Dancing Bears on Love Lane

Watch out for Brown Bears on Love Lane!

When I first moved to Diamond Valley, I assumed that the apartment development had been christened with a glamorous new name by the developer, and that Love Lane, where our car park entrance is located, was a quaint old address. I was wrong on both counts! I now know that our apartments take their name from the centuries old ‘Valley of Diamonds’ which is mentioned as a place of beauty in publications from two hundred years ago. Love Lane on the otherhand is still known by many people in Bray by its old title of Blind Lane. In the past this lane was bordered on both sides by overhanging trees, making it very dark – hence the name ‘Blind Lane’.

In her autobiography ‘ Tales from the Emerald Isle’, local woman Daphne Maginess tells a story from about the year 1900. Lord Meath’s head gardener, a Mr Childs, was on his way home with his wife and son George, via Blind Lane, late one night from a night of cards and music and ‘refreshments’ at a friend’s house. “On their way home on foot, negotiating a road called Blind Lane, as it was completely covered overhead by branches of trees and was always very dark, they suddenly fell over an obstruction. Screams and roars from this were let out, accompanied by chatter in a strange language, which frightened the wits out of everyone. It turned out that an Italian and his bear had bedded down in the lane for the night, as it was dry. Both were as frightened as the family party. ”

Performing bears were a known amusement of the time and the Italian had probably spent his day in the Bray fairground on the Lower Dargle Road. It’s less likely to happen these days, but you never know…. the next time you take your car out of the underground carpark – do watch out for dancing bears on Love Lane….

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The editor of this diary lives in Diamond Valley, Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Diamond Valley is a modern apartment community in the old setting of the Valley of Diamonds, alongside the river Dargle. Contact editor@diamondvalley.ie
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