The whole raison d'etre for our trip to Ireland was so that my sister could visit Avoca, the Irish village where the BBC series Ballykissangel was filmed. I found a great tour that stopped in Avoca, so off we went!
We had a small group, only nine people. We took the train to Wicklow - a beautiful trip along the east coast of Ireland - and then picked up our coach. Well, we were supposed to pick up our coach, but it wasn't there. Our poor guide Paddy got on the phone right away to find out where it was. It took a little while, but he got it straightened out.
Our main stop in Avoca was the woolen mill, the oldest in Ireland. Established in 1723, Avoca Handweavers is nestled in a little glen by the Avoca River, right on the edge of the village.
We had a very nice tour of the... weavery. The weavers still weave by hand on large looms, but there's also a lot a machine-driven weaving as well. They wouldn't be able to produce the amount of goods if they did it all by hand!
Naturally, the tour ends at the gift shop! The shop is in a separate building, right across from the mill. It was chock full of beautiful stuff! My sister went a little nuts, buying cashmere scarves for herself and her daughters, pretty necklaces with shamrock pendants for her friends, and other stuff, I'm sure. I indulged in some nice smelly soaps and a hat, gloves, and scarf set.
Luckily, there was also a little tea room, where we all got some lunch. It was a good thing, too; the coach that dropped us off at the mill was not the coach that was taking to our next stop. That coach was running late, so the rest of the group hiked up to Fitzgerald's Pub. My sister was dying to go there, but it was about a mile walk on a hilly, narrow road that did not have sidewalks the whole way. So we hung out at the mill.
I didn't mind; it was a lovely place.