I’m dead serious, although that was last summer. We just had our third child and my wife was aching to go home to beautiful and sunny (but smoggy) Malaysia. We hadn’t been home in over three years before then so, to maximise her stay back home we devised a plan whereby my wife and kids would go home a month or so, in advance of my own visit. Obviously, she didn’t leave me, leave me. How could she? Heh.
Anyway, what would a man do to occupy all this time without the wife and kids around?
With all due respect to the wife and kids, loads of course! Well, at least loads of things that didn’t involve spending a bucketful of money (the recession had officially kicked-in when I was told I was getting a 10% pay cut). To cut a long story short, one of the things involved exploring the area around where I live in even more detail.
Allow me to explain, I’m sure like me, lots of you out there must have wondered:
Where does that lane just off the normal route to work lead to?
And, like me, either never had a chance to look into it or never thought twice about it again. Well, with no wife and kids to go home to, a bit of exploration was at the top of my agenda.
This then conveniently brings me to a spot I “discovered” on one of my explorative jaunts on the way back from work-Farmleigh House and Estate. I had heard of the place from my next-door neighbour before but for some reason or another, I never did take her seriously. Until last summer that is.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the place. It was as if someone had gone off to a more rural part of Ireland, plucked it right out of the ground and dropped it right at the edge of Phoenix Park. I get the feeling that the OPW and people in general want to keep this place to themselves. As an example, I’ve been told that road signage in Ireland is bad but, in Farmleigh House’s case it’s almost non-existent.
It’s like a nicer version of Area 51, without the tumbleweed, government experiments and UFOs.
Unfortunately, by the time we got back from Malaysia, the place was closed. The place closes from September and only re-opens in the spring. I can only assume that my wife was a little bit annoyed to hear me yapping on about this place knowing full well that she won’t be able to see it at all for at least another six months!
Well, we eventually made it there as a family last weekend and it didn’t disappoint. The kids enjoyed all the open space and were amazed to see the cows, horses, ponies and donkeys on the grounds, smack bang in the middle of Dublin. There was also a good Farmer’s Market as well as a Plant Fair if the adults fancied spending some hard-earned cash. We missed out on the Magic Show, story-telling and seeing that it was Easter Weekend, there was also an Easter Egg Hunt. We’ll take note of this year's experience so we don’t miss out on these activities next year.