Monday, August 11, 2014

Freedom, my car, and a trip to Powerscourt

Yesterday I performed another Great Escape, this time to the beautiful Powerscourt Gardens.


I'm becoming quite a Houdini, but it's a habit I rather enjoy, as you may have noticed!  Only two of us went in the end and, as we cruised south towards the sun with the music turned up and Smiley dancing in the back, I randomly began to think about driverless cars, and why they worry me.  But bear with me, there is a point to this...

Technology was supposed to help free up our lives, but it is also becoming a tool of coercion, surveillance and control.  Despite all the ever increasing rules around driving, a car still represents freedom for many people.  Even when your car is as ugly as mine!  Would I still be able to escape for a few hours under a driverless car system?  How much technology will be built into the vehicle?  Eventually could a central control system ration access to busy roads?  Limit our use of our cars?  Control the routes we take?  Obviously they would control the speed.... you can just imagine what'll happen: five minutes of fog and every car in the country will be made drive at 10 m.p.h. for the next 6 hours, just to be safe.

My brain would explode.

Yesterday the drive was perfect, and so was the day.  It was a meet-up organised by the Irish Parenting Bloggers group as well as an opportunity to explore Powerscourt and see how it coped with a severely disabled 17 year old in a wheelchair adult buggy.

Rather well is the verdict.  We weren't wearing 'I am a blogger' badges, and there were lots of visitors so the attention and help from the staff was an absolute joy.  Even the first impressions were good:  a couple of shaded, spacious and empty disabled spaces just next to the entrance...

Myself and Smiley were ushered through our very own entrance into the gardens - and it wasn't miles way from the main drag either.  There's a guide to the Gardens with a specially marked route that is suitable for wheelchairs.  Very helpful, but it does leave out some of the more beautiful parts....so I ignored it, and with some helpful buggy pushers we negotiated the 'hills'.  Not to be recommended in the rain perhaps though.  The whole place is a wonderful open air natural play ground and there were children running and rolling and jumping and climbing in all directions, which made my daughter very happy: she didn't know which way to look!


There were unexpected water features...



Water lillies...



A glorious fountain...



Then it was time for lunch, and there was more help from the busy staff in the cafe and lots of room for wheelchairs and buggies. A special mashed meal was put together for Smiley, and they even hid dessert from her so she would eat her main course first. And I was able to find us a lovely spot to sit with a view and a cool breeze.


Sadly I didn't get to check out the disabled toilets as my visit to Powerscourt was cut short by a request to return home.  Thanks to having a car under my control, I was able to dash back in record time and sort things out.  Long may that continue...

Disclosure


I was given free entry to the Gardens in return for a review, but all views are my own.

The Facts Bit


Powerscourt Gardens is part of a huge and beautiful estate just south of Dublin in the foothills of the Wicklow mountains, and was recently voted No. 3 in Best Gardens in the World.  I always thought that it was far far away.... but it actually only took 45 minutes door to door from North Dublin.  There's a lovely website, but you have to log in to get the details of opening times etc - which is annoying.

Finally a huge thank you to Kate from Kate Takes Five for organising the trip, and to all the lovely bloggers I met on the day and who made us feel so welcome.


10 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos...once I switched my thoughts from all the serious questions around driverless cars!!!!! What a lovely day ye had, obviously Powerscourt Gardens is in the world's top 3 for a reason. Thanks for sharing your day with us.

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    1. You know those places you mean to go, but because you never set a date you don't go there? Powerscourt was like that, and it was brilliant to have someone organise the trip and all I to do was turn up and write about it :)

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  2. I should go back there at some point, I went years ago and was a bit disappointed,but when I see your pictures, it makes we want to go back. Thanks for sharing :-)

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    1. I suppose it depends on what you expect: there actually weren't many flowers in bloom while we were there, but I loved the whole experience :)

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  3. So great to see that Smiley had a fab time. I often visit picturesque spots like this and wonder how well they're set up access wise - was very impressed with a visit to Glendalough earlier this year - it has changed utterly since my last visit 20 years ago in terms of accessibility.

    so, if you car lets you escape again, that might be another option!

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    1. Yep - I have never been to Glendalough, despite doing PR for them for a while too! I really must go, and it's great to hear that it is more accessible now :)

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  4. Gorgeous pics and it was such a pleasure to meet you and smiley - I can see now where she gets her lovely nature from. xx

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    1. It was wonderful to finally meet you too Kate, and your beautiful children :) xx

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  5. Lovely pictures it looks like a great place to visit. I love a nice garden and if it has good access then even better

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    1. I was very happy with the access, and the willing help available :)

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