Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Avoca, Glendalough, and Sallygap

At Avoca Mills, Ireland's oldest operating textile mill; all this yarn goes into

This big machine, culminating in the fabric on top...

The Glendalough Monastery in the distance

Chapel and round tower at Glendalough

Some of the Wicklow Mountains; we were not blown away

Saturday we did the wash at the campground, 10 Euros ($13), and then drove out to Avoca, for lunch and to see Ireland's oldest still-running textile mill. It was impossible not to buy something you saw coming right off the loom. From Avoca we drove to Glendalough, a ruined monastery that dates from the 6th century. It reached its height in about the 13th century and then declined as the Normans took over and imposed their structures and people. A surprising amount of the old buildings are still around, including the round tower, and there are all the stories about St. Kevin....

We wanted to see a bit of the Wicklow Mountains, so, after Glengalough, we drove the Military Road as far as Sallygap, and then back down another valley. OK, they are not the Alps. They are not exactly the Appalachians, for that matter. I suppose they must get more attractive when the heather comes on. There is occasional conifer forest, matched by conifer clear-cuts and conifer slash. We proceeded on.

We camped a second night at Red Cross. It was a memorable evening. About 2 in the morning, the drunks started arriving back at their encampments. One was right next to us, a few feet away, a lovely couple from Waterford (so the car decal said) who fought and fornicated in their full outside voices well beyond the wee hours. Bad sex is better than no sex, as they say. Anyhow, I shall never again think of Waterford in quite the same way. It was the May bank holiday, and “part of our culture, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,” as was later explained to us.

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