Monday, 19 October 2015

Ireland on the road, Pt 4 – Killarney to Castlehaven

I can’t get enough of outdoors Ireland. I loved Connemara and the whole of County Claremont,  and today I had the pleasure to drive along the Ring of Kerry. It was magnificent. I was in awe every kilometre of the way. 

We started our day at Killarney castle but as we spent the majority of our previous days in castles I felt I had enough for the time being. It had a great lake in its back yard where people got on boat rides but at the front the stench of horse excrements from the front where the carriages were parked so I was not to insistent on sticking around. 

Instead I was eager to hit the road and see the famed ring. It wasn’t long before I was happy with my decision. Glorious mountain rocks plunged suddenly into the ocean and we had a front row seats to this sight. A narrow windy road took us higher and closer to the edge of the hills until the whole world seemed well bellow us, caressed by the sea waves. We’d pull over every so often so we could creep in as close to the edge as we’d dare to or we’d run up the cliffs by the road chasing semi-wild sheep.

We weren’t so lucky to get on the ferry across to Valentia island as the service had ended for the year (clear information online was not available, there was a 50-50 chances it may or may not be still running). Instead we drove back to Ballycarbery Castle and it proved a true gem. It is ruins of a castle with no one around to ticket you or tell you not to climb on it. So we did and it was awesome, the truest way a modern person can be close to a castle from the Middle ages.

All of the villages and towns on the way were really quaint, painted in various colours and decorated with colourful bunting. My favourite one had a little sheep’s market/fair in the centre. It seemed like different owners had brought in their sheep and placed them along the main street. I am not sure if actual commerce took place but children and adults (and me) were happy to go close and pet the animals. 

Toward the end of the Ring we took south in search of Bantry house. I had expectations of a red brick manor with a gorgeous garden nested at the bottom of a long flight of steps, and my expectations were met. What is more, as it is the end of the season (or past it), there were very few people around and we wondered in for free. But just as there are great positives to travelling off season so there are negatives – the ground’s up keeping was not absolutely top-notch and the house itself was closed. But you get the bad with the good just like with anything else. Still, I didn’t mind any of those. The red climbing bush and chipped ceramic vases made me perfectly happy.


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