Musings

Romantic Ireland

I watched “P.S. I Love You” last night- I did see it in the theatre when it first came out but I had forgotten just how romantic and heart wrenching the movie was – yes I cried a couple of times!  And it was filmed – or a small part of it at least – in Ireland!  Gerard Butler,Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Hilary Swank, and Harry Connick Jr ….  I love the romantic line – “If I kiss you it will be the end of life as I know it”.  I must be a crazy romantic – because I believed it! Ok, I’m laughing, but it is a wonderful romantic thought and I’m sure it can be TRUE!

Filmed in the Wicklow National Park – so beautiful!  Last April I had the opportunity to go to Ireland to visit my niece Sarah who is in medical school in Dublin and spent a day in the Wicklow Mountains – so beautiful!

My trip to Ireland was not planned – but was a welcomed diversion as you see I was really on my way to Africa, and was flying through London Heathrow.  You may remember there was an Icelandic volcano that created all sorts of problems for flights in Europe.  I had the misfortune, or fortune, depending on how you want to look at it, of being grounded for 10 days in London.  After I realized the full extent of the situation, I decided to take a train and ferry to Dublin to see Sarah – and what a great time we had!

Ahh Ireland – how could you not love it – with the cobble stone streets and pubs that truly are a place where everyone knows your name!  Doesn’t seem to matter what time of day or night it is – there is an Irish band playing – what a joyous way to live!

Not only were we able to see the beautiful Wicklow mountains, but we also traveled to the small village of Avoca – a very quaint area with a very well know mill where they make the most beautiful mohair blankets and scarves.

I always try to bring back something for my home from places where I travel (I have been very fortunate to travel places I never expected to go) and I always want that something to represent the country – something that I can always remember my visit.  And Avoca gave me just what I needed for my home.

Let me tell you just a little about Avoca!

ONCE UPON A TIME…

there was a Mill at Avoca Village, County Wicklow. Set up in 1723 as a co-operative where farmers could spin and weave their wool, the Mill’s uncoloured yarn was turned into tweeds and blankets. However, colour soon came to Avoca as vivid natural vegetable dyes in reds, greens, and yellows brightened the Mill’s output. These were soon recognised as Avoca Handweavers’ signature hues and the Mill thrived through the 1920s and 30s when it was run by a marvellous trio of sisters, the Wynns.

By the 1960s however, it had fallen into disrepair. Handweaving was dying and the looms grew largely silent. Until a young couple with a younger family took a flyer in the mid-seventies and the rest, as others might say, is history.

When Donald & Hilary Pratt bought the Avoca Handweavers Mill in 1974, it was a risky move. The then Dublin lawyer was handling the sale of the site for development. He ended up buying it himself despite knowing nothing about handweaving, but believing there was a future in the Mill’s past. The run-down buildings, the tumbling mill, the name itself had woven a spell of sorts. He left law and Hilary gave up her teaching job as they took over the Mill.  Soon the looms were humming again and Avoca began to colour the world once more.  I was transfixed with the colourful plaid blankets and spent a lot of time just looking and admiring and trying to choose what colour grouping I wanted to take home with me – it was a hard choice as everything they do is beautiful.  Not to mention the feel of these soft blankets, mohair, light weight and warm.  They begged to be touched!  I had in my mind the floral fabric that I had thought about for the den and took a chance that this would look fantastic together.  What do you think?

I think it is beautiful!  And warm – I have so appreciated it through this very cold winter – a great cozy up and watch television blanket!

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