Weather at 1630 hrs: Dry, overcast.
Air Temperature at 1630 hrs: 14.6 C
Pressure at 1630 hrs: 1010 hPa
Wind at 1630 hrs: 42 kph
The Silver Explorer docked in Dublin exactly on time at 0600 hrs. Due to the visit of Her Majesty the Queen to the Republic of Ireland, security and crowd control measures meant that we were unable to carry out our planned Dublin City tour and so most guests opted to go on an all-day tour to the Wicklow area. After an early disembarkation at 0730 hrs we drove through some of the most interesting scenery in Ireland – bleak, stark granite outcrops in a wild bracken covered countryside that was strangely beautiful.
Our first stop was at the medieval monastic settlement, now abandoned, of Glendalough, its only connection with its past being a mass said there once a year. Of particular interest was an excellent example of an Irish ‘round tower’, or Breock, many of which are pre-Christian and were probably originally used as watchtowers, and then converted by the Christians into bell towers.
After a brisk walk round the lough, or lake, we departed for an excellent lunch washed down by the national drink, Guinness stout, thick and black, in a nearby hotel before once more boarding our coach for a visit to Powerscourt.
Originally an Ascendency estate overlooked by a Georgian mansion, the Powerscourt estate consists, from our point of view, of around 50 acres of woodland, formal and informal gardens.
Tired but happy our guests returned home at 1530 hrs and at 1600 hrs the Captain weighed anchor and we sailed for Islay, Scotland.
The day’s education was completed in fine style by a fascinating lecture by our Botanist, Dr Hans-Peter Reinthaler.
Recap followed at 1845 hrs which, in addition to a briefing on the following day’s activities, covered Gaelic Scotland, medieval Christianity and Anglo Irish relations, before the by now usual magnificent culinary spectacular by our executive chef and his excellent team.