Bantry to Kenmare

Trip Start Jun 13, 2011
Trip End Jun 22, 2011

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Flag of Ireland  , County Kerry,
Saturday, June 18, 2011

Final breakfast at Dromcloc House was delicious but no choices out of the ordinary as the travelers are getting used to Irish breakfasts.

Anchoress collected us at 8:30 and off we went, trying desperately to keep up with her in her little green car. I may have some of the places we visited out of order, but I think I got them all.

Two different places between our B&B and Bantry are marked with those little brown signs; these said Lady Well and Mass Rock. Up another boreen we went and sure enough this time we did land in a farmer's lot. He just happened to be walking past with an armload of hay and stopped for a nice chat. Per his instructions, back up the hill, parking in his home's car park, past the laundry and through the gates, climbing through barb wire (not a new experience for this old farm girl nor obviously for Anchoress) and through electric fencing. The farmer had assured us that it was not electrified at the moment but we checked to make sure! Up a bit of a hill and then down to a lovely Mass rock decorated with much statuary and overlooked by a beautiful Marian statue. The Holy Well, as usual, contained a number of coins.

Next stop, a ruined church, cemetery and another Holy Well at Kilmocomage. This Holy Well is much more decorated and stylized.

Carriganass Castle in Kealkill was a new one on me. Not much left of the castle but very evocative. A nice little river runs past. Castle grounds well kept.

Future Forests outside of Kealkill is a wonderful garden centre where Anchoress does them the service of taking their offcuts and slightly shopworn plants and giving them a home with tender loving care. The girls helped her load up today's choices and we bought her a rosebush just because they were so pretty. Our first experience with a composting loo!

Also near Kealkill we drove up and down another boreen until we realized that that last sign we just passed had been pointing the way we had already come. Once we got Anchoress flagged down ("Why didn't you hoot?") and turned around we found what we had been looking for. We did find a young man working on the road who explained that times were hard and so they can't afford many signs. A more likely explanation is that lads coming home from the pubs find it most amusing to dispose of them. Any road.....parked by a gate covered with Signs of Dire Warning: Wild Bull! Travel at Your Own Risk. Etc. The agriculture major among us (along with the old farm girl) studied the land and discounted the prospect of us meeting that Wild Bull. So off we went through another gate and over a stile, this one guarded by a huge mudhole that we somehow managed to skirt.  All this was rewarded with a stone circle and a magnificent view of the area for miles and miles around.

Last stop with Anchoress....Gougane Barra monastic site. What a gem on a lake surrounded by mountains! There was a wedding going on in the little chapel but when the bride came out in a very skimpy dress into the very chilly day, the party didn't linger to take many photos but bundled in their cars and headed for town! We explored the grounds, finding ruins (chapel?), Stations of the Cross, and another Holy Well. We stopped into the chapel for a few minutes of quiet prayer.

There is a hotel right across the way which has a lovely little tearoom. We had soup, bread, sandwiches, tea and hot chocolate. Just right for a chilly day. And of course dessert all around.

After bidding Anchoress a fond and sad good-bye we headed off toward Killarney but Ross Castle was closed for the day and somehow we missed Torc Waterfall altogether.  But the drive through Caha Pass was worth the aggravation.

Into Kenmare to our new home, Caha's Bed and Breakfast, clean and lovely and with a room on the ground floor for Granny and her elderly knees. The other three shared a room upstairs.

Dinner at Charcoal Steakhouse where D & A finished in time to walk down the street to Mass at Holy Cross Church, leaving M and Granny behind to finish eating and pay the check! M & G did some window shopping and actually bought a few gifts for unfortunates who didn't get to come on the trip. Then after we reunited in the church car park we stopped at SuperValu for tea (in boxes) just as the "mall" was closing.
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