Daytripping: Cliffwalk from Greystones

We are very fortunate that one set of G & C’s many aunts and uncles are touring musicians. This means no matter where we live, they come through eventually. We don’t see them for stretches and then we’ll have a few days to pack in family time. It also means G & C can readily identify banjos but not guitars.

When Abby and Bela were here, S took the day off so we could go hiking in the morning while the boys were in crèche. Ireland has stunning hill walks and hiking, but the two very short humans usually with us + plunging cliffs is not a good combination. This was our first hike, south of Dublin along the eastern coast of Ireland.

After driving the wrong way through a roundabout exit (close enough to see the stunned expression on the other driver’s face), we made it to Greystones. There’s probably a bigger metaphor/life lesson about roundabouts (traffic circles for you in the U.S.) and the fact that if you miss the exit, you can always go ‘round again that I’ll leave that for you to unpack. Then again, Abby told us about a time she was driving with a band mate and spent fifteen increasingly nauseating minutes circling in a roundabout until their friend rescued them.

The Cliffwalk at Greystones trail head was a bit difficult to find; the marina is under construction so after parking and checking in with a local pub, we maneuvered along chain link fences until we found it.The first part is flat and wide, and then there’s a gradual incline as you go towards the headlands.

Many people enjoy the two-hour walk from Bray to Greystones (or Greystones to Bray) by starting in one village and then hopping on the DART train to return.

The DART tracks. When I was in college, we took the DART down the coast south from Dublin to Dalkey. It was a very cheap way to have coastal tour.

Not suitable for the boys yet


Though there is a path the entire way, there are some narrow winding steps on parts of it and the loose stone footpath would not suit a stroller.

I believe there's an upper trail as well as the one we walked

I was so excited to spot this rainbow that I nearly knocked Abby off the trail

Family time

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Grand Canal Theatre and a glimpse of the Dublin Docklands

We can’t thank Jerry and Jill enough for thinking of us and giving me a reason to leave the cuckoo’s nest of parenting last week. Jerry was in town with Alison Krauss and Union Station, and they played the Grand Canal Theatre. It was also a wonderful excuse to see a bit of the Docklands area, which had money poured into it during the Celtic Tiger years, much like the resurgence in Brooklyn’s Columbia St. Waterfront and Gowanus Canal areas. It is an interesting area of Dublin, where the Grand Canal empties into the Liffey River, which divides the city into north and south.

The Grand Canal Theatre. Parts of it remind me of L.A.'s Disney Hall, but the stage area is quite different.

The Samuel Beckett Bridge.

The Dublin Convention Center. Its lights change at regular intervals and reflect off the inky river.

The Dublin Wheel. Beyond it, the river winds it way to the port and out into the dark harbor. The boat all lit up houses a restaurant where Sascha and Jerry ate pre-show.

The sold-out show was fantastic. The band received standing ovations. Their tour buses were headed out later that evening, bound for Glasgow on the ferries. So after the concert ended, fittingly, we headed over to the Ferryman Pub.

Amid the gleaming glass and brushed steel and bright lights of the Docklands revitalization project, the Ferryman is a relic.

Rumor has it that the owner believed he would be shut down and kicked out during all the new construction, so he started giving away the pub's memorabilia. Like many things people say here, I'm not entirely sure it's true but it's a good story.

The Ferryman feels like everything a pub should be at this point in Ireland’s history. A young band was shoved up in corner, playing traditional music and the line to the bar was three people thick at every turn. Poured Guinesses sat atop awaiting their settling. It was crowded with suits, hipsters, old people and young people. It was low-ceilinged and lively, and we even ran into Maura’s sister and her husband.

They remembered going to NYC for their honeymoon and my father-in-law driving them through Harlem. They also remembered young Sascha had posted a sign (as part of his campaign for getting his parents to quit) reading, “NO SMOKING. LUNGS IN ACTION” and so they hung out the window of his room on 76th and blew smoke into the NYC air.

Here's something for you CT folk.

Thanks again, Jerry & Jill. And as for Samuel Beckett, he’s probably rolling in his wormy grave, but I think this is pretty solid advice for motherhood: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”