Kenmare and the Ring of …

On the road again.

We went out of our way to stop at the town of Kinsale and have lunch.

However, we shortened our stay on Kinsale because of rain and headed off to our place in Kenmare.

After grocery shopping we stopped at a pub for clam chowder.

The following day we did the Ring of Beare (south of the Ring of Kerry – sometimes called the ‘other’ Ring). First stop was an archaeological site but it was pouring rain so we decided to skip that.

On the way out, we missed a turn but Google is happy to re-calculate, sometimes sending you miles out of your way. We decided to take a chance and ended up on a track with grass growing in the centre with the following sign.

It clearly was not the main road. It appeared to be used by sheep farmers and it took us up the ‘mountain’ and down the other side. it was quite the adventure – especially when we did meet a sheep farmer in a large car and tried to pass.

We finally found a spot where we could pass and we stopped and chatted. She apparently wins all the local sheep sheering contests and had lots to say about that. We also asked her about the colour of the sheep which had die in red and/or blue. Apparently, several sheep farmers used the same grazing area. Her sheep had red splotches of die on them – 450 in all.

We finally did arrive at Priest’s Leap which is located at the top of the mountain.

Legend has it that a priest on horseback pursued by soldiers made a miraculous escape by leaping off a cliff at this spot.

Along the way there was some beautiful scenery, including a few waterfalls.

Our next stop was Castletownbere, one of the largest fishing ports in Ireland. We had lunch at Murphy’s.

From there we went to Lamb’s Head.

At the very tip of Lamb’s Head is Ireland’s only cable car that transports people and animals to and from Dursey Island.

Our second day in Kenmare we did the part of the Ring of Kerry between Kenmare and Killarney. That involves going over Molls gap (gap in Ireland is what we call a pass).

We stopped at Muckross House.

We were going to tour the gardens but it started to pour so we got back in the car and moved on to Ross Castle. Originally built in the 15th century by the leader of the O’Donoghue clan – O’Donoghue Mór (Big O’Donoghue I assume since mór is Gaelic for big). Legend has it that O’Donoghue still exists in a deep slumber under the waters of Lough Leane. On the first morning of May every seven years he rises from the lake on his magnificent white horse and circles the lake. Anyone catching a glimpse of him is said to be assured of good fortune for the rest of their lives.

The Castle eventually came into the hands of the Brownes. Ross Castle was the last stronghold in Munster to hold out against Cromwell. It was eventually taken by General Ludlow in 1652. At the end of the wars, the Brownes were able to show that their heir was too young to have taken part in the rebellion and they retained the lands.

From there we headed to lunch at Cronin’s in Killarney which left us well satisfied.

After lunch we went over to the Killarney House and Gardens for a walk.

The next day we headed in the opposite direction on the Ring of Kerry. We decided to do the south portion and maybe leave the north part for another day.

Our first stop was an old round stone fort, in the hills above the town of Castlecove. It would have been pre-Christian – early AD – made of stone with no mortar. The walls are about 6 metres high and 4 metres thick with a diameter of about 30 metres. The fort was built very high up on the hill so as to be able to see anyone coming from a long ways away.

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Further down the road, there were a number of viewpoints that overlooked beaches and farm country.

We drove over to Waterville to have lunch but a lot of buses congregate in that town and the restaurant we chose was full of bus passengers. Instead, we drove over to Cahersiveen and had a trout dinner (very good) in a nice quiet pub.

After lunch we took the ferry over to Valentia Island, traversed the island then back to the main land by bridge. We stopped at the Cliffs of Kerry to take a look.

Below a photo of cattle grazing on the land above the cliffs.

Below – looking back towards Valentia Island.

By the time we finished wandering above the cliffs, it was 5 pm – time to head back to Kenmare.

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