Flurries, a Fall and a Daring Rescue!

Jimmy at Wicklow MountainsWe have been having a very strange spring here in Ireland. From what I’ve seen on the news, we are not the only country to be experiencing unseasonal weather at the moment.

A week or so ago, right at the end of March, we woke up to a blanket of fresh snow! I couldn’t believe my eyes. We decided to pack up the car and headed out for a drive in the country with The Lads.

We drove through the Dublin Mountains and onwards into the Wicklow Mountains. Funnily enough, the further we drove, the less snow there was. There are many public walks throughout Wicklow, so we decided to stop off at one of these and take The Lads out for a hike.

Pogo the Poodle at Wicklow MountainsIt was really a lovely day. The Lads enjoyed exploring the forest, sniffing every inch of the place! They even had fun doing their own version of agility, jumping tree stumps, climbing steep banks and running along felled trees. While we were walking, a sprinkling of light powdery snow fell delighting us all.

Unfortunately, the day was spoiled considerably when Jimmy fell down a steep embankment!

Mr Fluffytufts had stopped to take a photograph of a waterfall while I continued along the path with The Lads.  Jimmy was trotting along the edge of the path when suddenly a pile of shale slid out from under his paws and he went rolling down the embankment. At first, I couldn’t see him as he had rolled into the undergrowth. Thankfully, when I called out to him, I spotted the red of his jumper moving.  Next, was the question of how to reach him… I tried but wasn’t able to climb down myself.

Me with Casper the BichonJimmy got himself out of the undergrowth but in his panic he went to bolt in the wrong direction. I don’t think I ever yelled so loudly in my life! Pogo and Casper joined in by barking, and together, we were able to catch Jimmy’s attention.

I maintained eye contact with him and asked him to ‘climb’. The others were encouraging him on by barking and whining for him. He tried, but the bank was too steep and he kept slithering back down.  I then instructed him to ‘wait’ and was relieved and proud when he waited perfectly till I was able to attract Mr Fluffytufts’ attention.

Mr Fluffytufts was the hero of the day! He came running up the mountain path and without hesitation, climbed down the bank through gorse and brambles until he reached Jimmy. We checked Jimmy over and apart from a few scratches, he was fine. Needless to say, everybody went back on their leads till we got back to the safety of the car!

The Lads enjoying a hike in Wicklow Mountains

I Can Has Shamrock Shake?

Happy St Patrick’s Day from all of us here at Fluffy Tufts!

I can has shamrock shake? - Pogo the Poodle

A Tourist in My Own City – The Mummies of St Michan’s Church

St Michan's Church by ValbyDKSt Michan’s Church was founded in 1095 by Dutch colonists.  For 500 years, it was the only parish in Dublin that was north of the River Liffey. The present building dates from around 1685 and was designed by Sir William Robinson (Ireland’s Surveyor General 1670-1700).

Inside the church is a magnificent organ dating from 1724.  It is one of the oldest working organs in Ireland.  It is also believed to have been the organ that Handel used whilst he was composing his ‘Messiah’.

The most interesting feature of St Michan’s Church lies beneath the ground in the crypt.  The vaults are accessed by narrow stone stairway.  These stairways are steep and there are no handrails, so unfortunately the tour is not suitable for people with limited mobility. The vault tunnels are lined with limestone and mortar. There are large rooms off the tunnels that contain the coffins of many of Ireland’s historical figures.  These coffins are stacked on top of each other, and over time a number of the coffins have burst open to reveal that the bodies inside have been naturally mummified!

The Crypt at St Michan's by Chris Halton

Experts are unsure as to what exactly caused the bodies in these particular vaults to mummify.  Our tour guide explained that it was likely to be a combination of a number of factors:

  • high concentration of lime
  • dry atmosphere
  • high methane levels
  • the vaults lie low and are near to the bed of the River Liffey

There are a number of mummies on display including a 400 year-old nun, a reformed thief and ‘The Crusader’ – a giant of a man whose legs had to be broken in order to fit him in to the coffin.  Legend has it, that “shaking the hand of The Crusader” will bring you good fortune and luck. I have done this tour a number of times and only recently finally plucked up the courage to shake his hand.  It was a very macabre experience as The Crusader’s spine and internal organs are partially visible. The hand itself felt wooden and was dry and dusty. I can’t say that I noticed any change in my fortunes, but I am glad that I had the courage to do it!

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me, so these photos are not my own.

View the rest of the “A Tourist in my Own City” series: