The next day of our Ireland trip was Sunday so we found a congregation for our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) (check out the Church's official website here) in Dublin and went to worship with them. We left the house about an hour earlier than necessary to get to church on time (Read: we tried to make it to the earlier church service but were too late so had to go to the later one haha) so we stopped at the Malahide Castle en route and walked around for a couple minutes. It was really cool, definitely exceeded our expectations! A beautiful castle with incredible, extensive grounds and gardens (much more impressive than Dublin Castle haha) We determined we would have to come back again to explore longer.
Awesome castle, but even more striking is the lawn! Everywhere we went in Ireland was just green, green, green. So pretty.
No green lawn in this one, but you can see the castle better.
It started out originally as one square tower, the very central section, and was slowly added to over the centuries.
Interesting tidbit, the last owners (descendants of the original Talbot family who were given the land by the King of England) a brother and sister, never married and had no heirs to inherit, so after the brother died, the sister couldn't afford the inheritance tax, sold the castle to the Irish State, and moved to somewhere like New Zealand or Tasmania where her family owned a sheep farm (details are a bit foggy haha, I just thought it was interesting how the fate of the castle and its owner turned out). And now it's a well preserved sort of museum.
I didn't realize until after we took a tour the next day that the windows in this photo are from the Castle's Oak Room, one of the oldest in the castle with magnificent view of its front grounds.
Picture by the castle stairs, she thought they were pretty cool.
So did I haha.
Pretty old church yard right next to the castle.
Rose-y wall with an electrical box and a Claire.
After exploring the castle grounds for 15-20 minutes we left to find the church meetinghouse. Once there we decided to stay for the full three hour block of meetings instead of just Sacrament Meeting like we sometimes do when traveling. We didn't really have much else planned for the day so figured we might as well stay and get our full church worship in. It was a great ward(congregation), and the kids loved their primary classes. One of the Primary teachers told me they usually only have 2 primary kids so they were thrilled to have our kids visiting (and actually 3 or 4 other children visiting that day as well!) That made me glad we had decided to stay, to help excite things in their primary just a bit.
This is the sign post for the church. In English and Gaelic. Side note, loved seeing the Gaelic words everywhere, all the road signs and everything had both. It reminded me a lot of the elvish language in LOTR. Maybe Tolkein's inspiration? But who am I to assume anything about that man and his incredible mind #greatestfictioneverrrrrrrr.
That child did NOT want to hold still for a picture.
"A Wah. A Wah. A Wah."
Translation: I want to walk. Meaning I don't want you to hold or touch me, I want to run free and go wherever I want.
Tryin to be all artsy with that gorgeous fuschia!
After church we drove about an hour south of Dublin to a place called Glendalough, which I'd read about on a travel blog (AspringKennedy.com). I liked the sound of it because it was very nearby and sounded really beautiful; an old ruined monastic village nestled in low, wooded mountains with a couple of lakes within walking distance, which, fittingly, Glendalough actually means "Valley of two lakes". The monks had built a huge, cylindrical bell tower as a part of their complex which we told the girls was Rapunzel's tower (It seriously looks just like her's!). Jane was convinced we would find Rapunzel inside and had mixed emotions about it as we got nearer to it; kind of scared and kind of excited... but mostly scared haha. Eventually we told her it wasn't real and then she calmed down a bit. It was an incredible place. So so so green and lush and just really beautiful. I was kind of heartbroken that my camera's battery ran out right as we finished the trek to the ruined village from our car. The iPhone camera is pretty impressive, but it really just can't compare with a quality camera (not that mine's even that great or that I really know what I'm doing - I'm just playing around with a nice toy haha). And the scenes we were viewing were so spectacular, they deserve to be documented better. Sad sad. I was a fool and right before our trip I checked my camera's battery life, which was still 3/4 full so I figured it would last for our short trip and we wouldn't need the charger (soooooo dumb). Of course when I turned it on after arriving in Ireland it was magically down to 1/4 battery life. Always Always Always bring the charger, that's the moral of my story.
Anyways, Glendalough was beautiful.
There's the top of "Rapunzel's Tower".
Poor Claire took a tumble at our Airbnb, she tripped on Alice's rain boots, which she was wearing (go figure), fell to her knees and her face, along with all her body's momentum, smacked straight into the corner of the wall, the sharp cornered baseboard. Ouch. That bruise one stuck around for a while. We joked that she could be twins with her friend Minay now (shout out to you Mari! haha) because sweet Minay is a little energy ball, constantly moving and tumbling and scraping and bruising, but so tough I've hardly ever seen her cry.
The novelty of pushing makes it fun for her :)
Climbing on a ruined wall.
Beautiful old graveyard right around the bell tower.
I was loving the Celtic designs on all the gravestones.
Skipping down the lane to the old schoolhouse/church?
I asked Jane how she would like to live in a place so dark. Thick stone walls, hardly any windows. She said she'd like it, but I don't believe her.
Lots and lots of old, old stones.
It started raining a bit just in time for our walk out to see the lovely lakes.
Two thumbs up.
But actually the rain didn't last long, and we were under tree cover most of the way.
Plus the walk through the forest was SO beautiful I don't think any of us cared. I regret that I didn't take any pictures of the walk through the woods, only the destination. It was so green, so lush, so beautiful. Alice and I were convinced it was a fairy forest and I kept her entertained by trying to find places that would make good fairy homes, waterfals and streams that would make good fairy showers, leaves for shelter from the rain, etc. etc. etc. She ATE IT UP. I actually had a fun time doing it too haha, took me back to my growing up years full of enchanted forests and fairy tales.
This was our destination.
So hard to get everyone looking at the same time.
Max started skipping rocks so naturally the rest of us started doing it as well. Claire's attempts were by far the cutest and most hilarious.
More animal smiles!!!
I'm guessing these are the bunny.
Maybe a squirrel?
No idea for this one haha.
We reluctantly dragged ourselves away from the gorgeous lake to walk back through the enchanted forest and begin the drive home. We stopped at a Domino's pizza to pick up some dinner and while Max was inside I noticed this funny juxtaposition:
Another beautiful day in Ireland.
Glendalough was amazing. I felt really transported, into another century and another world. So so pretty and peaceful and removed.
That evening we watched the movie Leap Year and it was really fun to watch it and point out a bunch of things we had seen in Ireland and around Dublin, including a few scenes that I'm sure were at Glendalough!
One more day in Ireland to catch up on and then on to other things.