Over Easter, Rob and I took the very quick flight from London to Dublin and then hopped in a car to drive to the west coast. We were amazingly awake after waking up at 3:40 a.m. to catch our early flight and were out of the car doing a short walk by early afternoon. We checked out the Torc Waterfall loop in Killarney National Park. It was lush and green and did not disappoint. Later we opted for a drive recommended by Bernice at the B&B. I successfully got us completely lost and hours later we rolled into a town on fumes (yep, nearly empty gas tank). Fun! But things improved quickly. As the sun came out in the evening we had the most amazing views of the Magillicuddy Reeks (mountain range). The next day we felt well-rested and ready for a longer walk. We decided to hike to the top of one of the small mountains out on the Ring of Kerry. It was challenging to say the least. Stunning scenery, unpredictable weather and then a trek ‘off-trail’ (because we lost the trail). Later, we were able to laugh about the field covered in long, straw-colored grass that concealed massive holes everywhere you stepped. I went hip-deep into one and Rob couldn’t even see me!
The next night we stayed in Kenmare. This was such a sweet little town and I put together a pre-dinner spread of local cheese, home-baked bread and a nice red wine (not Irish, thankfully). We got to bed early and headed further south along the coast to our final stop—the Sheepshead Peninsula. This was going to be our longest walk. After struggling a bit to find the trailhead we set off at the furthest point and made our way back along the northern coast. What a gorgeous walk and loads of sunshine. The coastline is very rugged and beautiful. The last part of the loop brought us along a mountain ridge to the starting point. We successfully did not get blown over the edge and rewarded ourselves with tea and scones. After a large dinner that night at ‘The Snug’ in Bantry, we slept like babies. Day two on the Sheepshead Peninsula had us, at the advice of the B&B owner Mr. Crowley, take a drive on a teeny road to begin a looped walk that would let us go along the northern coast to see parts that we hadn’t seen the day before. After that shorter loop we drove to the top of one of the other mountains and walked up to check out the view. Sustained gale force winds made me change my mind about that walk, and we retreated down the hill to a pub for Guinness and burgers.
For our very last night, we decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner at O’Connor’s in Bantry. (Yes, every place has an appropriately authentic Irish name. Don’t confuse O’Connor’s the restaurant with O’Connor’s Chiropractic Clinic). We ordered a nice wine and tucked in to local seafood including mussels, scallops and lobster. During the meal we chatted with a lovely couple next to us who were visiting her parents (the grandparents were babysitting their 3 kids so these two could have a nice evening out). As they were leaving, Rob went up to pay the bill—only to discover that this couple had paid for us before they left! What a way to end a trip!
3 years ago