Ireland day 0220. Friday 06 May 2022- Farmleigh

Ireland day 0220. Friday 06 May 2022- Farmleigh
Today’s summary Spent the morning dealing with tax and car matters, then went into Dublin to walk through Phoenix Park to Farmleigh OPW.   Lovely, green, and very wet.
Today’s weather Dry to start with then heavy rain from mid morning with occasional sunny intervals.   Brighter with showers in the evening.   Very little wind.   About 14C
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of my route)
Close-up location
(The green line shows where I walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Farmleigh via Phoenix Park
(NB the GPS failed in the middle so this is a compound track made up of the beginning and end which recorded correctly, and a bit I added in via Garmin Basecamp in the middle to join them together)

The weekend after next, I’m leading a walk in the Cooley hills for the Dublin Walking Club so I had set aside today to do a recce, to make sure the route was still in good order.   But once I had got up and Val had headed off to work, I first needed to do some more research on tax, and also try and discuss with the garage how to get the exhaust sorted out.   I didn’t make much progress on the latter, so put it in the “too difficult for now” box and will come back to it next week.   But I am slowly beginning to understand tax, and am starting to get my head around what we have to do, and when.   Hopefully it might not be too hard (famous last words).

Anyway, needless to say all this was rather draining so I needed to have a cup of tea and a biscuit afterwards, then before I knew it, it was already almost noon.   So my plans to go up to the Cooleys – a good hour’s drive away – were thwarted and I started to think about what the alternatives might be.   After a bit of deliberation, I decided to go back to Phoenix Park and to explore the OPW site at Farmleigh – at the western edge of the park.   Val and I hadn’t had time to look at properly at it when we were there a couple of days ago and I thought it looked like it merited a return trip.

I made an efficient connection by DART and Luas, so was at the entrance to Phoenix Park on Conyngham Road by 1:30.   I didn’t mess about following the perimeter path, like last time, but walked straight up the middle, along Chesterfield Avenue, almost as far as the Castleknock exit on the western edge.   It’s a good 4km / 2.5 mi through the park but once you reach the Castleknock end, it’s only a short further walk through the fine gated entrance to the Farmleigh Estate.

I really like Phoenix Park and in many ways, Farmleigh is its crowning glory.   Although it’s not strictly part of the Park and it’s managed separately by the OPW, its wide areas of grassland and avenues of trees continue the theme.   By this stage in my walk, though, it was absolutely tipping down and I was soaking wet (but glad I had decided against the Cooleys – as they would have been absolutely horrible on a day like today).    I badly needed to find somewhere to shelter and dry out for a bit and fortunately my luck was in, in the form of the Boathouse Café, where I treated myself to coffee and cake.   Well I did need something to warm up.

I had a quick look round the grounds – by bypassed the house tour this time – and it was absolutely stunning.   You might think that a heavily overcast day with pouring rain would be the worst possible time to visit but actually I’d say it was one of the best.   For one thing, the rain and the spring daylight had caused everything to burst into life, and the vegetation everywhere was absolutely lurid emerald green.   And for another – there was hardly anybody there.   It was a real privilege to be able to walk around the walled gardens and neatly manicured lawns – as well as the quirky art galleries in a cowshed round the back – and to have the whole place to myself.   I loved it.

But time was marching on, so once I’d got the feel of the place and decided that Val and I must come back soon, I headed out and retraced my steps back through Phoenix Park and on to the tram stop.   Then once I made it back to the flat – a swift journey as all the connections worked perfectly and I caught a fast train, there was a surprise awaiting me in the post-box.   A credit card!   I had no idea that it was on its way and indeed the last correspondence I’d had from the bank had led me to believe that I needed all sorts of impossible-to-find proofs of identity – including a medical card – so I’d more or less give up on it.   Anyway, someone somewhere must have decided that I didn’t look too shady, so now I can go ahead and take the waiting out of wanting, as they used to say.   A good end to a great day!


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Dinner time!   If you ever wondered why all the trees in Phoenix Park were neatly cut off along their bottoms about a meter and a half up from the ground – well now you know. As I was sheltering under a horse chestnut tree having my lunch out of the rain, I looked up and saw these rather horrible scaly things about 5mm long on some of the branches above  my head.   I didn’t know what they were and for a moment worried that they might be pupae of the leaf-mining moth which is devastating conker trees in the UK at the moment.   I looked them up when I finished the walk and discovered to my relief that it is actually Horse Chestnut Scale Insect, Pulvinaria regalis, which is said to be unsightly but harmless.   Phew.
Here I am, under the scaly tree The view from the front portico of Farmleigh House.   As usual, the OPW have done an excellent job of making the while thing look fantastic.   The lady on the front door asked be if I wanted to go on a tour of the house’s interior but as I was clad in waterproofs and soaking wet, I didn’t feel as if I really met the job description, so I turned it down.   Farmleigh was built by Edward Guinness (great grandson of Arthur, founder of the eponymous brewery) in the 1880s.
The clock tower, at the western edge of the grounds.   It was built in 1885 and is 58m / 190ft tall Round the back of the house are two art galleries – real hidden gems.   The curator of this ceramics exhibition in the Cowshed gallery told me that I had increased his footfall by 100% today
In the Farmleigh Gallery itself is another exhibition – this one apparently is about Romanticism and Friendships.   The art was nice to look at but rather lost on me I’m afraid as I’m a bit of a Philistine in these matters.   But nevertheless it was nice to be dry for a few moments, and to have the whole gallery completely to myself
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 12308 m
Max elevation: 68 m
Min elevation: 4 m
Total climbing: 94 m
Total descent: -96 m
Total time: 03:11:16
Download file: Farmleigh complete synth.gpx

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