Celtic Discovery

Day 12 - April 4, 2004 - Ring of Kerry - Sightseeing

After a nice leisurely Sunday breakfast we met the rest of our group for a driving tour of the Ring of Kerry. Jerry brought the van to pick us all up at 9 AM, a partly sunny morning - again a few light showers that we are getting used to.

We made a short detour to Aghadoe where we had an overlook of the surrounding area and the lake. There were two large tour buses in the car park and as they were getting into their buses, the clouds broke loose and we had a very heavy rain storm.

As we are not on a tight time schedule, we sat in the bus for a while to wait out the storm. After a few minutes we took a brief walk to the overlook to take a few pictures of the lake.

This country is Ireland's best-known scenic route that traces the coast of the Iveragh Peninsula. There is always something new to appreciate in the combination of ocean, islands, mountains, light, and ever- changing weather patterns. We passes many fields of sheep - a beautiful contrast on the green pastures.

We started the day heading for Killorglin, where an elegant eight-arched bridge crosses the River Laune, a famous salmon stream. Then we traveled on a road that descended from high above the bay to the water's edge at Kells, an attractive fishing village with panoramic viewing points. On the way out of town, Jerry showed us his family farm and his new home.

Our next stop was at the Bog Village where we were able to see the process of cutting the peat from the bog that they would use for fuel for their homes. We were offered an Irish Coffee at the Red Fox Inn, a nice treat on this rainy and cold morning.

At 10:45 we were back on the road and the next stretch was one of the highlights of the Ring, with outstanding views of the Blasket Islands and the Dingle Peninsula. We stopped several times to see the streams, green pastures, old stone homesteads, and the bright yellow gorse, an evergreen like plant that has yellow blooms.

Because this is Jerry’s homeland, he knows many of the people and unique stories of the area which is famous for hikers and anglers. At one time, there was a railroad line that tunneled through the hills and along the cliffs, Great Southern and Western Railway Line.

There is talk of a bike path being build on the old roadbed but nothing has come of it so far. It would be a great tourist incentive as the roads are very narrow and not hospitable to peddlers.

We stopped for lunch at the Smugglers Inn at Waterville, a beautiful guesthouse by the sea, where, after lunch, we had time to stretch our legs for half an hour.

After lunch we were on our way to the highest point of the Ring of Kerry where we were able to look over both sides of the mountain ridge. In Caherdaniel we made another slight detour to see an actual oghms stone in the field next to a marsh. These were ancient markers with pre-Gaelic alphabet slashes on a tall vertical stone.

We made a brief stop at Sneem where we used the restrooms and have a look Hickey’s Music Company, a well know place to buy Irish music and even some of the traditional sounds.

As we returned to Killarney, our mini bus took us through Moll's Gap and Ladies View, where we are rewarded with outstanding vistas of the valleys, lakes and Killarney in the far distance.

Our last stop was back in the Killarney National Park at Torc Waterfalls where we hiked to the top of the falls to see the water cascading down mossy rocks. Many of the traditional leprechaun stories take place in these mossy and fern covered oak forests.

We were back to our guest house by 4:30. We will leave here tomorrow morning so it was time to sort dirty clothes and plan for our last day in Ireland tomorrow. We had dinner at 6:30 at the Friar’s Glen and were back in our rooms by 8:30.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner - Friars Glen Hotel

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