travel in 2006 Ireland and Wales


The fifth day 26th June(Monday) click on the blue frame picture, you can enlarge it.
today's course   Kenmare --- Ring of Kerry(Sneem, Staigue Fort, Coomakesta Pass, Waterville, Valencia Island,
                         Cahersiveen) --- Muckross House --- Ross Castle --- Gap of Dunloe --- Kenmare
today's distance   314km   today's pedometer   12,200Steps

Harbor View
Big event of that day was Ring of Kerry, which were most hopeful places in our trip. The weather was very beautiful for our long driving.
Ring of Kerry is a circular road to see a lot of beautiful spots around Iveragh Peninsula based in Kenmare and Killarney. The circumference is 170 kilometers that has steep rocky roads and hairpin curve roads along cliffs.
My husband expected exciting driving.
When we entered the dining room at eight o'clock in the morning, many guests were already in the room that was tempted by the sunshine.
The full Irish breakfast was substantial and delicious. Especially the dairy products were sweet. We enjoyed much more milk tea than usual.
In the backyard we saw four playful kittens while their parent stared at them on the stonewall and window frame. Their actions were very adorable.
We had never seen the kittens and their parent inside the house during our two days stay. I think that is proper as an accommodation because cats were tough to deal with for me..

Harbor View Harbor View Harbor View

After we passed through the town center of Kenmare, we drove in N70. Then we began to drive Ring of Kerry. On the left hand side we could see shining Kenmare River in the morning sun and the sharp outline of mountains in Beara Peninsula across the river.
We arrived at Sneem that was awarded a prize for pretty villages before. Colorful houses were surrounded the circus.
I looked for the post to mail the cards that I had written to my family and friends in the night of the previous day. Customarily I looked for the red post. After a while I remembered that the post and post office were both painted green in Ireland.
The green house was just in front of me. ( the first pictures on the left and right ) I bought some cards and stamps.
The shop that was in front of our car parked seemed to be in preparation.
It looked to have a lot of Aran sweaters. We found notices "sale” and "off".
Each sweater had a beautiful peculiar yarn pattern and soft ivory color. Though that village "Sneem" was quite far from Aran Islands, I was interested in that sweater.
Our rule was that we had better to buy something when we were puzzled about if to buy or not.
We went into the shop saying " Good morning!".
We spent much time to choose sweaters in various types. In this winter we will put on the sweater as we remember Sneem and Ireland.

Sneem Sneem Sneem

Staigue Fort
In Castlecove we found the signboard of the way to the Staigue Fort. As I made sure the spot on the map, I watched the "View Point Mark" there. We tried to go there.
After we drove long mountain path and when we began to worry about the position, a round fort made of stone that remained perfect wall could be seen on the hillside.
The height of the wall was 6 meters, the thickness was 4 meters, the diameter was about 30 meters and huge and solid.
A popular belief is that the fort was made in BC.
We entered its small entrance contrary to the huge structure. There was a small room in the wall. We enjoyed the wide beautiful view of Kenmare River on the top of the wall that was narrow and ragged.
There was only a couple except us, so I tried to imagine the living in the ancient times in the quiet stone fort.

Staigue Fort Staigue Fort Staigue Fort

Westcove, Coomakesta Pass
We backed to N70 and went to Westcove、Coomakesta Pass. There was a passage " I couldn't go ahead in The Ring of Kerry if I took a picture every time I saw a beautiful photo spot." in the travel diary of a camera lover. I wanted to agree his remarks.
I felt as if we drove through the fairyland that had emerald green ground, Cobalt Blue Ocean, beautiful pretty islands, pure blue sky, white clouds and little colorful houses that some dwarfs seemed to live in.

Ring of Kerry Ring of Kerry Ring of Kerry Ring of Kerry Ring of Kerry

Waterville, Skellig Ring
Many years ago there was the comic king Charles Chaplin's villa in Waterville, so his full-length statue was in the center of the green belt along the beach.
A lot of tourists took a picture with him one after another.
In the north of Waterville we drove to R567, we would drive Skellig Ring where we could see the world heritage Skellig islands.
We drove unclassified road halfway, but all roads were maintained good condition.
It might be about 10Km to The Skellig Islands from here, but the islands were in the haze due to the too fine weather.
I didn't believe that there were remains of six centuries abbey that was specified as a world heritage in such a small isolated island. (Skellig Michael)
The second picture from the right hand is Puffin Island that is nearer than Skellig islands. Cute birds that was named puffin live in the desert island.
Ireland is situated westernmost in Europe.
We drove westernmost line in Ireland to the north, while we were watching the Atlantic Ocean.
Then we saw the sea that was still and bright marine blue, but if the weather were stormy we wouldn't be able to drive such dangerous area.
At that time I wonder where the westernmost of the world was. It's a rather complicated story.
I finished my thinking and came to the conclusion that point was westernmost place in my life.

Ring of Kerry Ring of Kerry Ring of Kerry Ring of Kerry

It was said that Ring of Kerry was the most popular sightseeing point around there, but the road was not congested with cars. we have heard that coaches went to the same direction, anticlockwise, for the avoidance of the meet of two coaches on the narrow way.
Then we drove clockwise, but we didn't meet any coach. As it was still in the morning, many coaches from Kenmare and Killarney might not have come there yet. Moreover there might be few that come to Skellig Ring.

Valencia Island
After a while we arrived at Portmagee. Valencia Island was just a stone's throw. we drove in the island cross the bridge.
The island seemed to be a gradual emerald green hill. We couldn't find any house except few villages. We could see the main ground over the sea. It was silent without mild breeze.
Knight's Town that was largest in the island had a harbor where the boats ferry people across the sea to Cahersiveen.
There was an unused old church out of the town. At the northern point there was a quarry. We found a white statue of Blessed Mary in the grotto above the rock at the quarry entrance.
It might be curved for the safety of mining.

Valencia Island Valencia Island Valencia Island

There was an unsuitable fountain for quarry beside the entrance. Workers might be comfortable at their break time.
A large machine sounded from the grotto. It might be the sound of the mining of slate. Of course we had to keep out.
We continued our drive. Anywhere we drove to, there was beautiful sea, island and sky. We could see The Skelligislands from the westernmost village, Clynacartan again.
Small Skelligone is Desert Island and there is an abbey ruin in Great Skellig.

Valencia Island Valencia Island Valencia Island Valencia Island

Cahersiveen Cahersiveen

We arrived at Cahersiveen that is the base town for Ring of Kerry as Waterville.
We turned down an alley where there was free parking. We parked there for having lunch nearby.
On the menu there were a lot of seafood, so we chose seafood chowder and Atlantic-Sea-Crab Open-Sandwich. Of course we asked one pint Guinness beer each.
Seafood chowder was hot and rich. Sandwich was filled with crab and delicious sauce. We enjoyed many products from The Atlantic Ocean very much. Thanks a lot.

Ring of Kerry
We continued Ring of Kerry. Though we have heard that the weather was various in the peninsula, but it were lovely and it would be fine all day long.
Sometimes we met coaches drove slowly that accompanied many cars following behind in line.
We had information that Kells Bay was wonderful view that was situated 10km east from Cahersiveen. We drove the narrow lane from N70 to the bay line. We found shining white beach that was quite still Blue Ocean without comfortable breeze from the sea. That was just a natural beauty.
On the way to the east we met a long Viaduct that seemed to have been Gleensk Viaduct of Great Southern and Western Railway from Farranfore to Cahersiveen.
That area might be dismals, so we could find a lot of cotton grasses with white caps waving by the soft wind. I'm excited to see thousands of spontaneous marguerites at the side of the road.
That is one of my most favorite flowers. In my garden marguerite fell down for the swelter and high humidity in the summer. I thought if I could take those seeds to my garden, it would be filled white marguerite. But I couldn't get any seed in that full flower season.

Ring of Kerry Ring of Kerry Ring of Kerry Ring of Kerry Ring of Kerry

Muckross House
Killarney is a large town. We went to straight to Muckross House through the town center, but we couldn't find the entrance gate for the road working.
After we lost much time we found parking for the house where horses and coachman were waiting for the garden visitor. He said that the garden and the house were too far to walk.
We refused his invitation. Muckross House was enough far to walk in the forest and lakeside for over thirty minutes. That was the vast extend estate in the Killarney National Park.
There were various rhododendrons, which were old and large around the lake, but there weren't any flower in that season.

Muckross House Muckross House Muckross House

The house was magnificent and beautiful that The Queen Victoria had once visited.
The watercolor of Lough Leane through the woods wasn't blue but black for peat bog at the bottom of the lake.
We saw Muckross Abbey under repair in the corner of the estate.

Muckross House Muckross House Muckross House

Ross Castle
Radical Ring of Kerry was the course to Kenmare through The Ladies View and Moll's Gap afterward.
The time was too early to go back.
We turned back again to see the Ross Castle on the shore of Lough Leane. The stone castle seemed to be solid. We saw a small boat that a teacher and four high school student were training on the lake. A cabin cruiser was sailing beside it.
I found lovely roses at the side of the parking area.

Ross Castle Ross Castle Ross Castle Ross Castle

Gap of Dunloe
We chose the Gap of Dunloe for our return route.
Gap of Dunloe was the valley surrounded about 800 meters mountains that was situated in the east of the Killarney National Park We drove on N72 and went to the south, then we arrived at Kate Kearney's Cottage.
The cottage was very large that differed from my imagination. That had a many kind of souvenirs.
Usually people park their car at this point and go to the valley with the horse and cart, or by bicycle, or hiking. At the gate there was a signboard written "Unsuitable for Vehicles".
But my husband has perfect confidence in his driving technique, so he decided to go to the gap by car.
He drove the narrow road along the deep valley with swerving in order to avoid a collision with oncoming cars and coaches.
We could see Black Lake, Cushvally Lake, Auger Lake in turn. The water of the Black Lake was actually black for the peat, though it wasn't muddy black but pure.
On the lakeshore horses and sheep were eating grasses easily. We breathed fresh air from full opened windows and felt comfortable with the nature smell.
On the hillside there were a lot of unstable big stones that made me afraid of the rolling on my car.
At the place where we could see Auger Lake, the sky was cut off in triangle. People called the ascent "Stair Way to Heaven". The view was grand that was used to be the scenery in some films. According to our research there seemed to be a bridge called "Wishing Bridge", but we had no wish to see more beautiful view than that.
Oncoming cars decreased gradually, so we enjoyed the mountain driving.
We crossed the pass, went along the Black Valley and we drove for Moll's Gap, but we didn't met any cars and persons.
Gradually we were anxious about the rout to Dunloe. Then we met a car. We asked the driver "Is this the route for Gap of Dunloe ?" He answered with smile "yes”.” For Moll's Gap ?""Yes, you are right". Well, thank god! Let's resume our driving!

Gap of Dunloe Gap of Dunloe Gap of Dunloe Gap of Dunloe Gap of Dunloe

We continued helpless long drive after we had heard that was a right rout and finally we met N71.
Though Ring of Kerry was completely maintained through all routes, but I thought that Ring of Beara was more interesting because of its narrow road.
We come back to the bed & breakfast and rest for a while. It was a nice view to see the cabin cruiser in the bay from the window of our room. We wanted to see Irish Dance and Music on this opportunity.
We asked our landlady about Irish music, then she introduced a hotel in Kenmare. Politely the lady in the reception of the hotel showed us the bar that there might be a performance of Irish music on Monday in it. There was a notice on the door of the bar "Irish music start 21:30". We didn't have dinner there.
We noticed Foley's Restaurant on the same side of that street.
Many tables were occupied with cheerful customers with chattering. We found a space and looked the menu that had fresh oyster. We had a wish to taste fresh oyster in Ireland. Luckily! We enjoyed the dinner to have Crab & Salmon Fishcake and Poached Lamb with Guinness.
The Fresh Oyster was particularly milky and delicious. I completely realized that the oyster was the milk of the sea. We wanted another helping, but the restaurant was too busy to ask another.
We were satisfied to have delicious dinner more than our expectations.

Kenmare Kenmare Kenmare Kenmare

On the way to the Bar "Crumley" I found a shop of linen & lace. It was already 21:30.
I asked the clerk what time the shop was closed. "We usually close at 10 o'clock in the evening" she asked. I bought some table centerpiece for my daughters and myself.
When we came into the Bar Crumley, a woman who came out said "No space." and gave a shrug of her shoulders. The bar was almost flooded with people when I look in. The bar was very small that had only fifteen seats at the counter and fifteen small tables.
Two men and a woman were playing the guitar and viola on the corner at the table. The music was sullen tone and made me us melancholy. It might be Irish music. We watched and listened the music with having one pint glass of Guinness.
Three performers sometimes drank beer and had a chat in the interval of their playing. They seemed to be enjoyed them.
We joined the music with beating time with our hands and drank. That was a wonderful and valuable experience for us.

Kenmare Kenmare Kenmare

Please look at our travel diary with many pictures
to calendar
22nd June
23th June
24th June
25th June
27th June
28th June
29th June
30th June
1st July