December is fast approaching. Are you thinking about Ireland, but you’re not sure where to go or what it might be like? Let me help with some options. The first … December Gardens in County Wicklow.
I am heading back to Ireland in December. I am going to base in County Wicklow for a significant amount of time. This is primarily due to the number of gardens still available to wander. I was not prepared last year; so I want to slow it down, return to a few places and explore some new ones.
Gardens can still be in bloom.
Well … sort of. Ireland experiences seasons and December is firmly entrenched in winter. Many plants, such as ferns and delicate annuals will have lost their autumn battle with mother nature. From past experience, I knew that I would find green grass, moss and some ivy growing. But it was the hardy annuals and perennials still in bloom that caught me unaware. Gardens are not overflowing, but finding the odd rose in bloom was like a treasure hunt.
Let me guess, you have been doing some research and you are finding that many are closed over winter. Again, I discovered something interesting last year. Some of the houses that are associated with gardens are open in December; more than what I expected. Many of these sites now host Christmas activities. While tours may not be available, the grounds and gardens are open.
To begin with, the tourist numbers are low and I can get great photographs clear of red jackets and orange shirts. I am not rushed. But the best part, the grounds have families attending these holiday activities. Yes … families. I love finding a seat off to the side and just watching. It can be pure enjoyment as children, young and old, are laughing, chatting and full of awe as they get ready to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
Many of these gardens are have beautiful backdrops. December brings a very unique sky; a rich blue that blends into a white on the horizon since the sun doesn’t climb very high. I also found that sun bounced off of clouds differently and brought out new dimensions. What I really found myself enjoying is that the landscape is open. As the leaves had fallen, I now had a good view of mountains and valleys, including the iconic ones..
Let’s be real.
It is still December. If you are wanting the ‘forty shades of green’ … well, you are probably only going to get about twenty. It will be balanced with some new tones of copper and gold. If you check out my Flickr site, I do have two Travel journals from December 2012 and 2014 to give you a better idea of scenery during this time. (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mcgiveron/albums).
And full disclosure, winter is one of my favorite seasons. I have learned to look past the bleak and see the richness that winter can bring. Winter in Ireland is one of my favorite times to visit.