On our last full day in Ireland, my sister and I wanted to visit County Wicklow, south of Dublin. So we signed on for a RailTour.
We had a wonderful day -- and we enjoyed the company of QUITE the cast of characters: our taxi driver, John (who sang an old Irish tune along with an instrumental song on the radio, thought we were from Virginia - no matter that we explained where we were REALLY from, and warned us repeatedly about the dangers of traveling in crowds) (yeah) to our tour guide, Paddy (seriously) to Dave (just a guy on the train from County Wexford who was eager to talk about American politics with Real Americans). All of the people we met in Dublin were wonderful. Friendly, welcoming, helpful, and really interested in conversation. It was so refreshing.
Our first stop was someplace I'd really looked forward to visiting . . . the Avoca Mill.
The Avoca weaving mill has been around since 1723. The sheep farmers around Avoca Village became known for their woven blankets -- and especially for the bright vegetable dyes they used on the wool.
These bright colors became Avoca's "signature."
We had a tour of the mill, and got to see all aspects of the weaving process in action.
It was all quite fascinating -- and their weaving is just gorgeous.
We did a bit of shopping after the tour (I got myself one of their throws -- this one -- and it is just lovely), and ate lunch in the cafe.
Everything about Avoca was Just. Charming. (Apparently, a television program - Ballykissangel - was filmed in the village of Avoca. Another set of sisters on our tour were Big Fans -- and headed into the village instead of the mill. Neither my sister or I had ever heard of the show before. Apparently, it is a Big Deal in the UK and Australia, though.)
It was a perfect first-stop on our day-long trip to County Wicklow.