Wednesday, August 23
Yesterday, after a wonderful weekend on Lowlands with friends, lots of music and fun, but also little sleep, it was time to travel. After the usual traffic jams around Antwerp and the chaos at the tunnel, we find shelter at The Bear Hotel in Hungerford. A beautiful old cottage style inn.
This morning breakfast at 7:30 am and then on the road to the west. On the way a stop at Pentre Ifan, a prehistoric site, where a 16-tonne stone rests on three standing large stones. Because the lying stone rests on the tips of the three other stones, it almost seems to float. To get there, we have to take the last stretch of nice little back roads. Narrow roads with large hedges on both sides and sometimes a tunnel through the greenery. Beautiful. In Fishguard we are right on time and can board the boat almost immediately. Get some fresh air on deck and a greasy lunch. Off the boat in Rosslare and we arrive in Ireland. We drive towards Dublin and get out of the car at Enniscorthy Castle. An old castle, although rebuilt at the beginning of the last century, but still funny. We do a tour through the village, past the church and the houses and then continue towards Waterford, where we spend the night. Grab a bite at Geoff’s Bar in the pub district, on the recommendation of the receptionist.
Thursday morning we explore the historic center of Waterford. The cathedral of gray natural stone, the bishop’s palace and some bronze chairs of Norman figures in the park. Walk through the streets to the river where a beautiful replica of a Viking boat stands next to Reginald’s Tower from the 13th century. We continue touring and follow the road east and arrive in a small village near the ferry to Ballyhack. The weather is sunny and we follow the coastline through the rolling countryside. Duncannon Fort is still closed. A short visit to Booley Bay Beach with its beautiful sandy beach between the rocky coast. A little further we arrive at one of the oldest working lighthouses in the world, Hook Lighthouse. A large black and white striped tower from the Middle Ages. Four meter thick walls and where a fire used to burn on top, the light now rotates. In the sun it is wonderful to walk around and enjoy the view. More people think this and it is quite busy in the parking lot and in the playground. Fortunately, around the building itself, it is not too bad. Lunch with coffee and a hearty slice of pie and then over the rocks to the sea. Beautiful. Via Fethard and New Ross and over the historic bridge in Inistioge. At Thomastown the road turns out to be closed and we have to drive through the inlands to Jerpoint Abbey. This old monastery is a ruin, but still nice to walk through the building and the cloister garden. Here and there some faded statues and sculptures can still be admired. The last stop is Kilkenny and this place has more to offer than the beer of the same name. The castle has been used for a long time, so that it has a 19th and early 20th century decoration. The ornamental garden with roses and a fountain brighten up the gray castle, as does the huge park with perfectly mown lawn. The town itself is nice and on the square there is a demonstration for Ukraine with speeches and singing. We go for a bite to eat in the former bank building, Left Bank, and when we come out again the Ukrainian happening is still going on. An unavoidable visit to Sullivan’s Taproom tonight.
Friday’s first stop is Rock of Cashel. An old ruin on a rock next to the village. Park and walk up the hill. The old stone buildings used to be an important cathedral of the Irish Church. It is idyllic and the view is beautiful. After taking the necessary pictures we travel further via Cork to the coast in the south and along the coast road towards Skibbereen. At the Harbor Bar in Leap we have lunch with a sandwich and soup, lovely in the sun. Continue along the coast and scenic route to Mizen Head. We walk to the signal house on the most southwestern point of Ireland. The wind is strong, but the view makes it more than worth it. Today we end in Ballylickey, in the Seaview Hotel, a beautiful old ‘English’ country house with ditto furnishings.
Saturday after breakfast we follow the coast to the north and from Kenmare we do the Ring of Kerry. A beautiful road through the rugged landscape along the coast. Several viewpoints along the route give a glimpse of the sea. At Lamb’s Head we drive on a small road further up the peninsula. Along a campsite, with a spacious sandy beach, and some residential houses. The mountains here are purple with yellow from the heather and gorse. Along the road, red hedges of fuchsias, here and there also orange bromeliads and other flowering plants. Wonderful. Continue along the rocky mountains with the beautiful flowers. The necessary viewpoints later we arrive at the Kerry Cliffs. A footpath leads to the coast and offers a magnificent view of the cliffs. Both sides are beautiful. We almost blow away, but it’s worth it. At Killorglin we turn off and go to Killarney. Along the way we meet cyclists who are busy with the Hardman.ie triathlon. Always overtaking a cyclist and riding behind one again on these narrow roads. In Killarney we visit Ross Castle on the lake. Beautiful place and a beautifully restored castle. It starts to rain, so we take shelter under a tree. A little later it is dry again and we continue. A little further along the route we walk through a park to the Muckross Abbey. We can enter this ruin and the old monastery garden has a large tree in the middle, which provides a nice picture. A little further on is Muckross House, an old house from 1843 with a huge ornamental garden. The house is still furnished from that time and a route leads past all rooms. The hunting room and dining room, with chic service, are not missing. The rose garden through and through the stone garden along the greenhouses. Not much further we take a short walk to the Torc Waterfall. Here the white sparkling water comes down along the rocks. Then a scenic route through the mountains to Kenmare and on to the hotel in Lissivigeen.