Sure enough, we woke to sunshine and blue sky this morning. Wow.
We enjoyed our breakfast watching the ever changing clouds, looking forward to driving over the mountains just once more on our way to Cork this morning. Since Padraig had delivered such terrific advice yesterday, it was he to whom we turned when deciding which way to go.
So rather than take the quickest route, we chose to meander a little, to see the scenery and a few small towns. First of all, though, we encountered exactly the same parade of horses on our way into Killarney as we had yesterday. Almost like being at home!
Up on the road towards Molls Gap, we stopped at the Ladies’ View again but this time without the tour coaches and the hordes of people. This morning, we had the view almost to ourselves and oh my, was it a stunner.
Our first stop was Avoca, where we knew we’d find some yummy bits for our picnic lunch. We can’t seem to pass one of these stores by without taking another look, petting another blanket and yes, making a purchase or two.
I took special note of the pansy pinny, Lesley, to see if the brand label on the front was removable but no, it’s printed on the fabric and like you, I thought it was way too prominent and spoiled the effect.
We continued beyond Kenmare to Bonane, where we spotted a sign to a stone circle. Shall we go and see it? Yes! Why not?
We parked the car and prepared to walk when the chap in the ticket office opened the gate and suggested we drive up the hill to the stones. It wasn’t an easy drive but we made it and jumped out to take a look.
Errrrm…where might the stones be, then?
(up another pathway, around the corner, actually!)
Well, it wasn’t quite Stonehenge but it was interesting and the views from this hillside location were stunning.
Across the way was the cooking area with information about how it would have looked in use.
Just as well, really, because my imagination doesn’t stretch so far. But having seen the illustration, I could see the earthworks clearly.
One last thing up here remained: A famine ruin. This would have been a cottage, home to a family of 8 but abandoned when the potato famine struck in the middle of the 19th century. This area was especially hard hit and we read that there are several similar such ruins in the area. Dreadful.
As we drove back down to the entrance to the site, we passed several people walking up the hill, having parked their car at the bottom. What had we done to deserve special treatment we wondered? But whatever it was, we appreciated it and as we approached the now closed gate, the custodian, Andrew, leapt to his feet and opened it up for us, offering a friendly wave as we went on our way, once he’d persuaded me to go and write a comment in his visitors’ book, that is!
Maybe Andrew was having the last laugh as he watched us turn left out of the site and not return the way we’d come, to the right? Whatever. In a short time we were climbing a steep, single track gravel road up the hill towards the Priest’s Leap summit.
It might have been a bit hair raising for both driver and passengers at times, but once up there, we couldn’t believe the view! We were lucky to pass just one vehicle on the way up and were thankful to be near a passing place when we spotted it coming towards us – Mary, the Weston Prayer continues to work wonders
Of course, some of us were distracted from the main event by other interesting things, like this chunk of layered rock covered in little star shaped plants and mosses and looking like a rather hefty mille-feuille.
But of course, it was the view which predominated. This had been a lucky detour, even if it was accidental.
Leaving the sheep (and their mess) behind, we began the way down, hardly believing our eyes as a lone cyclist came huffing and puffing to the summit. We waved and expressed our admiration and encouragement as he carried on, not even stopping to admire the view at all!
By the time we reached the end of the road, we’d had enough – or perhaps, more accurately, my Hero was ready for a little stress-free driving for a while.
We found the charming Mannings Emporium before too long and with a fresh chorizo and mozzarella tortilla just out of the oven decided that it would be the perfect addition to our picnic.
A short time later, we found a picnic spot, so with the most elegant of tablecloths (today’s Irish Examiner) we unpacked the goodies and tucked in.
We had a great view from here too and judging from the pair of sandals left on the wall, were not the first to enjoy the outlook.
From there, it was an easy drive into Cork and feeling safe in the capable hands of my hero and Ellis the co-pilot, the back seat passengers might have taken the opportunity to take a few winks
Perhaps discovering a new city for the first time in the late afternoon isn’t the best idea, for Cork didn’t immediately endear itself to us.
Though there were plenty of people around, there simply didn’t appear to be the same wealth of interesting buildings and atmosphere we’ve come across everywhere else. We were all pretty pleased we’d stayed the extra night in Killarney, I can tell you!
By the time we did come across some interesting places, they were closed. Shame.
I did admire these graffiti portraits though, because on closer inspection, they were done in a very clever style.
Very original, very skilful, I thought.
There was one other interesting feature we spotted whilst walking. Though the street consisted of a simple row of shops, between each was a doorway and on the pavement, a sign bearing the name of a lane. Perhaps there still was a lane behind those doorways or maybe the sign is just indicative of how it used to be?
This evening, we dropped into The Oliver Plunkett for supper and a bit of craic.
The live music was great, full of spirit!
The dancers were a bonus, too! We had front row seats here in the pub and had another opportunity to marvel at their skill over a pint of Murphys tonight – well, we are in Cork, after all.