Road Trip – day 7

Day 7 – Friday 14th July

I knew my holiday was over when I arrived at the Durkan Kibbutz in Trim! 🤣🤣🤣

I was put to work on the Bog in Balivor, packing sods of turf into bags, loading them into a wheelbarrow and stacking them into a van. But that wasn’t the end of it….oh no, on arrival back at the house they had to be unloaded, stacked ‘neatly and properly’ along the side wall, before being covered over with plastic to keep them dry, ready for the winter. 😕😲

 

Joking aside, it was a pleasure to be able to help and as a thank you I got to bring a few bags home with me.  Not bad for an hour’s work 😁😉 Turf by the way is used in place of or alongside coal or logs in a fire.

Conclusion:

I have been asked many times which part of the trip I enjoyed the most but to be honest I thoroughly enjoyed all of it. The Ring of Kerry is a must for everyone’s bucket list with the Dingle peninsula a maga for hikers and cyclists alike. If you do go make sure you have a fully functioning camera or mobile with you as you will want to take loads of photos.  Having said that, no photograph could EVER capture the beauty and essence of this place; it needs to be seen to be believed!

I also enjoyed the freedom of travelling on my own with just my dog for company.

I hope you enjoyed this blog and will follow me for other stories.

 

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Road Trip – day 6

Day 6 – Thursday 13th July

This was a very special as my BFF Rosemary came down from Trim on the Aircoach to join Marguerite and I in Cork.  The three of us spent the morning in Cobh , a town on an island in Cork harbour.

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Cobh, previously known as Queenstown was the last port of call for the Titanic  in 1912 as it set sail from here to Southhampton on its fateful maiden voyage. There is a heritage centre here which explores how Cobh became the embarkation point during Irelands mass emigration period.

We then drove out to Fota House and Gardens where we had lunch in the courtyard garden while basking in the most glorious summer weather. Fota House is a beautiful regency style country house restored and conserved by the Irish Heritage Trust sent in extensive grounds which inclde an arboretum and a Victorian farmyard garden. This place would be ideal for a family day out and has no cover charge on entry.

Rosemary and I finally said our goodbyes to Marguerite before continuing up through Ireland on our way back to Trim.

We stopped at Cashel on our way up just to get some photos of the Rock of Cashel a large 13th century cathedral and round tower which stands proudly on a hill overlooking the town of Cashel.  In the grounds surrounding The Rock stands the desolate ruins of Hore Abbey a cistercian monastery originally founded by the Benedictine monks in 1266.

 

Road Trip – day 5

Day 5 – Wednesday 12th July

This was the only  day I actually planned, the rest were all just ‘go with the flow’!

So day 5 started from Glenbeigh, to Kells, to Cahersiveen, to Waterville , to Derrynane , to Caherdaniel , to Castlecove , to Gleesk Pier , to Sneem, to Molls Gap , to Killarney to Cork! Yes seriously…all in one day (268km) along the Ring of Kerry.

What a fantastic drive around the Ring of Kerry…I cannot emphasise enough about how stunning the landscape is here and no photo could EVER capture the beauty.   If you haven’t already done this trip then you need to go.

Gleesk Pier was the jewel in the crown as it was off the beaten track and not a soul in sight as I travelled up and down narrow mountain roads hoping I wouldn’t meet another car! The only thing I did meet were mountain sheep and although there were 2 other cars parked at the pier I never saw a soul!

The number of tour buses and tourists along the way, although of benefit to the economy were distracting and irritating to say the least. I cannot believe how popular Ireland has become. I’m also delighted as it is a great ‘wee’ island.

In between Sneem and Molls Gap there is an excellent cafe (for want of a better word) called The Strawberry Field Pancake Cottage.  This was a highlight for me and I almost thought I had missed it.  It is hard to miss though as it is painted in a very bright, mustard yellow with red doors and windows.  It has a beautiful outside seating area, but inside is a treasure trove of paintings, gifts etc.  The menu is mainly pancakes as the name suggests and they are totally fresh, made to order and are delicious.  I indulged in both a savoury and a sweet…🙈🙊.  Lunch and dinner was my excuse lol! 😉

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I finally arrived in Donoughmore, just outside Cork to spend the night with my friend Marguerite and as it was a beautiful evening we took a drive to Kinsale where we dandered along the quaint, colourful streets before finding a pub (the Blue Haven) to chill and have a Guinness while listening to a two-piece band singing Van Morrison  covers.

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Road Trip – day 4

Day 4 – Tuesday 11th July

Headed of to Killarney this morning to meet up with a friend from Cork. We met up in Killarney town then took  a drive out to Torc Waterfall  a waterfall based at the foot of the Torc mountain about 5 miles outside Killarney and encompassed in the Killarney National Park

We then headed to Muckross House  a 19th century mansion in Killarney National Park.

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We had a delicious  lunch in the restaurant before taking a trip out across the lakes of Killarney in a motor boat to Dinis cafe for a coffee. I would highly recommend the boat trip as at only €10 per person it was well worth it. Be warned though if it is a wet day (which is 90% of the time) you will get soaked as these are open boats!! And you will of course have to wear the beautiful orange jacket that you are offered 😉😅

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Thunder thoroughly enjoyed her boat trip despite her earlier reservations about stepping aboard.

En route back to my base in Glenbeigh I stopped off at Glencar which is a nature lover’s paradise. It is situated just above Caragh Lake and river, beside Lickeen Wood

Road Trip – day 3

Day 3 – Monday 10th July

I was told there was a beautiful beach in Glenbeigh so this morning Thunder and I took a drive out through the village and found Rossbeigh , a blue flag beach just 1.6km from Glenbeigh. We were not disappointed, a 4 mile stretch of sand and sand dunes awaited us and with the tide well out we were free to walk.  The weather wasn’t the best, but it’s Ireland so a raincoat and shorts is a must! Shorts are easier as you don’t have wet trousers sticking to your legs.

We  walked for miles enjoying the peace and tranquillity as there were few people about. The weather cleared and the sun came out briefly and then the horses appeared….wow!

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What  an experience to canter along a stunning beach with the wind in your hair and the spray of the sea on your face. 🐎🐴

After our walk we drove to Tralee , a town in Co Kerry famous for the Rose of Tralee  Festival. Driving through I was surprised to see a windmill (having just come back from Amsterdam). It is called Blennerville Windmill  and was built by Sir Rowland Blennerhassett in 1800 whom the village  of Blennerville is named after.

Back on the Ring of Kerry again I headed off into the hills, rallying round the narrow roads, finally stopping on top of one of the mountains where I cooked lunch ‘Bear Grylls’  style.

Heading back to Glenbeigh I stopped at the Kerry Bog Village , another tourist attraction along the way. This is a replica of a typical village showing how people  lived and worked in Ireland  in the 18th-19th century and how they suffered during the Famine and were evicted from their homes.  Many left Ireland for foreign lands never to arrive at their destinations! A very real but horrific part of Irish history.

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Road Trip – day 2

Day 2: Sunday 9th July

The weather this morning was looking grand as they say in Ireland so I decided to head around the coast to Dingle. Dingle is as far west as you can go in Ireland and is a colourful fishing port with a cosmopolitan style marina.

It was packed with tour buses and tourists galore when I arrived, all clambering to find the best spot for a photo opportunity!  📸📽

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The Dingle peninsula  itself is a beautiful area with a wild rugged coastline of steep cliffs and sandy beaches, where the mountains roll down into the sea (a bit like Newcastle and the Mournes)!

Did you know?

  • Dingle Bay is home to Fungie, a fully grown male bottlenose dolphin known for interacting with humans.
  • Ryan’s Daughter ‘ was filmed on the Dingle peninsula.
  • Dingle is the only town on the Dingle peninsula.

Anyway moving on, we travelled around the Ring of Kerry  stopping at various points of interest including ‘the Lios’. The Lios is basically a “Fairy Fort” or a ringfort and anyone who believes in the fairies  would not dare to alter them! Legend has it that anyone who enters a Lios  between the hours of 1.00 and 5.00 in the morning would not leave the Lios alive! Thankfully I was there in the afternoon…phew!

While we were there, there were several sheep and a horse that took a particular interest in Thunder. I must say she was very well behaved and didn’t frighten them…I think they scared the cr*p out of her though! 🤣🤣

We also visited an ancient Celtic stone settlement along the Slea Head drive from Dingle.  This was a really interesting piece of history which showed the dwelling places of 5 families. It consisted of 5 circles where the families lived, stored their food and hid from enemies. The ancient Druids performed rituals here including human sacrifice 😨 until they slowly converted to Christianity.

This is part of Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula in South West Ireland. Slea Head Drive  is one stunning drive with loads of photo opportunities along the way including Coumeenoole beach.

It’s as well Ireland isn’t  guaranteed ‘summer’ weather otherwise  you wouldn’t be able to move on this beach for tourists!

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Road Trip to Kerry 2017

Day 1: Saturday 8th July

First stop en route to Kerry was  Trim , Co Meath to have breakfast with Rosemary Durken, my BFF (that’s Best Friend Forever) for those not familiar with the terminology!

If you have never been to  Trim put it on your bucket list as it is a heritage town steeped in history.  It was the home of Braveheart  (Mel Gibson)…think tartan skirts and bare legs. 🙈 Braveheart was filmed there because of the medieval Norman castle situated on the River Boyne.

From Trim I cut right across to the west coast to Galway, a 2 hour motorway drive, then down through Ennis where there was a football match and the traffic was backed up causing me to pit stop at a little village  called Clarinbridge  for a coffee and the best Lemon Drizzle cake I have ever tasted.  Back on the road bypassing Limerick towards Tralee and finally hitting the Ring of Kerry.

Glenbeigh   is a delightful little village often referred to as “The Jewel in the Ring of Kerry”. It is famous for its blue flag beach which I still have to visit. (Watch out for it later in the blog). I am staying at the Kerry Ocean Lodge  which is at the start of the village and is dog friendly…a major bonus. 🐶