Hellooooo! Have you missed me?! It feels like ages since I last blogged. We got back from Ireland yesterday and I've spent today catching up with various bits and bobs, including a morning in school would you believe?! I needed to get myself sorted out ready for the off tomorrow morning. Now I'm settled with a mug of tea, I can tell you all about the goings on of the past 10 days!
We spent the first couple of days in Dublin, but were fairly lazy as Mr JK needed to rest his legs prior to the marathon. Also, I was struggling to get over a heavy cold and cough, so was more than happy to take things easy. We did a little walking and said 'top of the morning' to Molly Malone. If I'd had a spare scarf, I'd have given it to her. She'll catch her death dressed like that!!
My credit card was rather naughty and went on a little spending spree. I visited two yarn shops - This is Knit and The Constant Knitter - and bought yarn that had been dyed in Ireland. A lot of it is going to be for gifts, but I wanted a couple of souvenir skeins to remember this holiday. Feast your eyes on this little lot! Which one is your favourite?!
After visiting the Marathon EXPO (think Ally Pally but for runners!) on Saturday morning where Mr JK picked up his race pack and I did some carb loading by sampling lots of the energy bars, we drove down to County Wicklow. We were staying in a small village near to Blessington. Blessington was a delightful town, with everything you needed including a bookshop/cafe/yarn shop with wifi which was to become a regular haunt during our stay. Our home for the week was a converted cattle shed close to the shores of Blessington lake.
It really was in a very beautiful setting as the following photos show. Lush green fields, hills and lots of sheep!
Race day dawned on Monday (a Bank Holiday in Ireland) and we drove into Dublin bright and early. There was a real buzz in the air and the city was full of runners. I left Mr JK so that I could get a spot near the start, and walked almost half a marathon during the day as I went around the city to cheer him on! Can you spot the man dressed up as a leprechaun in the second photo?! (Not Mr JK, I hasten to point out!!!)
Mr JK finished his first ever marathon in 4 hours and 20 minutes! He was brilliant and I am just the proudest person in the world. He was running for CLIC Sargent and has raised £1140 so far to help children with cancer. He loved the whole event and has already booked his second marathon!!
The day after the marathon we were both lazy. I had managed to share my germs with Mr JK and we were both coughing well! (He actually ran the marathon dosed up on Lemsip!) A complete change of pace and feet up (in handknit socks, naturally!) was the order of the day! We did venture into Blessington for tea and cake, but that was about the extent of our activity.
On Wednesday, we drove through the Wicklow Gap down to the town of Avoca. The landscape was quite bleak and eerie with the low cloud.
You might remember the BBC series Ballykissangel which was filmed in Avoca. We visited the mill which is the Ireland's oldest weaving mill, dating back to 1723. The colours of the blankets are just beautiful. We were able to take a tour around the mill and see a little of how the fabric is woven. I can see why they are so expensive!
The following day, we went up to the north of County Wicklow to visit the seaside town of Bray and the Powerscourt Estate. It was a truly magnificent house and we thoroughly enjoyed walking around the gardens.
On our last day, we stayed more local, visiting Russborough Hall and stretched our legs walking around the estate. This was followed by a last visit to the bookshop for tea, cake and wifi!! It's hard to pick a favourite cake from the week - there were many!! I did eat some 'to die for' Rocky Road made with Mars Bars, Maltesers, Crunchie bars and marshmallows. Oh. My. Goodness!! So, so yummy! And believe it or not, despite my daily cake fix, I actually lost weight this week! I clearly need to make cake part of my regular diet!!
Yes, I did manage to do some knitting too! Huzzah! I'll tell you more about that another time. I think I've gone on long enough for today! There are loads more photos in my Flickr album here if you're interested! Have a good week! xxx