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June 1st 2017
Published: June 2nd 2017
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THE RING OF KERRY - COUNTY KERRY





We dropped our friends, John and Charmian, at Cork Airport and headed for the Ring of Kerry leaving the County of Cork behind us and heading into County Kerry. I might add that it is not named after our daughter Kerry or our Australian friends, Bronwyn and Alan’s daughter, which is spelt Kerrie, although our daughter is named after an ‘Irish’ midwife. The actual name in Irish, Ciarraí, translates to ‘people of Ciar,’ which is the name of the pre-Gaelic tribe who dominated the area.



The Iveragh Peninsula, known by all as ‘The Ring of Kerry’ is one of several rugged peninsulas on the Wild Atlantic Way, that winds it way along the west coast of Ireland. The Ring follows a winding coastal road through mountains, lakes and valleys containing mysterious ancient ring forts, ruined castles and mossy flowering hillsides as well as quaint little colourful towns.





Traffic was quite light as we left Cork and we soon crossed into Kerry and shortly after arrived in Killarney, in Irish Cill Áirne, means the ‘Church of the Sloes’ with a population of over 13,000 it is the main town in the area. Not sure why or how it got its name though. We walked around the town, stopping to admire the Franciscan Friary and St Mary’s Cathedral on the way. We picked up various maps and guides from the Information Centre and then headed off to visit 15th century, Ross Castle situated in nearby Killarney National Park.





We decided to drive but many visitors were taking one of a fleet of ‘Jaunting Cars’ – a type of horse drawn carriage which is famous in the Killarney Valley and has been so for well over two hundred years. We preferred to keep to our hire car though and ‘Shanks Pony’ instead!





Ross Castle is situated in an extremely scenic location on the shores of Loch Lein. It was built by the local ruling clan, Donoghue Ross and later came under attack by Cromwell’s forces. We enjoyed a short walk around the castle but it was getting cold so decided to move on to our Air B&B accommodation in Kells, stopping to stock up on basic supplies in a local supermarket.





KELLS - THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY





Kells is an old picturesque fishing village situated halfway between Glenbeigh and Cahersiveen. It is a quiet and peaceful place and is home to Kells Beach, one of Kerry's Blue Flag beaches, ideal for swimming with a gradual sandy slope and no currents, although I do not think we will be doing much swimming - it is still May of course and this is Ireland not the Caribbean!





We branched off from the Ring of Kerry and headed down a narrow lane toward the coast. The bay is delightful, surrounded by tall mountains some reaching right down to the sea and you could watch the clouds creeping in over them forming a blanket just like Table Mountain in South Africa..… It is a sleepy hamlet - there are no shops in the village itself and only a few houses spread out around the curve of the beach. It was fortunate that we had brought are own supplies as there are no nearby stores. We were looking forward to our stay in a cottage of the old Coast Guard Station. The Coast
Turf FireTurf FireTurf Fire

Kept us warm
Guard Stations scattered around the coast of Kerry were set up by the British Navy in 1821 to curtail and if possible end smuggling on the coast of Ireland. We have brought in some wine and beer but have paid a much higher tax rate than we would in the UK! When compared with the rest of the EU, Ireland's alcohol excise duty is very high across all drinks categories and apart from Finland they are tops - its beer levy is a whopping one thousand percent higher than Germany’s.



Going from a large modern Penthouse Apartment in Youghal in the centre of a town to a small Cottage in Kells was quite a shock to the system. The apartment in Youghal had been quite warm and the cottage in stark contrast was freezing cold. The owners though were brilliant and within an hour of our arrival we had a ‘turf’ fire roaring in the traditional open fireplace. I called the fuel used ‘peat’, but they said in Ireland they call it turf. Known as peat in other parts of the world, the Irish prefer the term turf - sods of newly cut turf are laid out
Kells BayKells BayKells Bay

Overlooking Kells - a scenic location
in the sun and turned to allow them to dry out so that they will ignite - we saw many fields with the sods neatly laid out.



The brick built fireplace in the living area was old and apparently this room was the scene of one of the famous Fenian victories of 1867, when Kells Coastguard Station was taken by local rebels. The rebellion failed in most of the rest of the country so ‘our’ living-room was soon recaptured by the British Army! Apart from the living area in the cottage the rest of the cottage had been modernised and we had a tiled wet room with shower and a heated floor which you really did need as these old cottages are really cold with no double glazing and no central heating of course … …



A couple of minutes walk through the garden gate of the cottage and we were on a very scenic horseshoe shaped bay. When we strolled down we saw several fishing boats bobbing in the water and a pile of lobster nets were waiting for the local fishermen to arrive in the small harbour. Plenty of seabirds were fishing in the area and we often watched giant Gannets diving deep into the bay or flying majestically over the water looking for their next meal. This short stroll through the garden gate and down to the beach became a regular feature for us - just to sit on the rocks and watch the fishermen come in or the odd visitor arrive to look at the glorious view was worth the trip alone. One warmish day a couple of youngsters even ventured into the sea - children just do not feel the cold do they …… The owners told us that they swam in the bay everyday during the summer.





We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in the cottage, you could put up with the chill as the view was delightful looking out over Dingle Bay. You could hear the waves lapping on the shoreline from our windows - nice to help one drift off to sleep and the silence was well ‘just golden’ … … Paul managed to get the turf fire going most evenings making it nice and ‘snug’ inside and reminded both of us of our childhood when we did not have double glazing
Wild PonyWild PonyWild Pony

We came across this lonely pony on a hike
or central heating - are we that ‘old’ we are starting to sound like our parents!!!





You could wander along the shoreline across a wobbly footbridge at the far end of the beach and follow a track along the seashore, climb over a large fence and out on to large flat rocks where anglers would arrive in the evening with their rods. You could sit here and watch the world go by with the waves crashing on the rocks below - it was a shame that you could not go any further unless you were one of the hardy sheep or cows who grazed right down to the rocks - their border was where the grass ended. When we first walked along this way we got slightly lost and ended up going through some private property and into the grounds of Kells Bay House and Gardens. A sign which was not facing our way said ‘strictly private’ but of course there had been no sign the way we had come from the beach - whoops.





Kells Bay House and Gardens are open to the public and are designed around an
View of KellsView of KellsView of Kells

from the Ring of Kerry
old Victorian garden containing one of the foremost collections of Southern Hemisphere sub-tropical plants in Europe. Heading out through the front entrance there was a scenic waterfall and various tracks followed routes around the gardens. We watched a couple of Thrush making a nest in the branch of a tree - its not very often you get to see a pair of these iconic birds and a little while later we also spotted a pair of Choughs. This was the first time I had seen one so to see two was quite a highlight for me but of course we were on private property and had not paid to walk around so quickly left the area … … Marginally larger than the familiar Jackdaw and similar looking to an all-black crow the Chough are also very similar to the common blackbirds that frequent our garden at home every day. However at close range, its unique long, down-curved red bill and bright red legs makes it stand out to the male blackbird with its primrose yellow bill.







We set off one day to try and hike some of the ‘Kerry Way’ which had a route that passed nearby. We headed up hill along a small lane when we saw a sign for ‘coffee’ and Kells Post Office which said 200 metres - at least 2000 metres later we arrived on the main Ring of Kerry road and just across the road was Goldens of Kells. A family run business and an ideal place for drivers to take a break when circling the Ring. There was a small basic supplies shop, a gift shop and a restaurant above serving a selection of homemade foods with vast views over Dingle Bay. We soon forgot about the hike as we tucked into delicious homemade cakes but then realised that we needed to walk off all those extra calories … …





In the foothills behind Goldens there was a track called ‘The Golden Mile’ which had been laid out by the owners along a section of an old railway line and this we thought would be a good way to walk off all the excesses of our visit. From here with the mountains as a backdrop many old railway tunnels ran through the mountains joined by the ‘Gleesk Viaduct’, an old railway bridge built in 1892 - what an amazing engineering feat that was. The line skirted the mountains and the sea and must have been a scenic journey for those travelling these parts. Its such a shame they have ripped up all the lines and closed off so many sections. There is talk of the old track being turned into a Cycle way but this is causing conflict with local farmers regarding a Compulsory Purchase Order mechanism being adopted by the County Council. We spotted many signs along the roads, ‘Cycles Yes CPO No’ … … We really enjoyed the hike but it ended to soon with a ‘Trail End’ sign and no way to get any further. It was a shame that we did not get to find the Kerry Way even though we headed back up for another look another day - these Irish directions leave a lot to be desired, but at least we got some good hiking in as it was all up hill just to find the starting point!





LOCAL STORIES



Chatting to Ita, the owner of our accommodation one day her young daughter arrived and we noticed that her feet looked cold and wet as she had no shoes on. Ita said she was quite happy to wander about without any and preferred to have her feet ‘free’ … … Ita told us the story of her widowed grandmother who struggled to buy shoes for all her children during difficult times but did manage to get them all clogged .… The mother was really content as all her children would head off to school with their shoes on but unbeknown to her they would take them off and hide them before they went inside to classes! Most of the children in the area did not own shoes and they did not want to be any different from them … … When the children arrived home from school the mother could not understand how they had managed to get so many ‘cockleburs’ stuck to their feet. Cocklebur is one of several weed species that have prickly bur seed pods and when humans or animals pass by, the burs attach themselves and do not let go! The mother wondered how they had got these when they had been sent off to school wearing the shoes she had struggled to buy! I can remember getting covered with cockleburs when I was a child growing up in Wiltshire.





VALENCIA ISLAND



We set off early one day to make a visit to nearby Valencia Island, although it is not really an island as it is now connected by a road bridge. We decided to get the ferry across which was located at Renard just outside of Cahersiveen. On arrival we watched the ferry drift towards us with only a couple of cars on board and we were soon one of only three cars drifting back across. It only took 10 minutes but we stood outside watching several Gannets diving in the bay before arriving at Knightstown, one of only two small towns on the island which itself is only seven and half miles by three.



The roads on the island were narrow, even by Kerry standards as we headed off to find a Lighthouse which we had seen from the ferry. Suddenly we came to an abrupt halt on a very narrow lane as a small car in front of us was herding several cattle along in front. We followed for ages before pulling into a gateway and waiting as we were going nowhere fast! Another car behind us carried on following the lady in her car and the cattle. After a while we set off again only to see the lady standing by an open gate with no cattle in sight! She had stopped to open the gate but the other car had continued down the lane and was now in the distance still with the cattle running along in front!!



We left her to her ‘conundrum’ and carried on, passing several small homesteads sadly now just ruins along the shoreline, we had seen so many of these abandoned famine cottages that dot the Irish landscape. We finally arrived at the Lighthouse which of course was ‘closed’ we were far too early in the day! It was worth the effort though to get here as there was a great view out over the wild Atlantic Sea and we could just make out the remote Blasket Islands far in the distance.





Our local map detailed that a little further along on the narrow lane were several Tetrapod imprints which are 370 million years old. Strange to think that here in this lonely part of Kerry there is the oldest reliably dated evidence of four legged amphibians moving over land - a physical record of the transition of life from water to land. We did not want to get caught behind the cattle again though so gave the footprints a miss and drove up into the mountains instead. We crossed the island at its highest point and spread out below us like one giant map you could view the island from one end to the other. As the island was so tiny it was not long before we had parked our car at the other end near a road bridge which would take us back over to join the Ring of Kerry. Situated here was the Skellig Experience Visitor Centre which was dedicated to explaining the story of the remote Skellig Islands. It was hard to spot as the concrete vaults were topped with grass, which was designed to blend in with the surrounding hills, certainly did achieve its aim.







SKELLIG ISLANDS



We always wanted to visit the Skellig Islands renowned for their scenery,
Wild IrelandWild IrelandWild Ireland

Robin Red
sea bird colonies and their early Christian Monastic architecture. However just before we came to Ireland we watched a TV programme called ‘Wild Ireland’, and this put us off a little! To get there it was a long boat ride on the Atlantic and it was sometimes difficult to get ashore because of the swell. If you did manage to land then you had to negotiate hundreds of steps to view the monastery precariously perched on the pinnacle of Skellig Michael . … …





The twin islands of Skellig Michael and Little Skellig are located 8 miles off the Kerry coastline. The larger of the two, Skellig Michael towers 714 feet above the sea and basically they are both just rocks jutting out of the Atlantic Ocean beset by wind and rain, which make the ascent to the peak extra treacherous.



Despite these conditions, a few determined Irish Monks established a monastic outpost in the 7th century that remains largely intact 1,400 years later. Using only bare rock these monks built by hand hundreds of steps leading up to Skellig Michael's summit, where they erected six beehive-shaped stone huts and a small chapel. Living here on a diet of fish, seabirds, and a few vegetables grown in the monastery garden they survived in this hostile environment occupying Skellig Michael continuously until the late 12th century … … Battling these hardships the monks stayed on the island until numerous attacks by Vikings forced them to settle on the mainland where they built a new priory. The Priory was dedicated to St Michael as was Skellig Michael, and the monks adopted the Augustinian rule.





SKELLIG EXPERIENCE



We found the Visitor Centre informative and a film presentation ‘An Island on the Edge of the World was really well made. As well as portraying the history and archaeology of the Early Christians the exhibition also detailed the Sea Birds that are now the only now inhabitants and the Lighthouses which gave 161 years of service to mariners passing these isolated rocks.





After watching a safety film for those wishing to visit it was definitely not for us, it reconfirmed what we had seen on the TV programme back at home. The thought of climbing uneven rock hewn steps without any rails, steep inclines
PortmageePortmageePortmagee

Overlooking the town from Valencia Island
over a terrain less forgiving than many slopes tackled by skilled mountaineers was not exactly enthralling! The film gave a ‘step by step’ guide on what to expect and warned people that there were severe drops to the ocean below, particularly on the way down where the steps twisted and turned and one could easier walk off the edge.





Notwithstanding that the trip to the island and the climb and return could last up to 6 hours and there were no toilet facilities on board or on the island, so that capped it all for us. The control over my fear of heights and the need to spend a penny would indeed be pushing it too far. I was quite happy just to watch the film and visit the centre. For those wishing to go I would suggest you watch the safety film first as you might change your mind … … Apparently some chains have recently been installed along short sections of the rock face, probably for ‘safety’ reasons when they were filming scenes from The Force Awakens in 2015 and perhaps some more will be installed when they start shooting scenes for the
PortmageePortmageePortmagee

The only place to eat in town ... ...
latest film, but I will not be one of those attempting the climb. I am quite happy to give the bird colony a miss this time and let the few tourist that are brave enough to tackle the ascent visit the island instead.





We left Valencia Island via the road bridge arriving in Portmagee a town with very colourful houses along the shoreline. The name in Irish means 'the ferry', referring to its purpose as a crossing point from Valencia to the Iveragh peninsula. Several seafood bars were dotted a long its single street one of which had a large queue heading inside - this was obviously the one to eat in.









CAHERSIVEEN



We regularly visited our nearest town of Cahersiveen although quite small with a population of about 1000 it had a good supermarket and a scenic location on a river for hiking. A massive sculpture of ‘four monks in a sickle-shaped boat’ with a cross on top adorned the entrance to the town. Elevated in the air astride eight massive oars it represents the monks voyage to the monastery at Skellig
Welcome to CahersiveenWelcome to CahersiveenWelcome to Cahersiveen

Monks heading out to the Skellig Islands
Michael mentioned above and was quite an impressive entrance to this little town.



A large Church towered above the shops in the centre of the high street. We were visiting on a Sunday and most of the shops were closed and it was really quiet. However when the church bells started to ring for Mass that all changed and we were suddenly surrounded by crowds of people heading for the service. The Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church is the only church in Ireland named after a lay person. We would come across many memorials and tributes to renowned Irishman, Daniel O’Connell on our trip around this part of Ireland as he was born in Cahersiveen and lived a large part of his life on the Ring of Kerry. On the edge of the town along the riverside was a small memorial park dedicated to him and nearby the ruins of the house where he was born. The park was a great spot to sit and chill watching the Salmon swimming up the river whilst Grey Herons waited for one small enough for them to catch!



Wandering around the churchyard we came across the grave of
Hugh O’Flaherty CBEHugh O’Flaherty CBEHugh O’Flaherty CBE

Hugh saved thousands of Allied Soldiers & Civilians during WW2
Hugh O’Flaherty CBE who was also born in Cahersiveen. Such a small town producing two famous people decades apart within its walls. We had read a brief history on a plague about O’Flaherty when we walked around the nearby ruins of the Abbey of the Holy Cross and there was also a large life-size statue of him in Killarney dedicated to his memory with a sign behind him stating ‘God has no Country’… … O’Flaherty, or the ‘Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican’ as he was known was an Irish Catholic priest born in Kerry who organised an escape route, saving thousands of Allied Soldiers as well as Civilians during WW2.





We enjoyed several hikes around Cahersiveen, one took us over the river to Ballycarbery Castle which was situated on the opposite riverbank. We could see this impressive looking castle with it's ivy covered tower house from miles away but it was quite a hike to reach it. It was once home to the McCarthy Clan and built sometime in the 15th century. It is renowned as one of the largest castles built on the Iveragh peninsula and was once a magnificent building perched high on
Ballycarbery CastleBallycarbery CastleBallycarbery Castle

Once home to the McCarthy Clan
a hill but now just a scenic ruin. We had come across the word ‘Bally’ a lot in the area so googled it - it translates as ‘place of’ so Ballycarbery is ‘Place of Carbery’.



We continued hiking inland stopping at two massive stone forts and like the castle you could see them from a long way off and they took a long time to reach too…. Known as Leacanabualie & Cahegral they were interesting places to visit and read the plagues on their history. These 2,000 year old walls have withstood the test of time, without the aid of mortar or cement. As we approached the bridge heading back into Cahersiveen we noticed the force of the water below us - the tide had turned and the current was pulling the water inland filling the banks once again. We stopped at a large white building which looked a little like a fairy castle. This was known in the area as the Barracks a decommissioned Royal Irish Constabulary barracks now a heritage centre.



We stopped to have a look around and a rest from our long hike. A lovely lady served us delicious coffee
Cahegral Stone FortCahegral Stone FortCahegral Stone Fort

These 2,000 year old walls have withstood the test of time, without the aid of mortar or cement.
and scones with jam and cream of course. In Ireland they always seem to serve their cakes with a generous dollop of cream on the side what a nice idea. You can even buy cream in the shops already whipped - you would love it here Sharon and Maisie!! The lady literally ‘swamped’ us with so much information on what to do around the Kerry Ring but said that we must visit Derrynane the original home of Daniel O’Donnell and we were so glad we did as this was one of our highlights.







CIRCULATING THE RING OF KERRY



We made two attempts to get to Derrynane - the first time we turned around as the heavy mist on the mountains made it impossible to see where one was going so we headed ‘home’. Not to be deterred we headed back the next day with clear sunny skies at last.





On the way to we stopped at Waterville Beach where two life-size statues dominate the town centre and a pebbly beach stretched across the town. One statue was of Charlie Chaplain who used to regularly holiday
Us and CharlieUs and CharlieUs and Charlie

Waterfront Waterville
here with his family and the other was a more modern tribute to Gaelic football Mick O’Dwyer - I have to admit I have heard of one but not the other!



We headed out of the town and up into the mountains where we stopped to admire the views over the rugged landscape and many small islets and islands far below us. Stone walled fields with cattle or sheep grazing made a scenic viewpoint just as you image the Irish countryside to be. In one of the fields we noticed a large circular fort like the ones we had visited a few days before - so many ancient buildings dot the landscape and could be easily missed. The Kerry Way also crossed this high altitude but we were not hiking today so continued our journey.



The mountainous road twisted around the coastline and we stopped at various viewpoints to admire the view inland as well as off-shore islands before descending to sea level and veering off the Ring of Kerry. We passed through the village of Caherdaniel and entered a beautiful and peaceful area - one could understand why Daniel O’Connell had made this place his home. We were also glad that we had come and were grateful that the lady guide in Cahersiveen had insisted that we visit …..





DERRYNANE



Derrynane is a stunning beach location in the village of Caherdaniel and Derrynane House once owned by Daniel O’Connell sits amongst this scenic location. We parked our car and passed through a delightful garden and soon spotted a large grey stone house with its gardens stretching into a meadow covered with wildflowers which disappeared into sand dunes overlooking a idillic beach with rocky outcrops. We have seen many beautiful vistas and this was way up there with them it even had its own natural harbour.



DANIEL O’CONNELL



Often referred to as, ‘the Liberator’ Daniel was an Irish political leader in the first half of the 19th Century and one of the greatest figures in modern Irish history. He campaigned for Catholic emancipation and the rights for them to sit in the Westminster Parliament and also the repeal of the Act of Union which combined Great Britain with Ireland. He spent much of his early life with his uncle at
The Old BarracksThe Old BarracksThe Old Barracks

Cahersiveen
Derrynane House but it was not until he inherited the property that he settled there with his wife Mary and eight of their surviving children.



We enjoyed our visit to the house which contained some interesting artefacts pertaining to his life as well as his family. Many portraits adorned the walls and one really stood out. It was of his daughter Ellen O’Connell who had an interest in literature and music. In the portrait she held a copy of Thomas Moore’s narrative poem ‘Lalla Rookh’ and one of his melodies, ‘The Harp that once Through Tara’s Halls’ - both very familiar to me. A story from my family history going back generations is that we were related to Thomas Moore the Irish Poet, but even though I have done some research I have not been successful in proving this so far. My great great grandmother, Elizabeth Moore may be the ‘key’ but I need to do more research when I have time or perhaps it was just a ‘tall story’ after all - one day I hope to find out! Thomas Moore was born 4 years after Daniel and died four years after Daniel died -
Daniel O'ConnellDaniel O'ConnellDaniel O'Connell

Memorial Park Cahersiveen
they also had a great deal in common particularly as Thomas was for many years a strong advocate for Catholic Emancipation like Daniel and they both attended Trinity College in Dublin.





It was a beautiful day with the sun shining so we walked along the sand dunes and on to the beach where a small tidal island could only be reached at low tide. Perched on a rocky outcrop appropriately named Abbey Island contained the ruins of Derrynane Abbey. It is believed to have been built in the 6th century and is still used today, coffins are shouldered across the beach onto the burial ground of the Abbey when the tide is out of course - this must be in one of the most beautiful possible locations for a graveyard looking out over the Atlantic ocean. The main church and two other buildings are overgrown with only their outer walls left standing. Many graves are inside the roofless church including Daniel’s wife, Mary O’Connell although Daniel is not buried here. When he died on a pilgrimage to Rome he asked that his body be returned home to Ireland, his heart to stay in Rome, and his soul to go to heaven. His body was eventually interred in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin but his heart is not in Rome where it was supposed to be - no-one knows where it is as it disappeared from the city in the 1920s but I am sure his soul is in heaven for all the good he did during his lifetime.





As the weather was behaving for once we continued around the Ring Of Kerry passing through Sneem before stopping in Kenmare and then leaving the coast and heading inland to Killarney. The scenery on this side of the ring is far more dramatic with deep mountain passes and steep narrow roads but you have to contend with more holdups … … There were magnificent views though around every corner as we headed through Ireland’s highest mountain range with a great name too - the Macgillicuddy Reeks.





We entered Killarney National Park and enjoyed the view at Molls Gap looking out on usually curved mountains formed by glacial movement millions of years ago. A little further on we stopped at Ladies View where a panoramic view of the Lakes
Ladies ViewLadies ViewLadies View

Killarney Lakes in the background
of Killarney was spread out below us. We made a further stop at Torc Waterfall - a nice walk to a small waterfalls particularly with the purple Rhododendrons surrounding it. The Ring Of Kerry was extremely colourful with masses of Rhododendrons as well as hundreds of purple Foxgloves covering the landscape. I thought they were pretty but apparently the government is concerned as the Rhododendrons are ‘taking over’ Killarney National Park and probably elsewhere in this part of the country as we have seen them growing up lots of the mountainsides, alongside the roads and all around the shoreline as well … …







BACK IN KELLS



We enjoyed the location of our Coastguard cottage, walking through the gate and down a little track to the glorious beach which we did most evenings . We often had the whole beach to ourselves with the odd fisherman heading out to catch crabs and lobsters. At the bottom of the garden sandwiched between a fence and the beach was an ancient Children's Burial Ground. Known locally as 'Ceallunach', it has been the resting place of unbaptised babies, miscarriages and stillbirths for many centuries
Children's Burial GroundChildren's Burial GroundChildren's Burial Ground

Known locally as 'Ceallunach'
past. The Ceallunach which was on a unconsecrated burial ground had it's roots in the days of hardship, poverty and famine - a time of penal laws and people being evicted from their homes. A local resident took it on himself to tidy up the area and it is now a peaceful Garden of Remembrance which was recently consecrated, what a lovely thing to do.



We walked along the nearby beach of Rossbeigh where a sand spit jutted miles out into Dingle Bay with views across to Inch beach and the Dingle Mountains on the opposite side. A good 20 minutes into the hike and we came across the wreck of a boat with just its wooden frame jutting out of the sand. We later read a notice that said a Schooner called Sunbeam built in 1860 in Exmouth sank here in the bay in 1903. Just over an hour later we had circled around the spit and arrived back to where we started - luckily before the tide came in and having to take refuge on the sand dunes and we had both forgotten our mobiles!





RING OF KERRY



So it was our last day in Kells and we headed back to Cork for our flight home. We passed through Kilorglin which is home to one of Ireland’s oldest and most unusual festivals called the Puck Fair. A wild mountain goat is crowned King Puck and elevated to a high perch where he overlooks three days of raucous celebration - a bronze statue of one stood on the bridge watching everyone crossing into the town! The fair dates back at least 400 years but it is believed to have existed in some form much earlier than that - it most certainly has some sort of pagan origins one would think.



We really enjoyed our time travelling around the Ring of Kerry but were so glad we had come ‘out of season’ as the Ring is one of the most visited attractions in Ireland outside of Dublin and extremely busy during the main summer months. The total distance around is 125 miles and tour buses complete this all in one day starting and ending in Killarney. Even in May we saw many tour buses struggling with the narrow roads, they do however have to drive around in an anti-clockwise direction so if you do not want to get stuck behind one its best to travel in a clockwise direction - particularly during the busier months. We were lucky as we had one week to spend exploring the area - you would miss out on so much trying to do this all in one day but if that’s all the time you have then I would recommend you take one of the smaller tour buses that can get around quicker and can also access the best bits which are usually ‘off’ the Ring and in places that the busses can't and don’t reach.



We would have liked to have travelled further and into the Dingle Peninsular but we would have missed so much around the Ring of Kerry as it was there were still many things we wanted to do so maybe next time … …







HEADING HOME



It was very civilised back in Cork, we stayed overnight at the Cork Airport Hotel which we can thoroughly recommend, great food and easy access to return the hire car and also to walk (weather permitted) to the terminal. A comfy flight with AirLingus and just one and half hours later we were back in the UK.



I started this blog mentioning our younger daughter Kerry and we are now heading home to celebrate a very special birthday for our eldest daughter, Sharon, so this is our last blog from Ireland but we will be heading off again early August to Central America so hopefully we will see you there … …


Additional photos below
Photos: 40, Displayed: 40


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Derrynane HouseDerrynane House
Derrynane House

Home of Daniel O'Connell
Kells BayKells Bay
Kells Bay

Reflections
Ellen O’Connell - Daniel's eldest daughterEllen O’Connell - Daniel's eldest daughter
Ellen O’Connell - Daniel's eldest daughter

Holding copy of Thomas Moore’s poem ‘Lalla Rookh’ and one of his melodies, ‘The Harp that once Through Tara’s Halls’


3rd June 2017
Ross Castle and Jaunting Car

Great shot
I love this one
3rd June 2017
Ross Castle and Jaunting Car

Jaunting to Ross
Thanks very much
11th June 2017
Ballycarbery Castle

Like out of fairy tale
Just like it came stright from a fairy tale or a movie. /Ake
11th June 2017
Ballycarbery Castle

Like out of fairy tale
Thank you it was a very scenic castle and a great hike to reach it.
11th June 2017
Crosses at Derrynane Abbey

My favourite
I pick this as my favourite photo in this blog entry. /Ake
11th June 2017
Crosses at Derrynane Abbey

My favourite
Thank you it was one of mine as well.

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