On the Kerry Way
It's now Wednesday, and we have a “rest day” after three full days of walking on the Kerry Way. The Kerry Way is a 135 mile circular walking route around “Ring of Kerry” in southwest Ireland. We'll walk some 50 miles of the route during our week. The walk is very front-end loaded, and we’ve racked up over 36 miles in our first three days.
The countryside in this part of Ireland is absolutely beautiful with quite a bit of variety. After leaving the motorcycle-sounds of Killarney behind, we walked along the shores of a peaceful lake, past the ruins of a 15th century friary, and then through the landscaped grounds of the 19th century Muckross House. We are surprised by the subtropical climate. We hadn't expected to find palm trees in Ireland! Rhododendrons are also abundant in the countryside.
After a steep ascent by the Torc waterfall, we found ourselves away from tourists and in much more desolate countryside surrounded by mountains. Twelve miles later we ended a long first day at the Hillcrest Farmhouse at the edge of the Black Valley. We had a wonderful homecooked meal of hot soup, roast chicken, and apple pie at the farmhouse.
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In our raingear at the Foilmore Church (mapholder around my neck)
We expected rainy weather in Ireland… and encountered sunny, surprisingly hot weather our first three days of walking. Day Four (our rest day) was cooler and a little overcast, but the rain finally came on Day Five. But what’s a walking trip without some rain? We hauled our raingear all this way—shouldn’t we get to use it??
Today’s walk was eleven miles from Glenbeigh to a very remote area near Kells. Our path took us around a mountain on a forest path, then out along the cliffs overlooking the sea. On a clear day we would have had absolutely beautiful views across Dingle Bay, but we struggled with rain, wind and quite a bit of mud. It was a very challenging day, especially working our way across the exposed mountain pass and through the many boggy sections.
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On the way to Caherciveen (photo by Kelly)
Our last day was a short one—and fortunately another beautiful day. We walked just six miles to the village of Caherciveen, on the River Ferta, hiking this last leg with our British friends Tim and Linda. We had plenty of time for lunch and some exploration of Caherciveen. Kelly visited the Heritage Center in the old police barracks, while Charley and I took a nap out in the sunshine. Then we were picked up for our ride back to Killarney. We had walked almost sixty miles over five days; the ride back to where we started took only an hour and a half!
This was our fifth long-distance walking trip in Europe. We continue to really enjoy our this type of vacation, though we definitely weren’t ready for this walk to end. After an initial struggle, we had found our stride and were really enjoying the walking. Our last two walks were much more substantial (190 miles on the England Coast-to-Coast walk and 100 miles on the Alpine Pass walk in Switzerland). We would have liked to continue walking and experience more of Ireland. Kelly is already talking about wanting to come back and see more of Ireland.
Continue reading "Not Quite Ready for the End" »
Today was a very complicated travel day. I spent more time planning and fretting over the details of today’s transportation than I spent planning the entire rest of our trip!
The walking tour company provides a free shuttle back to Shannon Airport on Saturday mornings, but we didn’t think the shuttle would get us to the airport early enough to check-in for our Ryanair flight to France. After considering numerous possibilities, I finally decided to rent a car in Killarney for the drive to Shannon. We left our guesthouse in Killarney at 7:15 am, and the trip to Shannon took us about two hours. Charley quickly refreshed himself on how to drive on the other side of the road. We queued up at the Ryanair counter two hours before flight time and checked in numbers 45, 46 and 47. We had read that Ryanair was very strict on baggage weights, so I was especially relieved that we had packed well—Charley’s bag weighted 19.7 kilos and mine was 19.6. Just under the 20 kilo limit! (Of course, I ended up wearing my heavy hiking boots on the plane to get my bag under!)
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