Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In Search of Roots: A Trip Through Ireland and Great Britain
Part 5 - A Near Miss in County Wicklow

Map of southern Ireland showing our route from Dun Laoghaire through Brittas Bay, Glendalough, Cashel to Kinsale

After we left the ferry,(A) it was a short, easy drive to Brittas Bay (B &E) and the Balinclea House, where we were met by Mrs. Doyle, the owner. I had informed her of our quest of find any Case relatives in County Wicklow. She immediately called up a Mr. Walshe, who spoke to my wife on the phone. He had known the Cases in Glen of Imaal. Mr. Benjamin Case had passed on, but Mrs. Case still lived near there. With this information, we thanked Mr. Walshe and Mrs. Doyle and left for Arklow (C) to obtain some Euros at the bank and and then on to Glen of Imaal (D). We had a beautiful ride through the Wicklow countryside and came to a crossroads which contained the Knocknarrigan Post Office and the Glen of Imaal Store.  There were some women parked outside waiting to pickup school children, and a truckload of soldiers drove up to buy some drinks at the store.
Ballinclea House in Brittas Bay, County Wicklow

Glen of Imaal Store where we received some information
Stone wall on a County Wicklow back road
After awhile, Pat spoke to the store proprietress and a mother who had picked up her children. Yes, they knew Mrs. Benjamin Case. All we needed to do was to go back up one of the roads until we came to a bridge on the right, turn across the bridge and follow the road past some new housing and we would reach Mrs. Case's house. That seemed simple enough, and we took off up the road. We found the bridge and turned across it, so far so good. However, there were a few intersections that we hadn't counted on and we tried to pick the obvious road leading out. We did pass some new houses and kept going. Finally, we decided to ask directions from there. We stopped at a house and had the misfortune to encounter a lady who had just had some problem with her teen-age son. When we asked about Mrs. Case, she said that she was new in the area and didn't know her. We could go down the road and ask directions at a house with a yellow car out front.  We arrived at that house. It had a "killer" dog in the yard, and nobody around to answer the gate and hold off the dog.  At that point we called it a day and headed back to Brittas Bay.

The GPS program wanted to take us back by the most direct route. This meant straight across country.  We ended up on at least one road which was just two tire tracks with greenery on both side. Finally, between the GPS and a little knowledge of the area, we ended up on N11 north of Brittas Bay.  We turned south and got off at the Birttas Bay exit.  Right at the exit is Jack White's Restaurant, the only eating establishment in the area.

Brittas Bay Beach on the Irish Sea
After a long and somewhat harrowing day, we stopped right there for dinner and a couple of beers.  We then drove the two miles back to Ballinclea House and tucked ourselves in for the night.  We had come very close to meeting one of Pat's relatives, but had not made the final connection. We both felt (later) that with a little more effort we might have been successful. Pat thought that she probably could have paid one of the ladies at the store to lead us there.  Of course, Mrs. Case may not have been home or may not have wanted to see us. Pat later wrote a letter to Mrs. Case which remains unanswered to this day.

Because the information about Knocknarrigan/Glen of Imaal hadn't surfaced until shortly before the trip, and I thought that the relatives, if any, would be in the immediate Brittas Bay area, I had allowed only one day for that visit. Actually, the early ferry had given us the time for the expedition described above.  

County Wicklow Landscape Panorama
The next day we decided to move on with our schedule. For breakfast, Mrs. Doyle gave us a choice and I selected pancakes. They were the best pancakes we had on the trip, freshly made and hot off the griddle. We then left to start the day. Our first stop was the Brittas Bay beach on the Irish Sea. There was a nice beach park with restrooms which were available, but no one else there, as it was too early for the lifeguards and swimming.  We looked around, took a few pictures of the beach and dunes and moved on to our plan for the day.
Inside the Cathedral at Glendalough

St. Kevin's Church and Tower at Glendalough
Our next overnight stop was to be the town of Kinsale. On the way we wanted to visit the sites of Glendalough  (F) and the Rock of Cashel (H) . Glendalogh is in western County Wicklow.  It's an old monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin and destroyed by the British in 1398.  Complete information about Glendalough can be found in the Wikipedia at http://bit.ly/9adBJS .  It was cloudy and showery while we were there, so I took most of my pictures in HDR mode.

Cathedral at the Rock of Cashel
After visiting Glendalough, we crossed through the Wicklow Gap to the county of South Tipperary to visit The Rock of Cashel in the town of Cashel, is one of the most spectacular and most visited tourist attractions in Ireland. A short discription of the Rock of Cashel from Wikipedia follows: The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion. Few remnants of the early structures survive; the majority of buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries. Cashel is reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century. The picturesque complex has a character of its own and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe.  The full description is at http://bit.ly/Pl1Lu.  There is a lot of climbing to get to the level of the buildings and so Pat stayed in the car and I went up and took the pictures.
Tower at Rock of Cahel

After leaving the Rock of Cashel we went on to the town of Kinsale (H)  to spend two nights before proceeding on to Kenmare and The Ring of Kerry.  More pictures of our visit to County Wicklow and the Rock of Cashel are at http://smu.gs/pR0WGE.

No comments:

Post a Comment