Today was going to be a pretty relaxing day, we thought. My dad suggested we go to Bray. It is an oceanside village in the next county, Wicklow. We headed out about 10:30am and drove to Bray. It has a long pier that stretches around a grassy cliff that is called Bray Head. It was a little windy and chilly, but soon the sun came out and it was really nice. We will post some pics we took very soon. We walked the length of the pier. I was reminded of how my family and I used to drive 20 miles each Sunday to meet in the upstairs of a pub called 'The Hibernia Inn' for church, right at this pier. The church had just opened a branch in Bray and rented a room in this building. It was such a small branch, maybe 12 people including my family of 6. I remember the special spirit that was in that room as we met each Sunday and partook of the sacrament and listened to new members bearing witness of our Savior Jesus Christ. Meanwhile there were people drinking and smoking in the pub below. The Hibernia Inn is still there. There is a Bray Ward now and they have their own building. The church has really grown here in this part of Ireland.
When we left Bray, we headed for Arklow, about 15 miles away. It is a little village that was founded by the Vikings in the 9th century. It has a main street, with little shops and pubs along the way. We parked the car and walked down main street, all downhill. We found a little souvenir shop on main street. They had Irish jewelry, T-shirts, tons of little nic-nacs. Lucas found a rugby shirt there, which he had been looking for. Gavin chose to buy a diesel truck. Tyrone bought a gun. Surprise, Surprise! We had talked about finding a baby braclet for Niamh, while we were here in Ireland. Jewelry is very expensive, so we were not too optimistic that it would happen. We happened to find a really pretty gold baby bracelet. The store was able to engrave her name on the braclet also. It was not as expensive as we expected. Luckily it is expandable, so it can grow with her chubby wrists.
We were tired and hungry by the time we got back to the car and headed back to Dublin. My dad decided to go back over the Wicklow mountains instead of the M50 freeway, so we could enjoy the mountain scenery. We somehow lost our way and were driving for what seemed like hours on a tiny little mountain road. It seemed to go on forever and there were no signposts or houses in sight. The only consolation was that we passed several cars along the way. So we knew there was an end somewhere. The road was pretty smooth, but suddenly we would come to huge bumps and would bounce over them and we would all bounce up off our seats and hit our heads on the ceiling of the car. We finally saw the Dublin city in the distance and headed for home. It was 5pm when we arrived at my dad's house. My dad and I had to run to the store to pick up some groceries. I made curry tonight, which tasted wonderful. It was a long day, but we had a lot of fun and it was wonderful to revisit the places of my youth. The sea air was so fresh that I think we will all sleep very soundly tonight.