Wednesday, 23 July 2014

JULY 2014 : return home to Canberra


After 5 flights and nearly 43 hours we arrived home to the unexpected surprise of all our family at the airport to greet us. The wonderful holiday is over but we have so much to look forward to here as well.


Saturday, 19 July 2014

JULY 2014 : IRELAND : Kerry Way : Day 9 : Kenmare to Killarney

Our final day. Heavy storms overnight caused us to rethink walking if they continued into the morning. Luckily, it was fine and we could continue as planned.  Distance : 26 kms; Weather : fine, humid.


                                Kenmare was absolutely beautiful - and some great shopping!


                                         The only town on the Ring of Kerry into alfresco dining.


             The Kerry Way led us through the town and then straight up Old Killarney Road.

            A steep climb across Strickeen Hill. Back in the glorious Kerry countryside.


We wound our way through the Crinnagh Valley. Some unexpected water crossings as a result of the heavy rain last night.


           Completing the loop


                                        The last section in Killarney National Park



                  Last views of Purple Mountain and the MacGillycuddy Reeks


                                                            Arrival at Torc Waterfall


                                             Happy travellers at Muckross House


                                        The last section into the town of Killarney 


                                 The Flesk River, the unofficial start and finish of the Kerry Way


 A welcome Guinness - my first full pint - and farewell to our wonderful friends, Maugie and John, as they return to Galway and we to Australia after a most memorable holiday.


JULY 2014 : IRELAND : Kerry Way : Day 8 : Sneem to Kenmare

Today we walked from Sneem to Kenmare. As it turned out it was the longest day (30 kms) and the one with the least interesting terrain. Initially there was some misty rain but it was mainly fine and extremely humid. We began walking at 9.30 and didn't reach our destination until 7pm.


Maureen and Joe were friendly hosts. Both Irish, they both met in the US, lived there for 20 years before returning to establish their business in Sneem. A very common story of many of our B&B contacts. It seems to be the Irish rite of passage.


                                       Leaving Sneem we crossed the bridge over the river.


 These huge Gunera plants have run rampant along the track. This is our take on an Anne Geddes photo - I'm sitting in for the baby.


The Department of Conservation and Wildlife have commandeered this old building specifically for the preservation of bats, known as a Bat Roosting Site.


        One of the rare sightings of the southern coast looking towards the Beara Peninsular.


Along the bush track we came across the Brushwood Studios Art Gallery. Jo-Anne Yelen is one of the resident artists. She spent several years in Mt Tamborine in Queensland.


                                                      An abandoned cottage


                            Much of the day was spent on long straight tracks and minor roads.


The final 5 kms included a 510m ascent to Gortamullen, which took 2 hours. Maugie and John took the flatter route along the road. At last views of Kenmare as we descend into the town.



                     Kenmare is a thriving tourist town and a favourite centre on the Ring of Kerry.


                  Hawthorn House our B&B for the night, actually B,B&B - bed,breakfast and bath!

                                 Lively atmosphere at night - most pubs had music.


      We ate at Foleys. All delighted with our meal choices. Exhausted but happy with our effort today.


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

JULY 2014 : IRELAND : Kerry Way : Day 7 : Caherdaniel to Sneem

Today we walked between Caherdaniel and Sneem, around the coast and through three valleys.
Distance : 23 kms; Weather : fine


                     Breakfast at the Derrynane Hotel with views back towards Caherdaniel.


We started today on an old road called the Butter Road which was used to transport butter by donkey  and cart to Cork for export to England. It was also reputedly the route Daniel O'Connell took in the early nineteenth century to promote his Irish Catholic cause for the right to sit in the British parliament.

              Walking the Butter Road around the base of Coad Mountain


                                                   The view to Cove Harbour


   Mark and I made a detour to Staigue Fort, another excellent Celtic ringfort. It is 2500 years old


 It is 27m in diameter, 5.5m high and the walls are 4m thick. It was probably a nobleman's home


                                 An artist's impression of Staigue Fort in its heyday


Back on the trail we met up with 2 girls, American and Irish, who have been walking at the same time as us. Their mothers attended college together and now they are good friends. Delightful company as we climbed another hill into another valley.


Much of the country today was pine forest (owned by a Norwegian company), sheep pasture and bog.


At the end of a 3 km tarred road we came to the outskirts of Sneem and the wonderful B&B owned by Maureen Murphy (a Galway lass, much to John's delight). A welcome cup of tea on the terrace.

                                The busy town of Sneem by local artist, Jo-Ann Yelen.


JULY 2014 : IRELAND : Kerry Way : Day 6 : Waterville to Caherdaniel


           Today we walked on a coastal path from Waterville to Caherdaniel.
           Distance : 13 km ; Weather : mild and overcast


         Mural of Charlie Chaplin just across the road from the Butler's Arms where he used to stay


           Thought for the day on a seat on the promenade


                                 A house, on our way out of the town, with a forge dated 1691.


               Leaving Ballybrack as we follow the Kerry Way with Beenarouke (304m) in the distance


             As we ascend the path we have great views of houses on the peninsular


            Fantastic example of a ringfort - early Medieval period.


                                           Views of the Skellig Islands in the distance


            Neolithic or Bronze Age burial stones. Cremated bodies and artefacts in a communal plot.


             Lots of stiles as we pass through private property, mainly sheep and cattle pasture


           Each bay had its own charm. This is Derrynane Harbour.


              The path then led us through shady groves until we reached Caherdaniel.



              We stopped at this popular pub in Caherdaniel for warming vegetable soup.

             Tonight we are staying at a big family holiday hotel on the coast, The Derrynane Hotel.


               There is an outdoor pool, sauna etc but Maugie and I opted for the seaweed bath.


             Meanwhile the tough Irish swim in the pool as the mist comes in....