A Week in Wicklow – Part 6: Exploring Southern Wicklow

Who Needs Signs?

Lots of rain overnight meant that we weren’t keen to rise early…again! So we had another slow start and a nice bacon-and-eggs breakfast/elevenses. Yummy! There wasn’t much in the plan, and the weather was possibly unpredictable weather, but expected to clear, so we again went for something with an indoor element – at least to start with.

Sally had been wanting to check out some Irish crafts, so we headed off to Avoca’s Handweaving centre, which we’d passed earlier in the week. Our (by now indispensible) Ordnance Survey of Ireland, 1:50,000 scale, “Explorer” maps allowed us to take some fun, minor roads, and Sally was getting pretty good at navigating! Who needs signs?!

Once there, surprisingly, you can just walk right in to the small weaving factory and walk around. There are a few boards explaining what’s going on, but it was weird just being able to wander about while people sat preparing and operating both manual and powered looms, weaving fine cloth. Bizarre, but quite interesting.

It was a much quicker trip then we thought it would be, even with a trip around the almost-as-expensive-as-Powerscourt shop. So we quickly committed to doing a few more Geocaches as we headed towards Brittas Bay.

Three Bickerson’s and a Beach

Learning from yesterday, we’d logged on and checked the cache logs before leaving, and found nothiing to put us off. We easily picked up Barron in the Sky, Ballymoyle Hill and End of our Drive – with much thanks to “The Bickersons” for placing easy-to-find caches in some great locations with some great views across the eastern coast that we wouldn’t otherwise have seen. Our aim was to do Brittas Bay, near the South Car Park too, but the 4 Euro for the car park seemed a bit much for a short visit.

A bit further up the road, the North Car Park had the barrier up, so we parked up and had a highly enjoyable half hour or so on the beach. I did all the stupid, manly, show-off things that one does: skimming and throwing stones; dragging the lovely wife into the sea (paddling only); hand stands; and generally larking around, while she enjoyed my silliness and captured the scene on…err…what now passes for film. On reflection, 4 Euro would be good value if you wanted to spend half a day, or a few hours, on a beautiful, clean, sandy beach, manned by lifeguards, which is virtually deserted on a sunny day in mid-June.

An early finish meant home for tea and toast, leftover curry for dinner, and a chilled out evening. I could quite get used to this holiday lark.

The Ups and Downs of Geocaching

Reflections on today: Geocaching has been sometimes frustrating and sometimes fun, but we are still learning, and it’s enabled us to get out to some places that we wouldn’t otherwise have been, and seen some good bits of history and some beautiful places. It’s a good way to tap into locals’ knowledge of where you can see interesting stuff!

The “Green” side of us finds that it does involve a lot of driving though. We’ve tried to pick caches near to places that we’re going anyway, but it’s often involved going out of our way to find places. We’ve tried to walk as much as possible (one other good thing about Geocaching is that it gets you out walking) but perhaps cycle-caching would be better and worth promoting!

We’re actually wondering what we’d have done this holiday without Geocaching. I’m sure we’d have found places to see and things to do, but it’s certainly prevented us stitting around in the cottage and doing nothing.