We’ve been waiting a while to see what happened on day two and I’m sure it will have been worth the wait! We’d had an action packed day and night in Carlow and the Sunday was all about taking it easy on the outskirts of Carlow town!
The Woodford Dolmen Hotel.
We started the day on what was an exceptionally beautiful morning in the The Woodford Dolmen Hotel; there was a lovely note left to us by the hotel team and a box of candy that we’re still getting through today! We popped into the restaurant and had a hearty breakfast to kick-start us for the day and I have to say that besides serving up an amazing breakfast, the team are an absolute pleasure; everyone smiles and has a kind word (which is much more important in the mornings than people realise). After breakfast, we took a walk around the hotel’s fabulous grounds; bathed in the sunshine, the grounds behind the hotel is picturesque with a sloping hill dotted with beautiful benches and seats, a gentle river complete with a family of swans and other water birds.
The beautiful grounds surrounding the Woodford Dolmen Hotel.
The highlight is a stunning red bridge that rises and falls steeply over the river. It’s the type of place you could sit in all day and indeed there were a few people lying in the sun around the grounds… they had the right idea! I loved every moment of our stay in the Woodford Dolmen Hotel and as a place to stay for a night or two in Carlow that’s not quite in the town but not quite far away, this is the place for you!
Karli (left) and Laura (right) enjoying the Altamont Gardens.
After checking out, we were joined by Laura Kavanagh (the one and only) as we explored the outskirts of Carlow! Our first stop was the Altamont Gardens; the definition of an oasis of calm. Walking around The Altamont Gardens can be comparable to reading the pages of a bright and colourful storybook!
The Peacocks walking proudly around the gardens!
From the moment you walk in, you are greeted with splashes of barely controlled colour in neat rows, surrounding trees of all kinds; willows, oaks and most I have no idea what they’re called (I should as they all have their names on them) all I know is they’re beautiful. There’s a couple of peacocks walking proudly, proclaiming their ownership of the gardens. At barely one in the afternoon, the grounds (acres upon acres) were filling up with people strolling around, some taking pictures, some sitting quietly looking over the lily pad lake…
The spectacular gardens where you could walk for miles.
We walked through groves, under boughs, over rivers and lakes and around tree roots. We had an adventure with no end and you know what, it was the perfect way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. With a friend or two or on your own; on a date or just a good time, the Altamont Gardens has something special about it… Karli even picked up a plant from the store for her dad!
We took another trip after leaving the gardens to Duckett’s Grove, the site of a great-restored family house. You can see it from ages away as it dominates the landscape. Today it is home to a number of craft stores owned by local people who perform their crafts for the love of it. There’s a place dedicated to knitting, stained glass and wood burning. There was however, one place we were looking forward to more than any other. We’d heard so much about the Tea Rooms at Duckett’s Grove and its head chef, owner and all around happy person Madeleine who had done so much in telling people about our trip to Carlow town!
The Tea Rooms in Ducketts Grove.
We sat down to a colourful table in the terrace as the sun shone down over us. We had chai lattes, Americanos, and teas as we talked about nothing in particular. Madeleine made us a lovely ‘high tea’ (my first ever high tea) and it was just delicious!
The afternoon tea at Ducketts Grove 🙂
We took our time here as we had chats with Madeleine and it soon became clear that she’s loved by everyone for miles around! People we’d met the day before were here for tea or just to say hello to her; the positivity and enthusiasm she has for life is infectious! After tea we took a walk inside the house itself and explored its little areas with wild plants growing through it and ran our hands over the cool stones.
With the sun going down and the time to head home fast approaching, we made our way to the Brownshill dolmen as you had told us it was a must visit!
Karli (left) and Laura (right) underneath the Brownshill dolmen.
The walk to the dolmen is long but beautiful; there are sweet smelling plants we spent the best part of an hour trying to identify. We ended up ruling out about thirty plants before giving up! Arriving at the Dolmen, we were in awe. It is absolutely massive! You can only wonder at how it was placed in the location over FIVE THOUSAND years ago! The capstone itself weighs over a hundred tonnes! We took a walk around and underneath the stone as we wondered what weird and wonderful things took place here thousands of years ago! As we walked back to the road, I started to think back over the time we’d spent here in Carlow. I really did enjoy it way more than I ever think I would and there were so many highlights that I couldn’t possibly choose one. On the relatively short bus trip home to Dublin, I smiled more than I probably should have thinking of the friends we made and the fun we had. As always I can’t wait for the next instalment of #TrailsOfIreland!
You can experience all of what Carlow has to offer from only €16 return?