12 June, 2011

A Lovely Irish Day

Weekends are wonderful. Last weekend was a bank holiday in Ireland, making for a lovely three day weekend, and it was magical. 
V and I went for a coastal drive and were blessed with the most perfect weather possible. It was quite warm, but coupled with a nice cool breeze, making a beach walk absolutely necessary. 

Beaches. Ahh. My favorite. Many of my childhood memories involve one beach or another, so it's only natural that I feel most carefree on the beach. I love the wind and the sound of the water. I adore hunting for treasures and creatures, even thought they're usually dead. It's still neat to see what lies beneath those pretty waves.

We came across a bunch of beached jellyfish. I've never seen them with color in them before. We played it safe and made extra sure not to tread upon them, out of respect and also not knowing if they were poisonous. 

I know it may be weird, but I just love the way seaweed feels on my feet. There were plenty of tidal pools that the sun had warmed to the perfect temperature for wading and exploring. I made sure to slather on the sunscreen as thick as possible but I'm sad to say that that glaring white is the natural color of my feet and everywhere else.

After our wonderfully refreshing beach walk, we rolled down our car windows and enjoyed a wonderful coastal drive. It was wonderful to witness the scenery of Ireland on such a glorious day as this.

We saw this sign for the Bog of Fenor and just had to stop for a look. What is Ireland without a bog?

It was hot, but the smells of the plants and mud really added to our experience. It was so peaceful and beautiful. There was a manmade path leading us throughout the bog with little signs along the way describing the history and all the types of flora and fauna that reside in this natural habitat.

After we enjoyed the bog, it was time for the main attraction. The John F. Kennedy Arboretum. Actually, we were heading to the JFK Arboretum in the hopes that we'd see the Kennedy estate. A man at the gate said that this was just an arboretum, and thinking that we were mistaken about the Kennedy estate, we decided that this would be our new destination. We paid our entrance fee and began our self-guided tour of the arboretum.
There were so many different kinds of trees and plants!! I mean yes, it is an arboretum after all, but I guess I just didn't know what to expect. It was great!

Giant sections of the park were dedicated to specific types of trees. I really enjoyed the Maple section, and was surprised to see so many varieties of maple trees, let alone learn that many of the ones I am familiar with originate in Japan.

V was a huge fan of the Oak section. As a wood science and technology engineer, there was so much for him to enjoy. Touching the bark, smelling the freshly hewn trunks, rubbing the leaves, and absorbing as much of the tree-life as possible.

He's so handsome...
...albeit a bit scruffy. <3

Here is a beautiful division of trees. I'm looking up at a small forest of beech trees on one side of the path, and a small forest of cedar trees on the other. I really enjoy the different colors of their leaves and how they're so different but equally beautiful.

Hmm... choices, choices...

It's hard to choose a favorite section, really, but the eucalyptus trees were quite impressive. The way the bark was peeling away from the tree, and the scent of it all... was amazing. This was a very fresh smelling area of the park, to be sure.  Gorgeous!

When the sun began to set, we decided to head home. On our way out of the park, we saw a sign for the Kennedy estate. HA! Even though it was late, and the estate would be closed, we decided to drive by it anyway. Just to see.

In the end, we decided that we enjoyed the arboretum much more than we would have enjoyed the Kennedy homestead. If you showed us a lineup of typical Irish cottages, we would not have been able to differentiate the Kennedy estate from them.

It was a superb day and just the right amount of "vacation" to get us through to our summer holidays!


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