Happily leaving the city of Cork, we headed off to our next accommodation on the Dingle Peninsula. We took the longer route, the N71/Wild Atlantic Way, because we wanted to visit Bantry Bay. The sun was shining, the water shimmering and parking (not free) was easy to find. The bay is really beautiful where two of the largest islands, the Whiddy and Bere, can be seen from almost any vantage point. Our main point of interest though, was to visit a house, home and Irish heritage which exists since around 1690.
Bantry Bay House and Garden
As mentioned before, the Bantry House has been here for more than three hundred years, and in the same family for about two hundred and fifty years. We didn’t know that they had their own parking, so had to walk up a long steep lane (puff-puff) lined by many big lovely shady trees, which was good as it was quite hot. At the end of the lane you pass through a gate, unlocked and unmanned, which might give the impression that you are free to roam around. Yes, you may roam, but you have to pay an admission fee first. You can buy a ticket for the house (interior) and garden, or just the garden, which we chose. Do not even try to cheat as they do check!
The view of the bay and the islands from the garden is stunning. There’s also a cemetery bordering on the property. They also have a tearoom serving light homemade lunches and teas. The house was opened to the public in 1946 and is now also a Bed and Breakfast. We were very impressed with the attractively laid out gardens! In 2001 Archaeologists found a 17th century deserted English fishing settlement and a medieval Gaelic village on the west lawn. Impressive and Wow! After ambling for an hour or two, we had to rush back to the car because the parking ticket had already expired. Oops! It was also still a long way to the hotel. We could have stayed at least another hour, that’s how awesome it was.
This is what we found along the N71/Wild Atlantic Way
There are many surprises to be found along the roads in Ireland, and this was one of them. A well-dressed sheep in an old vintage car. An amusing yet fetching advertisement for “The Ewe Experience” which is *quote* Ireland’s only interactive & interpretive sculpture garden *unquote* We unfortunately could not go in as it was closed.
Amazing hills and moutains on the way to Kenmare showing the Turner Rock tunnels. There are three of them and they are quite narrow. Apparently some very large vehicles have managed to get themselves stuck under here. Oh no…
Another delightful surprise was this 200-year old cottage found on the Caha Pass half way between Kenmare and Glengarriff. Molly Gallivan’s Cottage and Traditional Farm is still as it was before all the mod-cons like electricity. Old farm equipment, vintage cars and other interesting objects from days gone by can be seen. There are also some farm animals roaming around and Molly’s Old Tea Room and Barn Restaurant serves traditional food. It is a very unique and interesting house which belonged to a very special woman who had to bring up seven small children on her own. She was creative and a genius! She even made her own whiskey! A woman. So there!
The Ring of Kerry and still on the Wild Atlantic Way
We had to stop in Sneem for a wee and a nibble. It is a small village yet busloads of visitors stop here almost every day. There are many interesting sculptures dotted around the town, a panda donated by China and the goddess Isis donated by Egypt, to name but a few. What we will never forget is that there, in the mountains, a shop owner stumped me! Ordering baileys and cookie flavoured ice-creams, he asked if I was South African. Impressed and chuffed, I took off my red turban (my favourite cap) and beamed a big YES. “Have you been to South Africa?” I asked him. “No, never” was his reply. “Uhm, do you know any South Africans?” (hoping he would say yes and show us the way to my fellow countrymen) “No, never ever met one in my life”. Okaaayyyy! So how did he know! Was it the hair (red turban flattened the afro), the nose, or lips, or maybe my bum? I wish I knew. Everywhere else I’m mistaken for Spanish, Portuguese or Brazilian (still cannot figure that one out as my curves are not samba-samba). South African? Never ever! So it could only have been my accent…I hope 😊 He must’ve seen some movies or something…
The coastline along the Ring of Kerry is absolutely breath-taking!
Waterville House and Golf Links is a golf resort with an 18-century manor.
View from the Dingle Peninsula towards the Ring of Kerry
The very famous and quite large Inch Beach on the Dingle Peninsula
At last! Our hotel. The house is about three miles from Dingle Village and situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the mighty Mount Brandon. We were heartily welcomed by the owner herself, and shown to a lovely large room with an inviting bathtub…splash-splash which was used almost immediately 🛀🏻 After settling in we had supper in the restuarant downstairs and enjoyed some delicious home-cooked food. It was so good that we ate here every night of our stay. Of course, because they have an award winning chef (her husband) and an award winning restaurant! Forgot to mention the thirst-quenchers 😆 One of us had wine, as you know, sip happens, to it’s better to wine. The other one had beer…bläh. Okay, so he said it was lekker, so lekkerrrrr that he could have easily filled a bathtub with it and splish-splosh-hic-hic the whole night through. We’re talking about the very tasty craft beer from West Kerry Brewery!