Written by atherts on 08 Jun, 2006
Dursey Island lies at the southwest end of the Beara Peninsula. The island is separated from the mainland by a narrow stretch of water called Dursey Sound, which has a very strong tidal activity. The water swirls in and is quite spectacular to watch. With…Read More
Dursey Island lies at the southwest end of the Beara Peninsula. The island is separated from the mainland by a narrow stretch of water called Dursey Sound, which has a very strong tidal activity. The water swirls in and is quite spectacular to watch. With only a few permanent wintertime residents, the island is one of the quietest in Ireland area with no pubs, shops or restaurants. There is no accommodation on the island so unless you have prior arrangements or wish to camp, make it a day trip. Dursey Island, which is only 6.5km long and 1.5km wide, provides the tourist with some lovely walks and breathtaking views of the nearby West Cork coastline.The island is about 15 miles from Castletownbere, but will take awhile to drive on the narrow roads. You’ll probably want to stop often to view the scenery along the way. Ireland’s only cable car was opened in 1969. It runs at about 250 m. above sea level and the 250m trips takes about six minutes. The car can take up to six people at a time or one large animal. No cars allowed and you may have to share the ride with smaller animals. The cable car operates between 9-11am, 2.30-5.00pm and 7-8pm. Different hours apply on alternate Sundays due to Mass. Check locally for details.The island appears to have been inhabited at least back to the Bronze Age judging from archaeological digs. Kilmichael church was built on the island built by monks from nearby Skellig, but little remains except stones now.The inhabitants of the island suffered a massacre from the English under Queen Elizabeth in 1602 when many of the captured were thrown over the high cliffs on the island.Dursey Island was home to Dermot O'Sullivan. He and his allies, the McSweenys, fought the English during the Desmond rebellion as well as the later Munster wars. Most of his sons were killed during the wars. He and his wife sought refuge in Coruna, Spain. He lived to be one hundred years old and he and his wife were buried at the Franciscan Monastery in Coruna.Thirty years ago after the collapse of the fishing industry, the government relocated the islanders to the mainland. The remains of the island's three villages can be explored, giving an insight into lives of the people at the time. The island is also well known for bird watching and has many colonies of birds. Close
Written by atherts on 24 Aug, 2004
Leaving Kenmare on the way out to the Beara peninsula, you will have to watch closely for the sign to the stone circle. The road forks to the left at the sign. You’ll probably drive by and have to circle back. There is another fork…Read More
Leaving Kenmare on the way out to the Beara peninsula, you will have to watch closely for the sign to the stone circle. The road forks to the left at the sign. You’ll probably drive by and have to circle back. There is another fork a little way down the road that makes a turnaround easier. If you reach the town of Ardgroom, you need to backtrack about 2km.Taking the left fork at the sign marked Ardgroom Stone Circle will put you on a gravel road, barely big enough for one car. Proceed up the road and as it splits left and right, keep to the left. Go slowly as the road is full of rocks and ruts. It appears to be little more than a tractor path as there are no houses visible. Keep going up the road and stay to the left. The road ends in a fenced in area.Park here and put on your pasture shoes and get your camera. Lock up the car as you’ll be well out of sight of it for a while. Rain gear would be advisable if the sky looks at all threatening.There may or may not be a charge for access depending on the time of year. If there is a box near the gate, please put in a couple of Euro as it helps maintain the site. Clean up after yourself as well as this is in someone's field.Climb over the steps next to the gate to the West and proceed up the hill and across the field to your right. You should see a path of flat rocks and bricks laid across the field to the next hill where the circle is. You may be able to see part of it from where you are standing. You are basically heading West to the best of my recollection, perhaps northwest.Watch out for the cows and their residue as you cross the field. It was a bit swampy as we crossed it, and might be much worse after a rain. The cows seemed to be a bit concerned about our presence, probably because there were several young calves. We passed by them without incident, but on the return trip they had moved and were directly on the stone path. We had to walk through them to get back. One dark brown cow was very aggressive in its posture, but did nothing.At the top of the hill you can easily see the stone circle as well as a spectacular view of the peninsula and the Kenmare River estuary.The Ardgroom Stone Circle measures about 24 feet in diameter. It contains nine stones upright and two prostrate. The gate is formed by two stones of about six foot in height towards the North - Northeast. The stones are unusual in that they taper to a point. Within 20 feet of the circle an outside stone six feet in height is not towards the center as in the other sites, but tangential towards the south edge of the circle.There are excellent photographic opportunities in all directions. In particular look towards the patchworked hills behind the circle towards the estuary. Take some pictures from the ground level, through the circle. I would recommend visiting in early morning or late afternoon to take advantage of more dramatic light. Close
Written by atherts on 25 May, 2006
Off to a Sunday morning adventure about a hundred miles from where we’re staying. A bit ambitious since we just arrived in Clonakilty Co. Cork yesterday after a good deal of driving. We’d promised that we’d have dinner with some folks we’d met last year…Read More
Off to a Sunday morning adventure about a hundred miles from where we’re staying. A bit ambitious since we just arrived in Clonakilty Co. Cork yesterday after a good deal of driving. We’d promised that we’d have dinner with some folks we’d met last year in Castletownbere when we ate at their restaurant. My wife had struck up conversation with the daughter, had given her a Catholic School Girls Rule T-shirt that resulted in correspondence and an invitation to dinner this year. We’d arranged to show up around 1 to 2pm, giving us time for a semi leisurely drive.
Along the way we passed numerous picturesque sites from a stone bridge along a lake to a boat yard with a variety of boats in various states of dissolution. We drove through Drimoleague, Bantry, Glengarriff and then the R572 towards Castletownbere.
The drive towards Castletownbere follows the coastline. There is little development or buildings other than small villages and occasional houses. The Caha mountains rise to the right, and to the left the sun sparkles on Bantry bay.We stopped for gas outside of Castletownbere in about the most expensive place we were to find out. Castletownbere is a small town right on the water with a thriving tourist and fishing industry. The town is very pretty with brightly painted shops and neat houses and streets. We parked in the town center square and walked over to Jack Patrick’s Restaurant. They appeared closed up, but a knock at the door brought them all out and welcoming us in. They had closed down on Sunday now that the tourist season was coming to a close, but had been busy none the less. A fabulous lunch of cold salmon, crab, and chicken sandwiches was brought out and we ate and got acquainted. We’d enjoyed the food last time we were here, but the sandwiches were a whole new dimension in Irish cuisine! After lunch they wanted to take us on a tour of the Beara Peninsula. We all piled in their car and made quite a load with the five of us. We headed back east and took the road to Healy pass. The car chugged along while the ladies chatted in the back and the men did the same up front. Between the Cork accents and American accents I’m sure there was something lost in translation, but the general meanings remained intact.
Somehow the car made it to the top of Healy Pass with three Americans stuffed full of sandwiches. At the top of Healy Pass we parked along the road and got out to admire the view. To the south you can see Bantry Bay and the winding road we arrived by. To the north is the Kenmare Estuary with several lakes in the foreground. In the distance is the lower part of the Ring of Kerry. The view in this direction had much more green patches and was quite a contrast. There is a small gift shop at the top of the pass and lots of information about the history of the area.Back in the car we began the descent down the other side of the pass. The view on the south side has much more greenery and water. Eventually we came to a fork in the road. To the east is Kenmare, to the west is Ardgroom. We headed west and out along the coastline. We took some back routes and shortcuts that we couldn’t hope to remember let alone reproduce here. At some point we ended up along a high point on the coast. We pulled over and ahead was a small cottage nestled along the shore with a green sweep of mountain above and the sun sparkling on the waves. The view was spectacular no matter where you looked. I believe this was along the main road as we went on further there was a narrow gap between a house and barn that the road passed through. We were told that tour buses had problems getting through this spot because it was so narrow.
We continued on through spectacular countryside and ended up at the end of the peninsula. At the tip is the Dursey Island Cable Car, the only one in Ireland. It takes up to six people or one person and a cow, across to Dursey Island. There are only a few people living there, but quite a bit of livestock judging from their leavings on the ground. The cable car passed above churning water that looked like an impossibility to navigate with a boat. The water seems to swirl in from both directions and created what looked like whirlpools and giant swirling eddys. I think if I had to go over that suspended on a cable I’d soil the ground as well. We didn’t go over on the cable car. Either it wasn’t running on a Sunday or the operator was out for lunch.
We headed back and back around and back east on the main road. There are scattered houses throughout the hillsides, but the area has a very low population. As we went further east the population seemed to increase. We were taken to see Puxley Manor which was under renovation as a four-star hotel. Seemed a bit premature to assume the rating, but who were we to question? It had been in use up until the 1920s when it was burned by the IRA. Nearby was Dunboy Castle and this was of more interest as it was built by the O’Sullivans which is a family name on my wife’s side. The castle lies down a long drive past Puxley Manor. We parked and got out and a short walk led to a pile of ruins with a wonderful view of the water through trees and greenery. There are plaques on the wall of the ruins commemorating some deaths, but little else showing recent work. The castle was built back in the 14th century and must have been an important part of the community and landscape. It was accidentally blown up (how does that happen?) by Dermot O’Sullivan Beare in 1549 and then rebuilt. In 1602 the castle was attacked by the British in the Siege of Dunboy, eventually it fell, the inhabitants executed and the castle blown up again.
We took a lot of pictures, and my wife took a lot of teasing about the family and some of the black sheep therein. Continuing on towards Castletownbere we took a sudden unexplained detour. We wound up a narrow, rutted road and at one point we thought we’d lost the entire exhaust system from the car. Evidently the car didn’t usually ride that low. I chalk it up to the sandwiches. Eventually we reached an interesting compound of sorts. We were told this was a Buddhist commune. There wasn’t a lot of information, it didn’t seem to be to active, but perhaps it wasn’t the tourist season for Buddhists. They had a great view out onto Bantry Bay. The drive back down the road seemed to be less intent on tearing the car apart. Perhaps we’d knocked down the high spots on the way up.
Castletownbere was a short drive away and we parked back in front of Jack Patrick’s. We trooped in and were taken on a short tour of the restaurant and butcher shop. Both were immaculate and well organized. Back in the restaurant, drink orders were taken and we sat back for more conversation while our hostess whipped up dinner. Their son wandered in just in time for dinner. Introductions were made and we got acquainted. In short order the table was loaded down with lamb, two kinds of potatoes, carrots, and peas. The food was delicious and we all tucked in. My wife isn’t a big cooked carrot fan, but was quickly converted and got the cooking instructions. We have them regularly now but they just don’t quite compare. Dessert followed and was equally tasty. Some relatives trailed in and more conversation ensued. It was dark by the time we said our goodbyes and waddled off to our car. It was about a 2 hour drive back to Clonakilty through dark lanes and a clear sky full of stars. We stopped at one point about halfway back to look up into the sky and watch the stars. The air was so clear that they appeared to sparkle. We arrived safely back around midnight and did a bit more star gazing and called it a day.
Written by atherts on 23 May, 2006
We took off for a long drive from Clonakilty to Mizen Head on the Mizen peninsula. We had heard that the view was nice, but had no idea what to expect. We took the long route and traveled through Skibbereen to Baltimore arriving in mid-morning.…Read More
We took off for a long drive from Clonakilty to Mizen Head on the Mizen peninsula. We had heard that the view was nice, but had no idea what to expect. We took the long route and traveled through Skibbereen to Baltimore arriving in mid-morning. (see Baltimore journal entry). After a short walk around Baltimore we drove up and further west to Schull. Schull is an interesting small town with winding roads and small shops. We stopped there on the way back for dinner at the Black Sheep Inn (see review). We drove through the town slowly, and then on towards Mizen Head. The road is winding and narrow with very little traffic in early Autumn. Vegetation is sparse, and the road is dotted with small farms and ruined remnants of small houses. We finally came out along a high lookout over a bay. There isn’t a lot of room to pull off the road, but the view is well worth it. We took several photos including a nice panorama of the view from sandy beach to ocean.
Traveling further along led to the end of the road and the Mizen Head Visitor Center and Signal Station. In the car park is a large propeller from the SS Irada that sunk off of Mizen Head in 1908 during the building of the Mizen Head bridge. The lighthouse keeper and builders help haul the survivors up the cliffs to safety. The propeller was salvaged in 1994 and installed in memory of the multiple wrecked ships in the area. The plaque explains the history. There are good views from the car park for the less adventurous who don’t wish to walk out to the Signal Station. The view immediately to the sea from the propeller is spectacular. The waves crash into the rocks below and shoot high into the air.
The Mizen Head Visitor Center is small but interesting to walk through. It contains the history, wildlife information, models of the lighthouse and other information and displays related to the Signal Station. At the time there was no charge for admission. It has a small café with tea, coffee, drinks and snacks, a shop with various tourist items, and restrooms! Very important as there is little else in the area other than nature. You can purchase tickets to the Signal Station at the Visitor Center. The tickets are 6 Euro for adults and 18 Euro for a family. Make sure to look at the brochure to get a feel for the trek out to the Signal Station. It is not appropriate for small children or people who don’t like some walking and climbing. It is also not a good place for people who don’t like heights.
A ticket permits you to walk down the walkway to the Signal Station. It is a good distance away and a good ways down. You can see the bridge crossing over a deep chasm between the rock outcropping. First though you must navigate a series of stairs (99 to be exact though it feels like a lot more). They claim this is a 10 minute walk and it probably is for a spry person going down. I’d be willing to bet it is twice that coming back up. Watch your step as the stairs are narrow and you’ll be looking at the view instead of where your stepping. The stair could be wet in some conditions and the wind varies, but can be quite strong. Take time along the way to stop and view the cliffs and ocean. The ocean pounds into the rocks below creating spectacular jets of spray. If you’re lucky, sail boat may be offshore creating a picturesque scene against the sky and water. There are also dolphins, whales and basking sharks occasionally visible in the water below. Depending on the weather conditions, you’d probably have to have a pretty sharp eye to spot them. A variety of seabirds circle above, be careful when looking up.
Approaching the bridge you can see open ocean to the right, a deep drop into churning water below and rock walls narrowing to a rock wall to the right. The view to the right between the rocks let you view down the coastline to cliffs, pounding waves, white spray and green hillsides. If you don’t like heights, don’t look down as you cross the bridge. The metal grate is open and you can see water and rocks far below. The best view is to the right and it changes as you walk along the bridge. It is worth walking slowly and viewing the changing vista. It may be difficult to take pictures as the wind is quite fierce and the bridge can vibrate. I had difficulty in getting high enough shutter speeds to make up for the movement.
After crossing the bridge, the path curves up and around to the Signal Station. The wind picks up considerably and anything that isn’t firmly attached is going airborne! There was a retired gentleman there to check my ticket. I can’t conceive of anyone getting out here any other way, but there you have it. I’d like the job when I retire. The walk would keep you fit! He also provided answers to questions and a wealth of knowledge of the area.
The first building is the Signal House. It contains signal flags, their history and usage and a repeating video. Most of the radio equipment and other instruments are intact and labeled with their function.
In the next building there is a recreation of the keeper’s bedroom and kitchen. There is a passageway that simulates being underwater with scenes, wrecks and critters. It is a bit cheesy, but well intended. The actual main room of the lighthouse had interesting displays of bird eggs, maps and other relics.
Now the real adventure! Walking back out and alongside the building takes you out to a narrow walkway. One the right is railing and beyond a sheer drop down into frothing surf as it crashes along a narrow channel back into the rock. The water looks like whipped cream and is constantly white and foamy. Out here the wind is intense and the spray is heavy in the air. The entire area is surrounded by railing and a narrow walkway goes out to a small viewpoint.
Only one or two people can be out here at one time and they’d better be close friends! If you’re going to be taking pictures you’ll need a cloth to keep the lens clear of spray. The sun was intense and cast a lot of light off the water. The water below is mostly white foam with large green waves surging in to dash against the rocks. Depending on how crowded it is, you can spend a few minutes or a half hour here before the wind batters you into submission.
Brace yourself for the trek back. The walk isn’t bad until you cross the bridge and come to the infamous 99 steps. These seem to multiply on the way up into 199 steps. If you’re out of shape, the view gives you an excuse to stop often. After the steps the trail switches back and forth still rising until you reach the Visitor Center.
My wife had elected to stay with her mom at the Visitor Center, partially out of concern for her and partially out of concern about the height of the bridge. I tried to tell her what she’d missed, but it was difficult to convey the scope of the wildness of the view and surrounds to someone who hasn’t been there. The pictures just scratch the surface of the intense elements and power of the sea.
This is a must see for the adventurous traveler in the area. I’d recommend driving from Cork for the opportunity!
More information is available at http://www.mizenhead.ie/
We didn’t really intend to go to Baltimore. It was just on the way to Mizen Head. Not directly, we did have to detour, but what a detour. This should be a primary destination, not an afterthought. My wife saw the signs and said she’d…Read More
We didn’t really intend to go to Baltimore. It was just on the way to Mizen Head. Not directly, we did have to detour, but what a detour. This should be a primary destination, not an afterthought. My wife saw the signs and said she’d heard it was a pretty place. It wasn’t far out of the way, so off we went. The sun was shining, the sky mostly clear and we had nothing but time.The town of Baltimore is a bit upscale and has some interesting history. The town was attacked by Algerian pirates in June of 1631. Two inhabitants were killed in the attack, and around a hundred people were captured and taken away as slaves. As the pirates had an Irish pilot from Dungarvan to guide them and those kidnapped were English settlers, some question as to the real motive exists. There is still a strong link to the sea with a vital fishing and boat tour industry. The houses are neat and well kept, and the town is a major summer destination. The view along the top down into the harbor is very nice. O'Driscoll Castle or Dun na Sead looms over the town. We parked along the narrow road and walked to a restaurant for a pint or pot of tea respectively. (we also had to use the restroom). Public restrooms are not common but pubs are. It seemed counterproductive to go into a pub and buy a pint or tea to use the restroom. I suppose you could dash in and out, we did occasionally, but felt it a bit gauche and we’d have missed some great chats with the barkeepers. The view from the restaurant showed the harbor below with fishing boats readying for a day on the water.After we finished, we walked down to the quayside. It is a steep walk down with a gift shop and various shacks to charter tour boats and fishing trips. I wandered further out onto the docks and watched the fisherman prepping the nets and cleaning the boat. They’d either been out all night or were getting ready to go out. The air smelled of oil, diesel and fish with a lot of salt air to dilute it. The seabirds circled around looking for snacks. Three large boats were idling alongside the dock while the nets were being hung out.The gift shop proved to be a little funky place with a variety of hand made items and art from the area. The prices were reasonable and we picked up a few small items. We didn’t stay long, but this would be a good spot to while away a week. There were several good boat tours to the islands of Sherkin and Cape Clear. Close
Written by atherts on 06 May, 2006
So here is how the expedition to Coppinger's Court progressed. We had purchased a book a few years ago by Simon Marsden called "In Ruins: The Once Great Houses of Ireland." It contains infrared photos and history of ruined castles, and manor houses in Ireland.…Read More
So here is how the expedition to Coppinger's Court progressed. We had purchased a book a few years ago by Simon Marsden called "In Ruins: The Once Great Houses of Ireland." It contains infrared photos and history of ruined castles, and manor houses in Ireland. Online, we found a listing of the directions to the various sites and wanted to visit as many as we could.
Coppinger's Court has a few interesting legends. The first is that the owner, Sir Walter Coppinger in 1641, told his servants to burn the place if he didn't return from a dispute negotiation. Evidently the dispute negotiation went well, because he forgot the orders and ate well and drank deeply and returned to home to find it in flames. Loyal servants, but also without a job. The second legend is that if you can get a line of site through three windows, it will point you to Sir Walter's hidden gold.
We headed towards Roscarbery near Coppinger's Court. We crossed a long causeway and ended up at a hideous looking hotel, and parked in their lot to access a map board across the street. Risking life and limb, I crossed the busy road to check out the sign in the pouring rain and wind. Using the wonders of modern technology, I took a digital picture of the map and we perused it at our leisure in the relatively dry comfort of the car. We established our relative location and directions and headed off for Coppinger's Court.We drove the route and could see Coppinger's Court in the distance, but there was no road to it. It appeared to be in a field with no road leading up to the front. It was surrounded by rock walls and hedges. We drove until we came to a likely looking road. We headed in the direction of the ruin. No luck, we ended up where we started. We went further down the road and took the next lane. No luck, we ended up further down the original road. We drove back and started over and took a small dirt road. It ended at a farmhouse with a barking dog. We petted the dog and went back to the main road. At this point we gave Coppinger's Court a rest and went to see the Drombeg Stone Circle. This we found. It wasn't that great, see the review of it elsewhere here.
Encouraged by our success in finding the stone circle, but disappointed by it in general, we resumed our quest for Coppinger's Court. We took a road off of the route to Drombeg, but heading in the right direction. We traveled for a few miles along a wooded road. No luck. We ended up on a hill top that had a great view of the valley. We could see Coppinger's in the distance, but no road to it. Back we went. We ended up back on the main road we started on. We retraced our route back to the sign by the ugly hotel and tried again. We took the first road we saw and ended up back on the route we had just come from Drombeg. We continued on the road slowly and through the trees we could see Coppinger's Court (we hoped). We found parking along the road and loaded up with rain gear and cameras.
Passing through a cow gate, we walked down a overgrown stone wall through a pasture. The sky was dark and threatened a downpour. Coming out of a grove of trees THERE IT WAS!!! In all its dilapidated glory. It actually wasn't much to see, and the cows had made copious deposits all around. My wife and mother in law elected to return to the car, less than impressed.
I was determined to get some Infrared pictures regardless. I vaulted the stone wall (ok, I crawled over with the cameras and tripod), avoiding the cow deposits, and set up the tripod. The wind picked up, and the first few drops began to fall. I attached the camera, set up the shot, and attached the IR lens. Each exposure was approximately 30 to 60 seconds. I took a few shots, wiping the lens frequently. I then tromped through the cow muck and went through the ruins. The cows had taken up residence, and the inside was worse than the field. I exited out the back into a heavy rain. I trotted across the field, and turned a few times to take a quick shot. The backside was more interesting than the front, but the rain had become a downpour and I was concerned about keeping the cameras dry. I ran across the field and back to the car.
My wife had used the time to make some sandwiches of Irish cheddar and ham. We munched the sandwiches, washed it down with club soda, and opened a bag of Tayto chips. The rain was coming down so hard that driving was impossible. We waited it out and a half hour later, lunch secured inside us, we were able to retrace our route back to Roscarbery, and then to Clonakilty.
I'd highly recommend Coppinger's Court in good weather. There are many photo opportunities around the site. With some sun and clouds, the pictures would be spectacular. Otherwise, proceed with caution!
Healy Pass lies just to the east of the town of Castletownbere on the Beara peninsula. It is named after Tim Healy, the first Governor-general of the Irish Free State, who was born in Bantry. The pass cuts through the Caha mountains. A long winding…Read More
Healy Pass lies just to the east of the town of Castletownbere on the Beara peninsula. It is named after Tim Healy, the first Governor-general of the Irish Free State, who was born in Bantry. The pass cuts through the Caha mountains. A long winding road takes you up to the top of the passa about 1300 feet up and then down the other side. The story goes that the creators of the road paid the builders in drinks, thus the winding road.It's not that bad, so ignore any dire warnings from the weak of heart.You can choose to head further East to Kenmare or West to follow the ring around the peninsula. I'd recommend going West if you have the time. The pass has a small gift shop at the top and places to turn out and park. The wind is brisk, but get out of the car and be brave, the view is worth it. To the South is the view back towards Bantry Bay and the view was rocky and barren. The view to the North towards Co. Kerry and the lower end of the ring of Kerry was more green with a view of lakes and the Kenmare estuary.If you are driving towards Kenmare, there are several more turnouts with spectacular views. Drive slowly as the roads are winding and narrow. The next corner could contain tourists, sheep or a large truck, beware!If you're driving from Kenmare, take the time to visit Castletownbere. It is a great spot to stretch your legs, breath the salt air and have a pint in one of the pubs. The food at Jack Patrick's is excellent and they pour a good pint as well! The town square is worth wandering around. Close
Written by atherts on 26 May, 2006
Dursey Island lies at the south-west end of the Beara Peninsula. The island is separated from the mainland by a narrow stretch of water called Dursey Sound which has a very strong tidal activity. The water swirls in and is quite spectacular to watch. With…Read More
Dursey Island lies at the south-west end of the Beara Peninsula. The island is separated from the mainland by a narrow stretch of water called Dursey Sound which has a very strong tidal activity. The water swirls in and is quite spectacular to watch. With only a few permanent winter time residents, the island is one of the quietest in Ireland area with no pubs, shops or restaurants. There is no accommodation on the island so unless you have prior arrangements or wish to camp, make it a day trip. Dursey Island, which is only 6.5km long and 1.5km wide, provides the tourist with some lovely walks and breathtaking views of the nearby West Cork coastline.
The island is about 15 miles from Castletownbere, but will take awhile to drive on the narrow roads. You’ll probably want to stop often to view the scenery along the way. Ireland’s only cable car was opened in 1969. It runs at about 250m above sea level, and the 250m trip takes about 6 minutes. The car can take up to six people at a time or one large animal. No cars allowed and you may have to share the ride with smaller animals. The cable car operates between 9 and 11am, 2:30 and 5:00pm, and 7 to 8pm. Different hours apply on alternate Sundays due to mass. Check locally for details. The island appears to have been inhabited at least back to the bronze age judging from archaeological digs. Kilmichael church was built on the island built by monks from nearby Skellig, but little remains except stones now. The inhabitants of the island suffered a massacre from the English under Queen Elizabeth in 1602 when many of the captured were thrown over the high cliffs on the island.Dursey Island was home to Dermot O'Sullivan. He and his allies, the McSweenys, fought the English during the Desmond rebellion as well as the later Munster wars. Most of his sons were killed during the wars. He and his wife sought refuge in Coruna, Spain. He lived to be one hundred years old and he and his wife were buried at the Franciscan Monastary in Coruna.Thirty years ago, after the collapse of the fishing industry, the government relocated the islanders to the mainland. The remains of the island's three villages can be explored, giving an insight into lives of the people at the time. The island is also well known for birdwatching and has many colonies of birds.
Dunboy Castle was of interest as it was built by the O’Sullivans which is a family name on my wife’s side. The castle lies down a long drive past Puxley Manor West of Castletownbere. We parked and got out and a short walk led to…Read More
Dunboy Castle was of interest as it was built by the O’Sullivans which is a family name on my wife’s side. The castle lies down a long drive past Puxley Manor West of Castletownbere. We parked and got out and a short walk led to a pile of ruins with a wonderful view of the water through trees and greenery. The ruins are pretty much a pile of stones with a few doorways and partial stairs remaining. There is a good deal of greenery growing on the ruins giving it a very ancient look. You can wander freely over the area with no restriction other than common sense and respect.There are plaques on the wall of the ruins commemorating some deaths, but little else showing recent work. There has been some archaeological work done in the recent past with interesting results, but no specifics on what was found. Evidently there is some camping allowed in the area, as we saw signs of small campfires in a few places. The ruins lie right on the water, and you can easily walk out to view the peninsula and bay from several paths radiating out from the castle. The water is quite close.The castle was built back in the 14th century, and must have been an important part of the community and landscape. It was accidentally blown up (how does that happen?) by Dermot O’Sullivan Beare in 1549 and then rebuilt. In 1602 the castle was attacked by the British in the Siege of Dunboy, eventually it fell, the inhabitants executed and the castle blown up again. Close
Written by atherts on 22 May, 2006
Ballyvourney in Co. Cork is a lovely little town on the way to Killarney. We didn’t actually intend to go to Killarney, but traveling in Ireland is like that. You end up where you least expect. We were minding our business, wandering along the countryside…Read More
Ballyvourney in Co. Cork is a lovely little town on the way to Killarney. We didn’t actually intend to go to Killarney, but traveling in Ireland is like that. You end up where you least expect. We were minding our business, wandering along the countryside of Cork with no intent on entering Co. Kerry. We’d seen a few interesting sites, towns including a toy soldier factory.We stopped in Ballyvourney as there is a nice stone bridge across a large stream running through town. We crossed the bridge, turned around and found some parking. The road was fairly busy for its size and we watched our parts and the cars parts as we got out and headed towards a fence by the bridge. No sooner had we started taking pictures than a loud thump thump sounded behind us. Something clattered along and landed a few feet away. No sooner had we registered the presence of a still rolling hubcap than we heard more thumping and clunking sounds. A car was limping along across the road and pulled into a drive. It was listing hard to the right and both tires were flat. We grabbed the hubcap and went to investigate. An American couple was out and examining the remains of two perfectly good tires. Not only were the tires shredded, but the wheels were severely dented as well. Pretty much a total loss.Evidently the husband had grown tired of driving and in spite of the fact he was the covered driver and his wife didn’t see well, he’d had her drive while he took a nap. She did fine for a while, but as she entered the town she followed the road and was driving in the parking lane. Unfortunately the parking lane ended with a high curb and she ran over that with both tires. Her husband was rudely awakened and none to pleased with the outcome. Of course the spare didn’t fit the car, not that it made a difference with two dead tires.The town had only petrol and no garage. The nearest garage was in Killarney.We offered to take the wife into Killarney while the husband stayed to guard his golf clubs. Thus we found ourselves going into Co. Kerry, a good distance from our cottage. We arrived in Killarney, found a garage and got her sorted out. The owner was in a good humor (saw the Euro signs) and chuckled at the mishap. One got the feeling that it wasn’t the first time. He found two new wheels and set about finding tires. She arranged to have them do the work and we left her happier but several hundreds of Euros lighter.We stopped to wish the husband well and told him his wife would be along eventually with the garage owner and tires. The owner of the drive and house he was parked in had come home and they were in conversation. He thanked us a bit more cordially this time and went back to his chat.The moral of this story is don’t drive in Ballyvourney if you can’t see well, and stay out of the parking lanes or else your due for to be retired! Close