The ‘Dead Zoo’ – A Tourist in My Own City

Not long ago, we paid a visit to the Natural History Museum of Ireland which is known colloquially as ‘The Dead Zoo’!

The Natural History Museum AKA The Dead Zoo

“The Natural History building was built in 1856 to house the Royal Dublin Society’s growing collections, which had expanded continually since the late 18th Century.

The building is a ‘cabinet-style’ museum designed to showcase a wide-ranging and comprehensive zoological collection, and has changed little in over a century. Often described as a ‘museum of a museum’, its 10,000 exhibits provide a glimpse of the natural world that has delighted generations of visitors since the doors opened in 1857.”

Taken from Natural History Museum, Ireland

Stuffed Badger at The Dead ZooI remember going to this place as a child. I was filled with a confusing mix of excitement and dread. On the one hand, the museum appealed to my great love for animals. I was always fascinated to see the stuffed foxes and badgers, as well as the more exotic animals like the snow leopards and giraffes.

However, the skeleton of the giant elk loomed ominously in the entranceway, giving me a thrill of fear. And the scariest exhibit of all was the full-sized basking shark that hung from the ceiling. I would keep my eyes firmly to the floor and a tight grip on my Daddy’s hand as I skirted around the edge of that section of exhibits .

Stuffed Lion cub at The Dead ZooOur recent visit was filled with delicious nostalgia.  Not everything was how I remembered it, but the giant elk still stands majestically just inside the entrance. And of course, my nemesis, the basking shark remains suspended from the ceiling. Even now, all these years later, I still couldn’t bring myself to walk under it!

I would love to hear about your favourite childhood outings. Have you revisited those places as an adult?


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

Russborough House and Hedge Maze – Staycation Ireland

Russborough House is a magnificent stately home situated in County Wicklow, Ireland.  It is one of those places that I have heard a lot about and even driven past many times, but had never visited.

Russborough House from

Russborough is a stunning Palladian mansion overlooking some of the most impressive views in Ireland. Designed in 1741 by Richard Cassels, it took 10 years to build what has been described as “one of the most beautiful houses in Ireland”. (Bruce Arnold, The Irish Times, 1997) With the Wicklow mountains and Blessington lakes just a stone’s throw away the setting is idyllic.

Sir Alfred and Lady Beit bought Russborough in 1952 to house their impressive art collection. They left this historic mansion, its collections and their fascinating life story to the Irish public in 1978.”

Taken from

We had been planning to go back to Powerscourt Estate without the dogs, so we could tour the house and gardens. I was googling the opening times and one of the hits that came up was Russborough House, which is closer than Powerscourt and has the added bonus of a hedge maze! Being the big kids that we are, the hedge maze was the clincher!

Unfortunately, photography wasn’t permitted inside the house, so you will have to make do with a bunch of shots of us in the hedge maze ‘acting the maggot’ (which is irish slang for messing around!).

The Hedge Maze

Wandering around the Hedge Maze

Having fun in the Maze

Mr Fluffytufts

Powerscourt Waterfall – Staycation Ireland

Recently, we went for a drive in the Wicklow Mountains and ended up at Powerscourt Waterfall.  It is Ireland’s tallest waterfall at a height of 121m.

The waterfall and surrounding lands are part of a large country estate called Powerscourt. There is a large country house and extensive landscaped gardens. We had the Lads with us so unfortunately we couldn’t visit the house and gardens. We will have to go back and see those another time!

We had a very enjoyable afternoon walking with the Lads through this magnificent glacial valley. The waterfall itself was breathtaking and is so much taller than it appears in the photograph.  The Lads got into the river at the bottom of the fall and had a paddle. Jimmy actually properly swam for the first time, though I don’t think he was as impressed by his feat as we were!

Should you ever find yourself driving in the Wicklow Mountains, I would thouroughly recommend that you pay a visit to Powerscourt!

Powerscourt Waterfall

Photo Credit: Mr Fluffytufts – August 2012