Monday, 18 July 2011

As I was going over the Cork and Kerry Mountains...

Well, despite having been born and bred in Northern Ireland and having lived most of my life here, I can finally see why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle after spending a week down south in County Kerry!  It is definitely the most beautiful part of this island that I've been to so far.  So much of the scenery actually looks just like one of my twisty town paintings and I got a heap more inspiration for the mini canvasses I'm working on. 

We set off with the caravan in tow at 5.00am Saturday morning and finally arrived at our campsite for the week, Creveen Lodge, some 8 hours later.  I suspect the reason it took so long was the fact that once you come off the motorway past Cork the roads get smaller and smaller and more and more twisty.  That, coupled with the fact that our Sat Nav decided to take us a 'shorter' route over the mountain (single track roads) instead of the longer but slightly wider route we should have taken.  Seriously - the road was only just wide enough to get the caravan down - at one point we had to go over a small hump back bridge and it was touch and go! All I can say is we were really lucky we didn't meet anything coming the opposite way as there was no way we could've reversed or passed them by!

Actual road S navigated the caravan down!

The Sat Nav's shortcut!

The campsite was literally in the middle of nowhere - no such thing as 'nipping out to the shop for a bar of chocolate' - it was a 30 minute drive each way to the nearest village!  It was perfect for us - the dogs didn't have to stay on leads so had the run of the place and other than camper vans coming and going for a night or two, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. 

Home, sweet home for a week

View out the side windows

view out the front window

Sunset at Creveen Lodge Campsite



Day 1 - we toured right round the Ring of Beara which was the peninsula we were staying on.  This is half in County Kerry and half in County Cork and is the most beautiful, lush, rugged, spectacular place.  Even the hedgerows were a riot of colour and different, exotic looking plantlife - not the overgrown grass and weeds that we're used to up North!

The houses are amazing and the gardens so well kept - honestly I kept imagining it was some kind of Hollywood film set (like the Truman Show where it's all too good to be true) and any minute we'd come across the seedy back streets and dodgy areas hidden behind the picture perfect facade of multi-coloured cottages, quaint shop fronts and colourful gardens but we didn't see one area that wasn't simply gorgeous.  They must repaint their homes every 6 months or something!

S in Bantry Bay, Co. Cork 

Bantry Bay

Castletownbere

Cute and quirky everywhere!


On the Ring of Beara

Castletownbere

Ring of Beara



Love old cars - this was a beaut!


How I wish this was where we lived!

Ballydonegan



Castletownbere
Day 2 - we headed to Killarney National Park and spent a wonderful few hours hiking right round a massive lake.  Although the sky was overcast to start - the sun did put in an appearance and I even acquired a light sun burn on my shoulders!







Killarney National Park 

Hot dogs!

Day 3 - today the sun was splitting the sky - it actually looked like summer and we drove right round the next peninsula - the Ring of Kerry.  This is more beachy than the Ring of Beara and is the more popular tourist destination out of the two (although I was glad we stayed on Beara). It was certainly busier but nowhere like we expected - I guess the recession has hit tourism too.  We discovered the most amazing beach and overlooking it was a house in the shape of a ship - fabulous!  A long day doing a lot of driving (well S did all the driving, I just pointed at stuff and sucked on boiled sweets!) but so glad we saw it all.

Would you believe this was Ireland?



Gratuitous cute dog photo!

Amazing boat shaped house!


Bridge to Valentia Island

Colourful houses everywhere!



Ring of Kerry

Ring of Kerry 

Day 4 - Another glorious day and we contemplated just sitting out on the sunbeds by the caravan for the day but decided it would be a waste of a day and inevitably I'd just end up red and covered in prickly heat!  Instead we drove to Kenmare - one of many picturesque villages in and around Kerry for some more supplies (coke for the spiced rum and more crisps!) and then we headed off to Gleninchaquin - a mahoosive area owned by a local family.  For a small fee you can do one of several walks depending on how energetic you were feeling - there was a 7 hour walk around the entire park!

We settled on the middle ground and did the waterfall walk which took just under 2 hours (a lot of it up hill, mind!) The waterfall wasn't very gushy (a technical term) due to the unusual lack of rain that week and was more of a trickle than a fall but the land itself was simply stunning and despite moaning about the vertical-ness (another technical term) of the initial climb, I was very glad we did it and loved the whole downhill part!

Gleninchaquin 

Gleninchaquin waterfall - more of a trickle the day we saw it!


At the top

View from the top

A family portrait - Brodie chose that exact moment for a pee!

Me doing 'jumble sale' chic!!



Day 5 & 6 - it was business as usual rainy Irish days for the last two days of our holiday which curtailed our walking plans a bit.  We did have waterproofs with us but just couldn't face the inevitable mud, and constant drizzle, not to mention how mucky the pups would've ended up so instead on Thursday we drove down the Healy Pass - possibly the most twisty road ever - and did a wee bit more sight seeing from the comfort of the inside of the car.  Friday we had a completely lazy  caravan day - apart from needing milk which as mentioned above involved a 30 minute each way drive to the nearest shop!




The Healy Pass (Actual Twisty Roads!) and the way to the nearest shop!

We didn't make it as far round as the Dingle Peninsula this time - would've been just too long a day in the car when we already had done so much driving so hopefully we'll get back down there another time.

Day 7 - We left County Kerry on Saturday morning for another epic drive back to County Down finally getting home about 6pm, back to the reality of Northern Ireland. It was a brilliant week, with the weather mostly playing ball (those of you lucky enough to live somewhere with actual seasons may never be able to comprehend the weather that we get here - no discernable seasons, just slightly warmer with rain and then colder with rain!) so to have 5 out of 7 dry days on an Irish camping holiday is no mean feat!

9 comments:

  1. thankyou so much for sharing your trip,, I'm always amazed at how green it really is,, I love the little cottage and all the brightly colored homes,, I enjoyed this so much, I doubt I'll ever leave Canada,, I have had a brain injury that sadly has ended any airplane trips for me,, this was great!!

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  2. Thanks for sharing your trip and the wonderful photos, I haven't been to Ireland for 4o years, but I remember how beautiful it was! Valerie

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  3. What a glorious place! I have never been to Ireland. I love the "boat house" how lucky to live there! Some of your pictures remind me of the beauty of Cumbria, mountains, valleys, lakes, the natural wild beauty of it. Im now going to "google" some of the places you mention and indulge myself. xx

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  4. Mark Twain once said "I could live off a good compliment for 2 months" (or something like that) andI say I could live off your amazing photos for at least 4 months! Wow! Loved the boat house and the views from up top with such beautiful twisty towns and brilliant, greener-than-green grass! Thanks for sharing your week with us! Looked relaxing for you (all4of you!). :)

    In Miamiwe get hot and humid or warm and not so humid, so I understand what you mean about your weather. To me it seems ideal! Keep enjoying it. :)

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  5. PS - Sorry for the bunched up words...typing from the iPad at 6:30 am! :/

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  6. All I can think is you've got some awesome reference photos for you art there! I'd love to paint a street scene of castletownbere! Glad you had a good time!

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  7. Laurie, thank you for commenting. I'm sorry to hear your injury means you can't travel by air although, funny, enough we spend a lot of time wondring how we could emigrate to Canada as it seems like such an amazingly diverse and beautiful place!

    craft attack and rosa lily, glad you like the photos. i've never been to Cumbria but now that we plan to tour UK & Ireland by caravan hopefully we'll get to see more of these wonderful rugged places.

    ileana, i love your comments! i think i would struggle with the humidity (or at least my hair would!) but i'd certainly give it a go to live somewhere as exciting as Miami!

    Katherine, you are so right & judging by how many artist galleries (in peoples' home) we saw signs for on our travels, i guess a lot of artists get inspiration there!

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  8. This looks like and awesome holiday. You two look really cute together.

    And I desperately want to live in that boat house.

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  9. Ah,beautiful Ireland, as beautiful as I remember. I can't wait to go back someday. Thank you for sharing your trip and your absolutely beautiful photos. Many of which have inspired me to paint something.

    And those dogs are just so damn cute! :)

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Your comments always colour me happy! Thank you for popping by.

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