Monday 1 February 2010


I just got back from Ikea. I thought about writing a blog post about my trip but, to tell the truth, it was really unexciting.
I bought no furniture, no tea lights, no herrings.

So much better to tell you about the mini-break en famille we had this weekend, to celebrate my mother (Rattdl) and little sister’s (she-nonymous) birthdays, oh, and to give me some belated Christmas-style togetherness. In our family this translates to lots of food and wine, some singing, a mountain walk or two and rapid-fire, point-scoring conversation. (We find this highly entertaining - sometimes I fear others may not appreciate it in quite the same way.)

We went to Carlingford, a small town on a sea lough, about an hour north of Dublin, just this side of the border with Northern Ireland. The weather was beautiful: sunny, cold, clear, with some snow on the hills and amazing views of the Mountains of Mourne.

First order of the day when we arrived was to climb a mountain. The mountain we climbed was probably Slieve Foy, but over the course of the walk, one hill merged with another, so it was hard to tell.

We walked up from Carlingford, through laneways, fields and marsh.

It got progressively steeper (as mountains are wont to become) and left little puff for conversation.

But finally (though, I’m ashamed to say, two members of the party peeled off before the final ascent to go to the pub) we made it to the top. This is about 600 m above sea level – it doesn’t sound like that much until you remember that we climbed all the way from exactly sea level. We had wonderful views: we could see the Isle of Man and Scotland, as well as way into Co. Down.

And then we went to the pub to thaw our toes.

TOMORROW I will be back with a story that illustrates the benefits of having a former distiller as a father. You won’t want to miss it!


  1. Where Mary, the rose of Dungloe, sweeps down to the sea?

  2. Yes, exactly - and the Star of the County Down lives in Dublin's Fair City, Mary, which is a wonderful sight all the way back to Ballyjamesduff.