Traveling out of Dublin City once more, we arrived at a farm in Glendalough. I think this is one of the most memorable moments of the trip as we got to see a sheepdog herd in the flock by the subtle commands of the owner. It was so interesting to witness the amount of loyalty and training the dog, Bruce, had to do his job just how his owner wanted. And the owner’s son, who must have been a couple of years younger than me, was giving a historical background and interacting with the audience. From what I could tell from the family’s story, this business with sheep is hard at this time with only working part-time, especially in terms of wool, as there are cheaper alternatives that are more popular. Yet, in order to pivot with the trends, they have opened their farm to tourists like us, so that we can witness how shepherding really works and get a history lesson of its livelihood. They even let visitors hold a baby sheep and pet the dogs. This visit was a great example of how tourism can keep another industry alive by sparking outside interest and investment in a commercial light.
Our next stop was at the beautiful Glendalough Lakes. We took a walk through the cemetery, with very old graves of locals, and saw the remains of a cathedral and other buildings. Past this, we walked down a trail that led us to the lakes. The mountains in the background looked surreal, as if it was the backdrop to a movie. Luckily we got down there early, because as we began walking around, more and more tourists arrived. They had snack vendors in a nearby parking lot as well. Overall, I found our time here still very peaceful, with perfect weather as well, and I would love to come back and hike further trails around the area.
The final stop of the day was to the “city” of Kilkenny. Our driver joked that it could hardly be called a city by its size. He truly had the wit of an Irishmen, making the drives much more enjoyable. Anyway, the first thing we saw was a grand castle that overlooked a charming garden. After spending some time walking around there, a group of us went to a local café for lunch. Unfortunately, we did not have that much time left to explore the town further, and since today was a Bank Holiday, many of the stores were closed. But walking around you could really tell the great appeal of the town, with its quaint features, including various shops and restaurants. I found it interesting that on the same street, there were three Antique shops in a row, all of which were full of customers upon entry. Again, I’d like to come back and take more time to explore Kilkenny, despite its small size, because it still has a lot to offer.
In comparison to the other sites we’ve visited this weekend, there is certainly a common theme, and what the Irish are seemingly known for. Tourism. In a place with such a rich history, it’s an opportunity that cannot be passed up, to not only spread awareness of the culture but economically support it. By combining the tourism industry along with restaurants and retail businesses, a town can be thriving with visitors that come with revenue. Personally, I highly recommend visiting Ireland, both Dublin, and the country, because they are both so beautiful and have such unique landscapes that offer so much to experience.