We’ve been spending our Saturdays in Wicklow recently, hanging around while one of the kids does one of her things. There’s no shortage of things to do, so we’ve been taking advantage of the three-hour wait, exploring the countryside and visiting some of its historic homes.
A few weeks ago, it was the turn of Killruddery House, home to the Brabazon family since 1618. Over the years, the house has been modified but the 17th century gardens still survive in their original style. The sun was splitting the stones on the day we visited, so we skipped the tour and settled for a wander around the grounds. There may have been a nap on the lawn.
The current (entirely lovely) owners of Killruddery support the house through the usual mix of weddings, festivals, and family fun days. They work to make the estate an asset to the local community.
But beautiful estates in Ireland are usually built on ugly histories. And our happiness is balanced by others’ sorrow. Hard-won knowledge hovers at the edge of enjoyment, like a shadow gap or half-remembered song.
Occasionally, we manage to push it away; to lie on the grass and feel the sun on our face.
At least for a little while.
At least on a Saturday.