If you stay in Dublin, be sure to book ahead. I was calling most places I stayed at the day of, at some point in the afternoon as I never knew where exactly I would end up. In Dublin this was a silly idea as I spent a good hour on the phone trying to find a place with an opening without spending an arm and a leg. Turns out between transit strikes, water protests, and an all Irish football final, it was going to be a busy weekend!
The day started off with a quaint foggy morning in County Wicklow. Funny enough I wasn’t awake for more than 20 minutes before stepping into a bunch of stinging nettle with flip flops. Good morning.
The Dunmore Cave was the attraction to see this morning. It was discovered when a portion of the earth caved in and present this massive chamber. Dunmore contains only about 400 meters of passages and at its deepest point descends about 46 meters.
There is apparently a lot more to be discovered but as it is not a protected area, no caving is permitted so we may never know truly how far it goes. Large cracks in the rock can be seen running the length of the rock. It is apparently safe…. So they say.
It is hard to get a perspective on its size, but the large chamber is so huge you could fit a small airplane in it. A portion of the roof caved in which resulted in the large cavity. A large calcite feature located at the end of one of the passages is called the Market Cross due to a distinctive cross shaped column. It is almost six meters high!
A large amount of silver and copper-alloy items were discovered in the cave through various archeological digs dating up to 1999. Depending who you ask you will get a different story on its origin. The most chilling is that of 928 AD. Vikings from Dublin set out to attack a rival Vikings in Waterford.
Over 1,000 people, mostly women and children, allegedly fled into the cave for safety. The Vikings, who chose not to pursue them into the unknown darkness, lit large fires at the entrance hoping to force those hiding inside to flee.
The fires were so fierce though that they used up all of the oxygen in the cave which resulted in the massacre of over a thousand people, many of which suffocated to death.
If they were caught they would have most likely been sold to a life of slavery so it could have been a blessing I suppose.
Winter tires are not common in Ireland so as soon as you start gaining elevation there are typically warning signs for ice. On the way through the Wicklow Mountains I came across an electrical power station of sorts. It didn't look overly inviting so I did not pester them.
The Wicklow Gap has a history of lead mining dating back 150 years. The villages used to be complete with schools and buildings for the workers and children.
Glendalough is a monastic settlement founded by St Kevin in the 6th century. The present remains, tucked away in Glendalough are only a fraction of its once bustling self. The monastery used to include various workshops and areas for manuscript writing and copying, farm houses, and guest houses for the population and monks.
The Powerscourt Waterfall is Irelands highest waterfall at a height of 121 meters. While positioned in the beautifully maintained Powerscourt Estate … it loses a little bit of magic once you realized it is fed by a pipe under the road that passes up overhead and isn’t nature made, still neat to see though.
The Pyramid of Dublin, locally known as the Wishing Stone. If you walk around each level and then stand on the top, facing St Begnet’s oratory on Dalkey Island, and make a wish, it will come true!
I didn’t realize how fast the tide comes in at night until almost being stuck 20 meters out at sea… I was taking this photo at about a 90 second long exposure and when looking back through the preview the water level was rising about a few inches on each exposure! When I realized it was lapsing at my feet it was a mad stones hop back to shore! I don’t swim well… I’m more of a drowner than a swimmer.
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