Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Round Ireland (2016-18)

Cork to Killarney - the scenic route

I had my final breakfast in Cork's Radisson Blu hotel and checked out at 9:15. The weather was still somewhat miserable-looking at this stage, albeit dry, but the final remnants of Sunday's storm would disappear within half an hour. I filled up the car, in view of the long journey that lay ahead through some relatively remote areas. Although Cork and Killarney are not far apart - approximately 85km by the most direct route - my intention was quite literally to take the scenic route, trying to combine the most important parts of the previous day's cancelled plans with today's original plan.

Kinsale

I started by retracing Sunday's drive to the little fishing port and resort town of Kinsale, this time arriving in beautifully bright sunshine. I had a quick walk around to take photos of the busy harbour and the colourful buildings, and was ready to get back on the road by 10:40am.

Timoleague

My next significant stopping point was the village of Timoleague, around 25km west and a little south of Kinsale on the R600 road. The road hugged the coastline for the final section of the drive, and I made a few brief photo stops where I felt that the views were particularly attractive. The main point of interest in the village itself was a historical site containing the ruins of the 13th-century Timoleague Abbey.

Bantry

Heading west out of Timoleague, I picked up the N71 road just before nearby Clonakilty -- interesting name, but I didn't stop! I maintained a westerly course through Skibbereen and continued to follow the N71 as it gradually turned to head northwards towards the little town of Bantry. Not surprisingly, the town is situated at the head of the large expanse of seawater known as Bantry Bay. The town made a convenient lunch stop for me, and I had a look around the main focal point, Wolfe Tone Square, before getting back on the road.

RIGHT: Wolfe Tone Square in the small town of Bantry, County Cork

Moll's Gap

My route continued on the N71 to Glengariff and shortly thereafter I left Co. Cork behind and entered Co. Kerry. I passed through Kenmare without stopping and soon the road became part of the celebrated Ring of Kerry drive, of which more tomorrow. I made several brief photo stops on the section prior to Moll's Gap, where it was safe to do so.

Moll's Gap was the first of two more significant photo stops. It was popular with coach parties and car passengers, no doubt helped by the presence of a café and souvenir shop.

Ladies View

The second of my more significant photo stops was at Ladies View, so named as it was said to be a favourite of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting during the monarch's 1861 tour of the area. Once again, it was also a compulsory stop for tour coaches.

Killarney

I arrived at my latest hotel - the Brehon, on the southern edge of Killarney - around 4:15 in the afternoon, and I could tell from the moment I walked through the front door that this would prove to be an excellent choice. As soon as I got settled in, and in view of the fact that I had spent most of the day in the driver's seat of my rental car, I decided to get some exercise and hopefully work up an appetite for dinner by walking into the centre of town and back.

Killarney (Irish: Cill Airne) is a small town with big ideas: it is the main centre of tourism in southwest Ireland and it boasts both a castle and a cathedral, neither of which I managed to see in the course of my walk.

But this highly successful day was not yet over! After a short spell of relaxation, I enjoyed a drink in the bar and then had a superb dinner in the Brehon's fine dining restaurant, Danú. I chose a salmon starter followed by a lamb main course, and finished with some cheesecake. Perhaps best of all, it was all included in my room rate.

Mon 11 Apr 2016

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