Monday, 24 August 2020
A two-week road trip
through favourite places
and childhood memories
Instead of spending these two weeks in Halkidi, in north-east Greece, two of us headed off this morning on a two-part ‘road trip’ through parts of southern Ireland – along the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ and through ‘Ireland’s Ancient Eat.’ Some of these places are among my favourite parts of Ireland since childhood and early adulthood.
We started off from Askeaton this morning on the road to Killarney, and then headed out on the southern loop of the Ring of Kerry, which I have never travelled along before.
We stopped first at Kenmare and then at Sneem, my first time to visit either of these towns on the southern coast of the Iveragh Peninsula.
We then visited Derrynane with its beautiful beach and the ruined abbey said to have been founded in the seventh century by Saint Finbarr, and at Caherdaniel, the ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell.
Tonight, we are staying in Waterville – An Coirean, or the ‘Little Whirlpool’ – at the south-west tip of the Ring of Kerry. Waterville nestles between Lough Currane and Balinskelligs Bay, and over the years has attracted many celebrities, including Charlie Chaplin and his family.
This evening, we are having dinner in the Smuggler’s Inn, a beachfront hotel on Cliff Road. This is a restored farmhouse built in 1779 and boasts five generations of food, quality and Irish tradition.
We are staying overnight in Klondyke House, with its spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and Kerry mountains and magnificent sunsets. It is just a five-minute walk to the town centre.
Tomorrow, we plan a return visit to Ballinskelligs, which I visited two years ago, and has very happy memories for me of a month-long holiday as a teenager in 1966.
From there, we head north as we continue on along the Ring of Kerry, visiting Valentia Island, and spending two nights at the Royal Valentia Hotel in Knightstown.
Later in the week, we plan to travel through Mallow and Fermoy to Lismore and Cappoquin in west Waterford, where I spent many happy years in my early childhood on my grandmother’s farm.
After a break in Dublin at the weekend, we return to southern, when our plans include visits to Cork, and then Kilkenny and Wexford in what I hope by then is the ‘Sunny South-East.’
Join me each day on this blog this week and next week on this ‘road trip’ through many parts of southern Ireland – from the south-west to the south-east – and enjoy ‘virtual visits’ to places you may know and some places you may never have planned to visit.