evening.

It was lovely to smell and see the sea before we finally crashed into bed to sleep… to the sound of RAIN!

It is Ireland – the Emerald Isle – and green requires rain.

More anon    J and A

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