Monday, October 22nd
I slept for 12 hours! I woke up and spent the morning out on the veranda while Sarah got ready. It was a beautiful day. Nice, sunny, bright and a little cool. Perfect for exploring the grounds! We had slept through breakfast, but didn't care. Reception called us to let us know they had a porter ready to pick us up from the lodge when we are ready to bring us to our Castle room. So after a very leisurely morning in the room we were ready to be brought to the Castle! We said goodbye to the lodge & the same guy who portered us yesterday helped us with our luggage & brought us straight to our new room. Whiling being driven through the Courtyard our driver helped explain how we would get to the forest paths of Dun A Ri (A place I was eager to visit and walk through). Afterwards we followed him up through the Castle to our new room. He exchanged keys with us and we went into Room #33 to see what it was like.
When you first entered through the door there was a small hallway with a writing desk, then your turn left into the main bedroom. Decorated with antique furnishings there was an old dresser with a TV (never watched it) a sofa and lounge table with floor lamp, a table with 4 chairs and a bottle of water. The beds were warm and soft like in the lodge room and we had a separate closet area with iron, coffee maker, dresser, shelf and clothes rack. The bathroom was HUGE! Complete with a claw foot tub and stand up shower, it was bigger than my bedroom back home! At our window there was a built in seat which was lovely to sit at and admire the country side and listen to the birds who lived on the castle turret next to our room.
After a little unpacking, we explored the castle a bit. This place is so mazing. Tons of stairs everywhere. No shortage of portraits hanging on the walls, and the statues and old furnishings where everywhere. They had Autumn inspired decorated tables scattered throughout in the main building. We went into different rooms and took a look at everything we could. After exploring, we made our way to the Derby Bar for our first meal of the day.
We settled down by a windowed table for two, & placed our order. I got a cup of tea, the soup of the day (Curried Parsnip = best soup ever), and a Caesar Salad. It was pretty yummy. Perfect food to fill up on for our nice long walk. While we were enjoying our lunch I noticed a new posting from Cabra Castle on Instagram (yes I follow them). The post was "Oscar is out in front of the Castle enjoying the sun this morning." Oscar is the resident Irish Wolfhound that I had yet to see. I dropped my fork and raced outside to see him. He is stunning & regal. On the way back into the castle, I struck up a conversation with the ladies at reception and they proceeded in telling me how to get to Dun a Ri. They were extremely helpful. I went back into the Derby Bar and finished lunch with Sarah and then we went up to our room to ready ourselves for our afternoon walk.
Monday, October 22nd - AFTERNOON WALK
Dun a Ri Forest Path
Cabra Castle has a long private drive called 'Cabra View' lined with old oak trees. Along the drive is also a cow pasture beside a creek. Once we got down to the end of Cabra View we walked down R179 a bit to get to the pathway entrance and short cut to get to the forest paths. Here is a rough map of our route this afternoon. The castle also has a 9 hole golf course which we walked through. They have a really pretty deer statue halfway down the drive. So there was a lot to see on our way to the forest which was very nice.
Here is the description of the Park from their Official Website:
" Dun a Ri Forest Park forms part of what was formerly the Cabra Estate which was owned by the Pratt family. Legend stretches back to the time of Cuchullain the Gaelic warrior who rested in these woods while fighting the armies of Queen Maeve of Connaught. The O’ Reilly family owned the lands up until the end of the 16th century when they were acquired by Thomas Fleming who built Flemings Castle . The ruins of the castle can still be seen in the park. The estate was acquired by the Pratt family and they built the town of Kingscourt in the years 1760-1770.The lands were acquired by the Irish Forest Service in 1959 and were developed into a forest park in the early 1970s.
There is a great diversity of wildlife in the park.
The flora is varied and in many areas spectacular. The tree storey is dominated by oak and ash but includes many other species often with an under storey of hazel, holly and rhododendron. The ground is, in season, carpeted with a rich layer of plants including snowdrops, bluebells, wood anemone, woodrush, foxgloves, wood sorrel and a wide range of ferns.
Walking is a great way to experience the delights of Dun a Ri while also benefiting both physical and mental health. Set your pace to suit your enjoyment and you will quickly feel fitter and better.
There are a number of beautiful sculptures within the park. "
This was when we took the same path back towards the castle. I loved this forest. I really want to go back and walk it again. Maybe I will go back to Ireland in the future. Well... when I do, I will make it a point to get here again.
Monday, October 22nd - GETTING BACK TO THE CASTLE
Looking forward to dinner and beer! This was a nice relaxing afternoon.
The best first day so far in Ireland!
Monday, October 22nd - DINNER
This restaurant is so pretty! We dressed up and got our table and started off with a bottle of Red and some hand-made bread. Yummy Buttered Rosemary Seasoned Buns to start it all off.
We got the 5 course meal; Bread, Starter, Soup, Main Course, Dessert and Coffee.
- I ordered the Deep Fried Brie with Cumberland Sauce, & Braised Red Cabbage for my Starter.
- Then we got the Hand-made Soup of the Day which was Wild Mushroom.
- My main course was the Char-Grilled Supreme of Irish Chicken, with Chorizo & Cheese Stuffing, presented on Mushroom, Garlic & Mixed Pepper Sherry Cream (I picked off the Peppers, but still yummy).
- My Dessert was the Raspberry & Pistachio Parfait.
We finished off with Freshly ground White Coffee. Sooooooooo Goooooood!!!
It was a great meal, filling! Which is needed as we had to fuel up before going Ghost Hunting!
Monday, October 22nd - GHOST HUNTING
It was nearing 11 pm and we went out exploring to see what sort of spooky things we could find in Ireland's most haunted Castle to tell Sarah's kids, and my niece about!
It was fun looking for some scary things. There were flickering lights, and a dark spooky ballroom but we didn't see much else. We finished the night off with a drink in the Derby Bar and headed up to our beds to finish off the day. Tomorrow we check out from the castle, and make our way into Dublin!
- 31 weeks Smoke-free!
- 6 days until my hike with Team Diabetes at Wicklow Mountain !!!!!!
- We are in a Castle in Ireland!!!!!
Thanks for checking in!
I will be posting 7 more blog posts.
Colleen lives in Arnprior and is working to control her Type 2 Diabetes by training and Fundraising for the 2018 SSE Airtricity Wicklow Mountain Hike in Ireland with Team Diabetes.