The Fabulous and Honorable (well, she works for a judge) Holly S recently spent a week in this Fair City. She arrived on Saturday morning (Oct 11), and after a short respite at Chez Gunter, we whisked her north into County Meath to visit Newgrange and Knowth. This was Bill and my second (successful) visit to Newgrange and it was just as fascinating on repeat viewing. Standing in a room built over several generations 5000 years ago (which conveniently fills with light on the winter solstice) is a singular experience. Plus, the surrounding countryside is pleasantly green and sheep-covered. After the neolithic site we dropped by to visit the crosses at Monasterboice. Holly has a vague memory of driving back to Dublin and eating Indian takeaway that evening.

Sunday we headed south into County Wicklow for lunch at Avoca cafe, a stroll through the woods at Glendalough and a drive through the Wicklow Mountains. Holly was getting into the Ireland groove by this point and declared that you just can’t find such natural beauty only 30 minutes from any major city in the US.

On the way home, we stalked some sheep.

Monday, Holly and I rode the Dublin Tour bus and visited the Kilmainham Gaol. Tuesday started out pretty soggy as we headed for the Museum of Decorative Arts and Irish History. Once we were safe and dry at the museum, we had a lovely afternoon and learned all kinds of stuff. The one fact I remember is that Balbriggan, a town north of Dublin, used to be a center for hosiery manufacturing, and cotton long johns were called Balbriggans.

Bill met us in town Tuesday night. We were searching out Irish food and tried the Carvery at O’Neils. It was okay. The Guinness and Bulmers were tasty, however.

I worked Wednesday morning and Holly had a bit of a lie in. She met me for lunch and then we spent the afternoon shopping. We were going to visit Leo Burdock’s for a fish-n-chips dinner, but the afternoon turned rainy and chilly, so we decided to return to Raheny and try a chipper closer to home. We’d heard good things about Soprano’s in Kilbarrack, a short drive in the car. Not quite as memorable as strolling the streets with a piping hot cod from Leo’s, but it was decent fish enjoyed in the comfort of our own home. On Holly’s last day she visited Malahide Castle, and then we met her for a lovely dinner in Malahide.

It was great having my longtime friend here for a visit. In her short six days, Holly experienced sunny spells and chilly rain, ancient ruins and modern city buzz, serious shopping and serene countryside. A very successful trip!

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