When you ask me what I liked most on our short trip to Ireland, I would have Derrynane Beach, Sheep’s Head and Bantry House in mind. And I just talk about sights 😉
Bantry House is one big miracle box. Once opened, you’ll find something extraordinary in every corner, in every room and behind every curtain. I especially loved – compared to other manor houses I saw in England, Scotland and Ireland – that there is still life in it, it seams as if the residents just left for a short journey.
It’s not perfectly renovated, from the outside it even seams to be ruined. The wall papers show waves, there are family photos from the seventies, in the garden you’ll find broken statues lying around. In the stables you’ll see an old storage rack with the handwritten inscriptions of the old administrator.
And the gardens! The gulf stream climate (and the gardeners) makes them flourish as if the Carribeans would be just around the corner.
A perfect arrangement of life. Come on a visit with me and let yourself immerse in its beauty.
All I want to say with all this pictures: Don’t miss Bantry House.
On this bright and sunny April day on Derrynane Beach, a woman walked past me, threw her arms in the air and shouted: “The Mediterranean has arrived in Ireland!” And while Mediterranen people would never had set foot into the water at this temperature, Irish people are quite fearless.
Derrynane Beach is on the West side of the Ring of Kerry and it’s one of the best beaches I have ever seen. Dunes, white sand, big rocks, crystal clear turquoise water. Everything asian beaches dream of.
At the end of the beach there is a small, old cemetery with a very special and serene atmosphere.
Two picturesque villages in a row. Great views to the sea, funny coloured houses, nice cafés. But with all this flattery about Ireland I have to come to the less beautiful things now: First was, that it is not possible in all those picturesque villages to stroll quietly along the roads. Instead there is a steady stream of cars passing through the most beautiful parts and the people crowd on the small sidewalks. It leaves all the beauty to your imagination or maybe if you look up and ignore what happens on the ground, as I did for taking the photos.
Second thing is housing architecture. There are those wonderful old raw stone buildings of mostly sheep farmer families on the countryside and the traditionally coloured houses in the villages with their broad chimneys an their wooden carved business signs speaking of big craftsmanship of the times. But the region didn’t seam to have found an architectural language of modern times yet. Every piece of great contemporary architecture I saw (and this also counts for interior design) is imported. There is no Irish architecture which is aware of the past and its natural surroundings which continues classical Irish design into the future. Instead you’ll find mostly ugly, modernistic prefabricated housing in the middle of the greatest and wildest landscapes with thick plastic windows directly from the home depot stores, concrete fences and no intended garden at all. Interior Design (if it’s not traditional like for example in many pubs) is mostly inspired by English Interior Design but without the great materials and the will to develop coziness and individuality. I would really like to see those Irish style family homes with a love for proportions and space. There must be some.
Sneem is a picturesque village on the southern Ring of Kerry. It’s surrounded by breathtaking landscapes.
Those Irish people. Never in my traveler life I have met such friendly and eloquent people like here. Out of the blue you’ll start an intellectual conversation on the street while looking at some zucchini on a market stand. And all that without being intrusive or without the intention of selling something. There are many, many countries in the world who could take a leaf out of Irelands book on that issue.
We went to the Stepping Stone Bed & Breakfast because my cousin, who was already there for several times, recommended it to us. It is beautifully situated in Bridia Valley between the mountains of Kerry and you’ll get there by car or while hiking along the well indicated Kerry Way.
Sandy and John are the warmest hosts ever and they will make your stay a pure blast.
On our next station we stood at the Stepping Stone Bed and Breakfast near Glencar in Bridia Valley. What a landscape!
The Gap of Dunloe is a wonderful landscape in the middle of the Ring of Kerry. You can drive to a nearby village and from there on you walk or go by Jaunting Cart (60€/2P).