Posted by: marthabernie | August 23, 2014


8-23-14:  On my last trip to Ireland, the white horse below was definitely gone but the good news is that there were two new horses at this spot.  More on that soon.

=======================One of the places I like to visit in Ireland is Powerscourt in the very south part of County Dublin.  There is an Italian styled garden there as well as a walled garden, and the views are quite spectacular, both looking out over the gardens from the house and looking back at the house from the bottom of this beautifully landscaped expanse.  I’ve been there many times with friends, and it’s a beautiful drive through Enniskerry to the entrance road which winds past a golf course to the house itself.

They have shops and a restaurant in the main part of the house, and a garden center was added many years ago.  I like to go there to pick up seeds for plant and flower varieities you don’t find in the U.S, and I have many garden accoutrements I purchased there.

The photo above was taken in 2001 on the long drive which runs from the entry gates to the house itself.  On the right hand side of the road is the golf course, but on the left, the land seems to still be privately owned.  I stopped this day to take a look at the white horse which was wearing his protective winter coat.  When I got out of the car, he trotted over to me but did not attempt to cross the ditch which had been dug along what I assumed was the property line.  I talked to him and he came as close as he dared but did not go any further.  Then he trotted over to a tree and scratched his back on a low hanging branch.  He was very frisky at this stage.

For several years, each time I went back to Powerscourt, the white horse was in this field.  Even when I went four years between visits, he was still there.  In winter or very early spring, he always had on his green coat, in summer he didn’t need it.  I always stopped the car and got out, and he would trot over so I could talk to him.   One year I threw a couple of apples across the ditch to him, and he was definitely pleased!   I like to think he remembered me from year to year, but since I know nothing about the memory capacity of horses, I can’t say for certain.  As the years progressed, he seemed more sedate but still interested in my visits.

This past April, I made time to visit Powerscourt but did not see my friend the white horse, and there was no other horse taking his place in the field.  I will, of course, look for him next year, but I suspect old age may have taken him, as it does all of us eventually.  The weather was too fine for him not to be in the field if he was able.

I am often asked why I return to Ireland so often, especially since my Irish ancestry goes back to 1733 and earlier (not exactly like my grandparents got off the boat in 1905).   There are many reasons, but the strongest draws for me are the people first, and then the things that never change, or the things that don’t change very much.   There is a certain continuity for me, and a sense of going home.  I like to say that I often see myself coming and going in Ireland, and I must look like I belong there because I often get stopped by tourists asking directions and other questions of me.  If the white horse is truly gone, then this has changed for me, but I will be happy if I find a new horse in the field next time.   One more photo below.  That’s the Sugar Loaf in the background, a hill that is not too far from the Wicklow Mountains.

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