Having done all the (at time of writing)22 Norn Irn parkruns, I need to venture further afield these days to try new ones. I do take advantage of any travelling plans I have, and it’s usually possible to tag on a parkrun during a weekend away. And, since this is a blog with “dancing” in the title, it’ll come as no surprise that this time it was a dancing weekend. Not just any old dancing weekend either, it was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Dublin Scottish Dance Club.
Accommodation in Dublin proved difficult to find – not only was there a big football match on, but somebody called The Boss was playing at Croke Park. I decided to try out an Air BnB, and found one close to the main dance event in Taney Parish Centre. There are around 10 parkruns in the greater Dublin area, and with one called Marlay (sometimes spelled Marley) close to my lodgings, my itinerary was complete.
I drove down on the Friday night, having only the briefest of disagreements with the sat nav. But that’s a compulsory element of travelling these days. I was soon being welcomed by Barbara, and introduced to the other house guests for the weekend, including a mother and daughter from Texas who were fascinated by my jigging and jogging plans.
The house has a lovely garden patio area at the back, and I was able to introduce Barbara to the joys of watching the space station sail overhead.
On Saturday morning I donned my tartan leggings, and let the sat nav take me to Marlay Park.
However, it took me to the front entrance, by the big house, and I knew that the parkrun started at the back. So I had to do a little bit of driving around in circles, another compulsory manoeuvre for today’s traveller. But I got there in good time, parked up, had a bit of a wander around to get my bearings, and joined in the warm-up session.
The start and finish are beside the children’s playground, where there a few shabby toilets. There are nicer ones in a block down the lane, and more by the big house.
There’s plenty of parking – there needs to be as this has regularly over 500 runners.
So a good funnelling system is in place.
Music is played to add to the atmosphere.
Afterwards, many go to the stalls set up by the big house, offering coffees, wheatgrass juice, paella, and buns galore.
It’s basically one lap of the park with a few legs added.
It does go down as far as the house, and the start and finish are at the same place. There’s an uphill section during the first k, which does serve to thin the runners out a bit. Though some of the narrow sections still get a little bottle-necked.
The park itself is just beautiful, with lots of lovely features including a walled garden, little bridges, and a miniature railway which operates on Saturday afternoons.
It seemed to be a fairly young crowd, and indeed I got chatting in the scanning line to Adam, who had just done his first parkrun.
Well done, young man!
Strangely Appropriate Song On Shuffle:
I’m still listening to Eurovision songs, and I enjoyed “Time is Like Thunder”, the Belarus entry from 2015, with the lady playing the violin in a giant egg-timer.
My own time was an OK-ish 29 something. I do try to aim for sub-30 when visiting a run for the first time, especially when I don’t have my canine pulling pal.
I did find a friendly black dog to chase, which reminded me of how helpful running can be in dealing with dark thoughts.
And the rest:
The weather was glorious – blue skies and sunshine. I caught a bus into town to meet my fellow dancers for a tour of the Mansion House, admiring all the coats of arms in the oak room.
I’d enjoyed the most delicious brunch at Eden, consisting of a courgette and potato cake, served with asparagus, poached eggs, hollandaise, and a very tasty balsamic roasted tomato, which I must try to recreate. Eden was worth visiting even just for the loos, with limericks painted on the doors and walls.
From there I’d wandered through the Powerscourt Townhouse, and was tempted by some beautiful pieces in Jean Cronin ‘s lovely vintage wear, settling in the end for a green swirly Clements Ribiero dress, before further tempation in the shape of Ruby, in the Hibernia Arcade, where I was seduced by a duck egg blue Orla Kiely.
Suitably shopped out, I went back to the house and changed for the evening into my purple/ green tartan skirt, which I wore with a purple shirt and choker.
The dancing was great fun, and included some dances which had been written by or for the club’s instructors. The Elephant’s Stampede was tricky, but had us all laughing, while Rosalie’s Birthday Reel is one we had practiced beforehand.
There was a lovely supper provided, and a very convivial atmosphere all evening. But my eyes were closing, and I slipped away at 11, where I was glad my sat nav remembered how to get me back to the BnB. And I was home in time to see the space station fly over yet again – a perfect way to round off a weekend full of smiles.