Yesterday we had to say goodbye to Aaron’s dad and stepmom, Grace, who met us for four wonderful days in Dublin. Right on cue, the skies turned gray and the rain came down. Needing to get out of town, we rented a car and headed towards Adare (a small town near Limerick) for our next house sitting gig. As we drove it only got darker and darker. *sigh* Then, finally, out of nowhere, a slice of blue sky! The tiniest sliver of light on a most dreadful day. Follow that exit!! Without any kind of plan we got off the highway and gave ourselves 20 km to find something good. You know, like a snack – we were both starving. What we found was Birr Castle glowing on an incredible fall day. Our very own moment of serendipity here in the land of four leaf clovers.
This is the Birr Castle. Built in medieval times, it passed hands repeatedly until it was “granted” to the Parsons family in 1620. They have occupied it continuously since then! Can you imagine living in the same house for 500 years?
THE SUSPENSION BRIDGE
Apparently the Parsons were some big-time self-taught engineers. They designed this marvelous bridge and built it in their workshop around 1810. It’s the oldest steel suspension bridge in Ireland.
The Parsons decided a 72 inch telescope would be a nice add. Being engineers, why not build it themselves? It was designed and built between 1841-1845 before being restored in 1997. For over 50 years it was the largest telescope in the world! It’s still occasionally used.
There were gardens of all sorts, formal and free-form, terraces, rivers, lakes, and waterfalls.
A few minutes before dusk we finally left as we had a house sitting assignment to get to after all. Thanks to the incredible change in weather and this luckiest of random stops we were once again happy and excited to be on the road. We are reminded that stumbling onto, and into, the unknown makes for the greatest of adventures.
Wow, beautiful! But what about the snack!?
Ohh, not to worry – there’s no missing of snacks in this family!
Wow that was magnificent!!!
Wow. What a lovely day on the castle grounds! Aaron looks so much like his father! I like the name Papa Barr!
Aaron and PapaBarr do look just alike. I always tell Aaron I expect that he will age handsomely!!
Darn, I saw the castle and was sure it was your next pet sit. Five hundred years is a lot of history for the current Earl to carry on his shoulders. Loved the bridge and close-up of the steel. Hope Aaron was kept away from tools to use on it. The telescope is pretty amazing. Glad your good fortune continues.
Wouldn’t THAT be an amazing house sit? Might be awfully cold, though – they don’t have a lot of insulation in those old stone castles…