Our fourth day in Ireland was spent in the small seaside town of Bray, a delightful little trip that I covered in more detail here, here, and… oh, what do you know? That was another storyline I never finished. Huh. Well, after staying tuned for Part Three of the retrospective, stay tuned for Part Three of A Day In Bray. My longtime readers will have gotten pretty damn good at staying tuned by this point.
Moving on from my incredible inadequacies, we spent our fourth day in Bray. For those who haven’t read A Day In Bray and have no intention of giving me the pageviews, Bray is an adorable little seaside town a short train ride outside of Dublin. It’s known for its seafood, beach, and Bray Head, which is still not a mountain but is a phenomenal day hike.
Brillo was crazy stoked to begin another day of adventures.
The train station was in the classic There Should Really Be More Smog And Young Chimney Sweeps In Here style.
The faces on this Coke machine creep me out to this day.
The train ride supposedly has one of the most dramatic views in the world, and is known as Brunel’s Folly because it was hard to build and even worse to maintain. On one side is a sheer cliff face, on the other is the Irish Sea. The man who designed this scenic monstrosity is an equally intriguing man named Isambard Kingdom Brunel. First off, that is hands down our favorite name in the historical record. Secondly, in the 2002 BBC special feature 100 Greatest Britons, Brunel ranked #2. Save Winnie Churchill, he beat out literally every single person in history ever to have anything to do with Britain – even non-British notables were eligible for the feature. Princess Diana, Charles Darwin, William Shakespeare, Isaac Newton, Margaret Thatcher – none of them stood up to Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s towering dominance over the British historical landscape. Or it could have just been students from Brunel University, who rabidly campaigned for their school’s namesake.
Brillo found the train ride slightly less interesting than I did.
We arrived at the seaside village of Bray, population: rain.
Bray was once a resort town, easily accessed from Dublin by one of the oldest train routes on Earth. Once plane travel simplified access to the continent, however, Bray gradually fell out of favor. It’s still one of the larger towns in Ireland, but its golden days are done.
It is, however, known for Bray Head, which features several hiking trails, the last and most treacherous leg of Brunel’s Folly, and a cross at the summit. It’s also suspended in the clouds by the delusions of the townspeople who still think it’s a mountain.
We were told this is Sinéad O’Connor‘s house. It’s probably not.
We started the climb to the summit.
Here’s Brillo demonstrating the relative size of a fence post:
Bray Head, like much of Ireland, experiences more cloud coverage than most clouds.
We had hiked a good way on this gorgeous trail before realizing we’d taken a wrong turn towards the next town over. The summit would have to wait.
After a gorgeous walk with unparalleled views of the water, some rocks, and good god that train line who thought that would work, we turned round and headed back to town for dinner.
Even in the mist, Bray is a gorgeous little community.
That night we had dinner at a local hotel. I’ve never seen so many different colors of mystery juice.
Brillo got dessert.
And that’s all for now. See you in Part Three.