I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Friday, 8 July 2011

Kenmare And Killarney: Passing Through

From Bantry we drove a long and winding way to Kenmare - over the Healy Pass on the Beara Peninsula. It was truly wild. There was little traffic. The mountain landscape was breathtaking. Halfway up, a gap-toothed cattle drover flagged down our car. I lowered the window and he thrust an arm inside. We shook hands. 'Welcome to Ireland!' he greeted us. He wanted to know all about us - where we were from, where we were going, what we thought of Ireland. Here's the serpentine road we followed ... 







Finally we reached Killarney and heard live music again in the pubs at night. The next day we parked up at Kate Kearney's Cottage. We'd expected an old-fashioned, white-walled, thatch-roofed cottage, complete with spinning wheel, cheesemaker and rickety wooden furniture. Instead we found a smart restaurant and gift shop with a coach park outside. Declining the pushy offers of a scenic jaunting car trip, we set off on foot to the Gap of Dunloe ...




Despite the occasional jaunting car and pony and trap careering alarmingly from behind, this was a lovely and peaceful valley in the shadow of Ireland's highest mountain range, Macgillycuddy's Reeks. I wished I could have climbed some of those shapely summits, but it wasn't possible this time ...




Instead we stayed low and sauntered up the pass, captivated by the orchids and other rare wild flowers growing among the rocks and in the boggy places by the stream. Here was Nature at Her most beautiful and harmonious ...


10 comments:

ds said...

Oh, I have made this trip (last fall). Came from Ruth's because I could not ignore your title. Breathtaking. Thank you for the memories.

ksam said...

Ahh the urge to just walk into that first one...

Dan Gurney said...

What a drive! Unforgettable. The tunnels up near the summit. Wow. Like ds said, thanks for the memories.

Grace said...

I love the photo with the bridge.

Sabine said...

When I came to Ireland for the first time a long long time ago, I cycled to almost all of these places. Later on when we lived in Cork, this was our Sunday afternoon territory.
Thanks for the pictures and memories.

George said...

Yes, this is such a lovely spot of the world. I have driven that serpentine road and remember it well!

Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

I love the photo with the bridge as well. I think the Beara Peninsula was my favourite area in Ireland- though hearing music in a small pub in Kilkenny (where some of my ancestors came from) was pretty special as well.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Good photos Robert - we are now seriously considering going back after seeing them.

The Solitary Walker said...

I'm glad this seems to have rekindled a few happy memories for everyone!

I loved the Beara Peninsula too, Kiwi. I think I would also have really liked the Dingle - but the weather was difficult (streaming rain, high winds, poor visibility) and the narrow road to Slea Head was flooded and we had to turn back.

Ruth said...

Me too, me too. I've been through the Gap of Dunloe thrice now, on jaunty cars each time. Some of the best memories of my life.