Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Mount Usher Gardens and Finnstown Castle Hotel

Last Thursday and Friday we took ourselves down to Dublin for a wee break. We got a very good deal at the hotel using a scheme run by one of our local supermarkets. Before going to check-in to the hotel we paid a visit to Mount Usher Gardens where we had a nice walk round.

We had to cross this bridge over the river. You can see the warning notices that were at both ends of the bridge; no jumping allowed on the bridge! Just walking across the bridge made it bounce so I didn't spend too long on it.

I didn't photograph everything; just a few of the trees and plants that I thought looked unusual.

This cherry tree was blossoming in early December.

We came across this little pet cemetery.

There were quite a few plants flowering. This one was very striking.

After our walk we just had to visit the Avoca Garden Cafe for some refreshments. The carrot cake and coffee were delicious.

We did a bit of shopping though mainly just looking round some lovely shops such as the Avoca shop at Kilmacanogue. Then we headed to our hotel, the Finnstown Castle Hotel, just outside the picturesque village of Lucan, to the west of Dublin. We were very impressed with this place!

There were several peacocks and peahens strutting around the grounds. Sorry it's not a very good picture.

While we were there I took the opportunity to start knitting my Aran coat. The wool is from New Lanark Mill shop; actually 90% wool and 10% silk; the colour is Forest. It's the same yarn I used for my bag (see here and here). My still-hasn't-been-lined-or-got-handles-attached bag! Anyway, back to the coat. I knit the first six rows in garter stitch and then I was supposed to change from 5mm to 5.5mm needles. Arrrghhhh!! I hadn't brought any 5.5mm needles with me. Fortunately I had brought some of the King Cole tinsel yarn and owl pattern with me. So I started an owl. To be honest though, I was totally loaded with the cold and didn't feel much like knitting anything. By the way, since coming home, I accidentally pulled the needle out of what I'd managed to knit of the owl and had to rip it all out. There's no way you can pick up stitches with the tinsel yarn! On the bright side though, I've managed to knit quite a bit of my coat.

On the Friday we drove to the Dundrum Centre where we parked and took the Luas light rail/tram to St. Stephen's Green in Dublin. We wandered round the shops and really enjoyed looking in Brown Thomas especially. Gorgeous but extremely pricey! We ended up in the lovely Powerscourt Centre to have coffee. Oh look. We must have had some biscuit cake as well. You won't believe it, but we were seated right outside a yarn shop for our coffee!! They had needles too, so I bought a pair of 5.5mm wooden ones.

We then returned to Dundrum on the Luas and browsed some of the shops there. Hamleys is a favourite of the husband's. Just a very relaxed day. That evening we had a fantastic four course dinner in the hotel. Free! It was part of the deal we had. The food was really, really good.

So that was our wee pre-Christmas treat. Thoroughly enjoyable. I hope you enjoyed it too. It's great to see I have another few followers and I'm still delighted to read your comments. I've also found some our your lovely blogs to follow too! All the best for now.


  1. Wow, amazing pics! Looks like you enjoyed some great days there! : )
    Btw, I LOVE that coat you're making, and the colour you chose, too! Can't wait to see it finished! xx

  2. What a lovely break, so peaceful looking in your pictures.
    Your knitted coat pattern is stunning, really very stunning, I love it, hope you have fun with your new pattern.

  3. It both looks and sounds as though you had a wonderful time - apart from your cold! I hope that is better now. The gardens are very beautiful aren't they and amazing to see the cherry flowering at this time of year and the other flowers too. The poor plants are very confused aren't they. I am glad that you got away and enjoyed yourselves so much! xx

  4. What a beautiful, interesting place to visit. I really can't get over the tree blossoming in December, it must be very mild there this winter. I hope you feel better soon.

  5. What a wonderful treat! I have been in Dublin in 1994 and I think it is time to go back! I love New Lanark Yarn, it is local and good value, too. The coat looks very nice but I don't think I would have the stamina to knit such a large piece of clothing.... I look forward to seeing it finished. Lovely hotel, too!

  6. That looks and sounds like a wonderful short break. The gardens look stunning but I wouldn't fancy going over that bridge, you're braver than I am. I've found myself in similar situations with missing knitting needles, it's such a pain when you don't have what you need to hand, but the pattern is fabulous and I look forward to seeing your coat once it's finished.

  7. What a lovely vacation - I could feel the calm and quiet coming at me for the photos
    I could go for that carrot cake just about now :-)
    Amalia xo

  8. Looks like a perfect week end.
    One for the memorybooks.
    Have a nice evening.

  9. Hello Gillian

    What an amazing break, the gardens look so peaceful and serene and remind me of Fountains Abbey (National Trust).
    The poor plants are definately in turmoil, and I could eat a nice piece of your carrot cake.


    1. Yes, we've visited Fountains Abbey - really beautiful.

  10. You are knitting a coat?! Wow, you are amazing! I didn't know one could knit a coat, but I like it very much judging it from the photo on the pattern. That hotel and the gardens look gorgeous and I'd very much like a look around the Avoca shop, I love their stuff. x

    1. I have several old (possibly vintage) coat patterns that my mother bought. She made quite a few of them though never one for me. She made me lots of other thing of course. I was very tempted to make one of the coats from an old pattern but then decided it might be best to buy a new pattern. The shaping is different, especially with the sleeves. I started with a front to see how I got on. It's working up quite quickly (about half a front is done now) but I think I'll need more wool.

  11. Hey Gillian,
    What a nice shots. The shot (3) of that small bridge is so fantastic.
    A wonderful room in that great hotel.
    Nice that figures in the coffee. So funny!!

    Kind regards,

  12. What a lovely place to visit, Gillian, your trip sounds great. The coffee and cake looks delicious! Your knitted coat pattern is gorgeous, it will be so lovely to wear and I am sure is enjoyable to be knitting too.
    Helen xox

  13. It was nice to read about Dublin. One of my colleagues is originally from Dublin, still has family there and she often talks about it. Nice to have some pictures and anecdotes from your time there.
    The fact that you found yourself in front of a yarn shop that stocked 5.5 mm needles is the universe telling you that you must make that coat!
    Your comments above about coat shaping are interesting because the first thing I noticed about it was the modern, flattering shaping of that coat and the textured pattern looks lovely and warm. It will certainly be a statement piece that will turn heads when you wear it. Beautiful.


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