After our overnight flight to Dublin had us arriving in the early hours (both body clock time and local time), we gave in to our desire to sleep away the first part of our first day, but then we emerged re-energized and headed out for a short walk along the Royal Canal to shake the cobwebs out. The Royal Canal Way is actually a 49 mile long towpath/trail alongside the canal stretching from Dublin to Cloondara in County Longford, but we only walked a mile or so west from Castleknock train station for our first outing.
The next day John helped me reacquaint myself with the area by accompanying me for a walk to the Phoenix Park. Sadly, he wasn't up on the current state of greenway construction along the Royal Canal heading east toward the city, so we only made it a short ways before hitting the closed and gated off area under construction. When you've been away for 20 years, you are no longer a local! Good news, however, is the greenway should be complete soon, and will make for a lovely way to head into, or out of, the city.
Despite the diversion onto footpaths on nearby streets, we found our way over to the park and had a nice stroll there, followed by lunch at the Boathouse Restaurant at Farmleigh Estate, a former residence of the Guinness family, but now the official guest house for the Republic of Ireland. When not occupied by visiting foreign heads of state, the gardens and house are open to the public. After a warming coffee and bowl of soup, we wandered around the grounds a bit more and then made our way back home.
|A swan at home on the Royal Canal, near the Castleknock train station|
|Fear Rothar on Sli Rothar|
|Love the traffic lights!|
|Reflections at Farmleigh|
|Monkey Puzzle Tree at Farmleigh|
Armed with online maps and the knowledge that I had miles of nearby walking opportunities in the park and along the canal, I kept myself quite busy while John and his brother, David, headed out cycling over the next week. Look for a post from John soon about this! (I will keep pestering him, I promise.) In the meantime, you can check out his great photos on instagram, google+ and flickr.
And thanks with our awesome free International data plan from T-Mobile, I was able to use my phone's GPS, maps and camera a lot over the next two weeks to both find my way around and document my travels. I mapped out walks on RideWithGPS and used a cuesheet app on my phone to help me navigate, along with Strava to track it. Indeed, the camera on my phone saw lots of use as I snapped pictures along the way. Twitter and Instagram followers may have already seen some of these photos. My first day out on my own, I headed out toward Chapelizod, and explored the southside of the park.
|The always knowledgeable Matt Roy informed me this interesting growth is a disease called Witches Broom|
|Gas lighting lines the main road through the Phoenix Park|
I had a few more opportunities over the two weeks we were in Ireland to get out to the park, and sunshine continued to defy the reputation of a rainy Ireland.
|Another grey day :-)|
|The Wellington Monument|
Stay tuned. More posts to follow on my walks along the Royal Canal, the River Barrow, the Hill of Tara, as well as John's long anticipated posts on his cycling adventures...