My last full day in Ireland was Tuesday, October 10th and I had made a grand plan to hit up a bunch of museums in Dublin. See the Book of Kells, maybe tour Jameson or Guinness… instead I ended up spending my entire day at the National Botanical Gardens of Ireland.
When I walked in the gates I started to tear up and I knew I couldn’t just breeze through and leave. Whatever I saw online couldn’t prepare me for how incredible the place was in person. With Victorian glass greenhouses, acres of manicured but wild beds, an arboretum, rose garden, water features… it was stunning.
I loved, I absolutely loved it.
The part that took my breath away was the immense Great Palm House that was almost 3 stories tall and housed a wild collection of plants that towered and filled the room.
The route that I took send me through a dry, desert-like room that was full of cacti and succulents so that when you got to the door that split into the Palm House it was like a tidal wave. When you open the door, the heat and humidity hit you full force and it was all consuming. Like being home again – hibiscus, palms, palmetto, bananas, coconuts, pineapple… it was like Nina’s backyard on steroids.
And then as I walked, listening to MGMT’s ‘The Youth’ there was a hissing sound and the sprinklers came on, bathing the room in a dense, heavy fog. Like something out of a dream, with the dim sunlight filtering in and the heavy heat condensed in the tight space… everything was perfect.
The tin man sculpture, the nearly empty rooms, the dripping roof. I wouldn’t change a thing. And the smell – that first deep breath inside the greenhouse is a kind of powerful magic that I can’t describe other than to say it rekindles life inside you.
This place… this place was worth missing everything else. I’m in awe of the entire experience of this day. When I come back – this is exactly the first place I want to return to.
At the conclusion of my trip I wrote a list of my final thoughts on the trip and I’ll share those with you.
- my writing has followed me this entire trip and it’s made me feel alive and fulfilled. I hope all my trips to Europe are like this.
- Wispa Gold Bars are the best candy you can buy.
- You don’t need to drink to have an amazing time.
- Sitting quietly in a forest, with no plans, eating leftovers and looking at the mountains has to be one of life’s great treasures.
- Let yourself be adopted by strangers in a strange land.
- Dogs are internationally just good.
- When all else fails, take a walk by the sea and let yourself go for a bit.
- Drink a lot of tea.