Well it’s been 3 weeks since my last confession…I mean blog post…..and after a bit of a break, I’m ready to delve back into my notes, photographs and memories and return to my road trip around the coast of Ireland. It seems so long ago and yet it was only 2 months since I was about to set off !
Anyway my last post (no trumpets please) had taken us to the start of Day 9 and I was waking up at the Jo-Al bed and breakfast just outside Bantry in Co. Cork. It was a lovely b&b, the breakfast was wonderful and I was the only guest there.
I usually didn’t get 3 sausages and 3 rashers of bacon but by this time on the trip I was being very specific with my breakfast choices (no puddings or beans or hash browns etc) so I guess I was getting the benefit of asking for less but getting more of what I wanted ! Win, win, as my cardiologist would say !
At 9:50am I set off for the very short drive to Bantry where I parked by the large town square and had a walk around the town. When I say square, it was nothing like a square in shape as it had been created by “filling in” the shallow narrow harbour and can be clearly seen on this aerial photo I took by connecting my GoPro to a balloon.
Or I might have pinched it off the internet. Can’t remember now.
As you can see, the town is very compact so it didn’t take long to walk around it and the square, or plaza, was very pretty indeed.
Here are some views of Bantry Bay and the plaza.
The weather was glorious and quite warm and I set off to drive around the Beara Peninsula to the tip at Lambs Head where I’d come to Dursey Island with its cable car. This was only a 44 mile drive but the scenery was so beautiful that I kept stopping to take photos and video and so it took me 2 hrs.
The road would climb up to an almost moors type landscape and then back down to more typical green fields with cliffs and water views everywhere but of course I was on the R572 hugging the coast so was never very far from the ocean. Sadly it clouded over just before noon but that didn’t dampen my spirits and the drive was brilliant.
At one point when I’d stopped and was taking a photo out the window, this little fellow came nervelessly towards me and I was greedily waiting till he came even closer before taking a photo but his mum called to him and I just managed to snap this image as he was turning around to run back to her.
I think he was the cleanest lamb I’d ever seen.
Just 2 miles from the tip of the peninsula, there was a narrow road branching off to the left with signs for Garinish Beach so for the sake of a mile there and back, I went exploring. This road didn’t have a number but if you’re ever in the area and you see a sign for Garinish…..take it.
On the way down to the beach I came upon a lovely view of the ocean and as often happens in Ireland, there was a donkey in my field of view…..in a field ! I’d stopped by a gate and the inquisitive donkey came to check me out. This led to his pal coming across too and in minutes I had 2 new friends who just wanted to be fussed over.
Time for a selfie and here’s me making an ass of myself with my new friend.
Down on the beach and it wasn’t exactly a sandy paradise as the “sand” was grey and volcanic looking – a bit like some of the Hawaiian beaches but with very different views. Here are two images of the beach…..the first one is from above showing the grey sand and then a still from the phone video I took showing the rocks from the right side of the beach.
I like rocks on a beach !
Back up on the R572 and it was time to drive the 2 miles to the end of the Beara peninsula and to see the cable car that would take visitors over to Dursey Island. There were only a few cars parked up when I got there and that was down to the fact that it was a long way to go if you weren’t touring the peninsula and also, the next cable car wasn’t due to cross for some time.
I thought it ran continuously ! I hadn’t researched it very well as I never planned on going across to the island anyway.
As the timetable showed there would be no cable car for over an hour, I went down the slope to the rocks to get closer to Dursey Island. It was pretty spectacular as the weather had improved and the view across was wonderful.
This is a still from the video I took. By the way, I haven’t uploaded any of the video I took as I have a space limit on WordPress and even a 1 minute video clip takes up the same space as about 100 photos.
Not wanting to wait to see a cable car going across, I set off to return along the top of the Beara peninsula towards Killarney and this meant starting off on the R572 again for a few miles but then going onto the R575 which again was a wonderfully scenic road. I went over Dales type landscapes, beaches, steep climbs and steeper descents and it was all glorious as the weather continued to be blue skies and sunshine.
At one point, near Allihies, I saw a single track road leading to Ballydonegan Beach so of course I had to check it out. At the time I didn’t know the name but I’ve since found the turnoff on Street View and there was a sign I’d missed.
It was my sort of beach. Lovely soft sand, a few rocks to break things up, high dunes and best of all, I had it to myself.
Back up on the R575 and it was only 10 miles till it became the R571 and if anything, the scenery went up a notch.
I think the best images were taken by the GoPro which I had fixed to the dashboard of the car for the whole road trip and here are a series of stills from that video footage to show just how spectacular the R571 was that day.
The video footage was better of course but like I said before, space is at a premium on here.
Sadly that has to be it for Day 9 because for some reason, I’ve no records of where I stayed that night and I’ve no photos either. When I was downloading my photos and video each night, I had to move files around several internal and external hard drives, 3 flashdrives and one SD card so things got a bit messed up and daily downloads were all over the place.
I can’t imagine not taking ANY photos of the b&b but I haven’t found them yet. If I do, I’ll edit this post to include them.
I know it was €40 and on the GoPro footage the next morning I refer to the b&b as a converted 18th century farmhouse. It had 6 ensuite rooms and the first room I was in had little or no wifi signal so before unpacking, I moved along the corridor till I was outside a room where the signal was stronger and had them move me to that room instead !
I’ve also no record/memory of where or what I ate for supper so all in all, apart from knowing it was just outside Killarney, that’s it !
I had a great day driving around the Beara Peninsula and I only went 122 miles so it wasn’t taxing at all. The next day would take me through Killarney Forest and around The Ring of Kerry.