We woke to not only our last day in Kilkenny at Martin’s house, but also our last full day in Ireland. We ate up the last of our food for breakfast, made our sandwiches, packed our bags, straightened up the house and headed off.
Our first stop was not too far away, the Dunmore Caves. They were formed some 350,000 years ago and were found when the surface ground finally collapsed. They’re known not only for the various caves but for an event from the year 928. A marauding Danish Viking came from Dublin wanting to gather all the local riches and men as slaves. When they reached the local ring forts the older people, the women and children hid in the caves. Unfortunately, the Vikings chose to light fires at the opening of the cave system, which ended up annihilating all those hidden.
We were able to see a number of the different cave areas, walking down 350 steps. We saw formations that were given fun names over the years, a cathedral space and other unusual spaces. Our guide, Peter, gave us information about the caves, stories related to the caves and stories about other local notables.
Once back up the 350 stairs we drove on, heading for the Wicklow Mountains National Park. We crossed the mountains over the Wicklow Gap and made our way to Glendalough, the Glen of the Two Lakes. We found parking by the upper lake and walked over to enjoy the view. The lakes are in a lovely valley, which also gave us an opportunity to see a waterfall across the valley as well as another one we could walk up a short path to see.
By then we needed to start on our way north toward Dublin. We drove through the narrow, but scenic roads of the park, going across Sally Gap. Before we knew it we were on the motorway around Dublin. We had reserved a hotel room near the airport to make things easier in the morning for returning the rental car, taking the shuttle to the airport and flying onward. The kids needed some time at the hotel to sort their stuff between their backpacks and the extra bag of travel stuff. Luckily for them they have a friend in Edinburgh who will let them stash the extra bag at his place while they hike.
So tomorrow we go our separate ways after traveling together for almost five weeks. The kids are off to Scotland to hike and I’m off to Denmark to see family.