Tuesday 7August 2018 Cromane – Killarney
- Gap of Dunloe
We left Cromane this morning to walk the Gap of Dunloe 12 kilometres outside Killarney. We parked the motorhome at Kate Kearney’s Cottage, where during the 1800’s a local girl ran an illegal drinking house, selling her famous ‘Kate Kearny’s Mountain Dew’ to visitors and is now a popular bar, restaurant and café.
Then we walked to the Gap of Dunloe and back approximately 20-kilometre through a magnificent glaciated valley with high cliffs and isolated lakes. There are pony and trap operators who also take passengers along this walk, for 90 euros.
We decided that the walk would be much more beneficial. As we were walking we saw very trendy multicoloured sheep.
The walk itself is not very difficult but it is long, and you have to stop and move aside for cyclists, cars and pony and cart traps.
We returned to Killarney, which completed our clockwise circumnavigation of the Ring of Kerry, where we parked the motorhome in the carpark next to the Tourist Office with 4 other motorhomes. After dinner we headed out to the streets of Killarney in search of Irish music and we found it at Danny Mann Pub and Restaurant where a father and son were playing Irish tunes on a banjo and acoustic guitar. They were very entertaining and every song they played we knew. Then we went around the corner to O’Connor’s Bar where a young girl, 16 years old, was playing Irish tunes on an acoustic guitar. She was excellent.
Wednesday 8 August 2018 Killarney – Castleisland – Dungarvan
- Crag Cave
With a late start to the day we visited Crag Cave at Castleisland, an underground limestone cave discovered in 1983 and thought to be over one million years old. We went underground with a guide who outlined the cave’s origins and its stunning formations of stalactites, stalagmites and columns where they come together. It would have been an amazing sight for Martyn Farr, a diver who discovered this cave when he emerged into this wonderous cavern with only a beam of light from his diving lamp.
After our visit we drove to Dungarvan, in Waterford County and parked in a carpark with 6 other motorhomes overlooking Helvick Head.
Thursday 9 August 2018 Dungarvan – Youghal – Ardmore- Dungarvan
Today we drove to Youghal, a designated Irish Heritage Town surrounded by medieval town walls, to go on the Olde Youghal Walking Tour at 11am, only to find that there was no walking tour today, even though the sign outside stated ‘Walking Tours 11am Monday – Friday and by appointment Saturday and Sunday’. We were informed that you have to book ahead for tours, so we headed off with a town map in hand and made our own tour.
We walked passed the the site of the Exchange built in 1847 and is now the Courthouse;
Water Gate built in the 13th century to provide access through the town walls to the docks and is known as Cromwell’s Arch because this is the place from which Oliver Cromwell left Ireland in 1650;
Clock Tower Gate completed in 1777 and used as the town gaol until the mid-19th century;
Myrtle Grove which was the home of Sir Walter Raleigh;
St Mary’s Collegiate Church built in 1220 and extended in the 14th and 15th centuries and is still in use today
and the Landward Town Walls from 1275 which surrounded the town on the shoreline as well as inland which is the part we walked on today.
The view of the town and River Blackwater is quite breathtaking from the walls and the tour guide was excellent.
Our next stop was Ardmore, a picturesque seaside village which was originally a 5th century monastic settlement founded by St Declan in 416 AD.
We walked along the 4-kilometre circular cliff trail
and the first thing we heard was yelling and screaming as we passed children having swimming lessons in the Bay in wetsuits.
Along the rocky shore we passed St Declan’s Stone, according to legend, this stone was carried miraculously on the waves from wales following St Declan’s visit there.
We then passed St Declan’s well,
the Gothic style Watchtower built in 1800 and associated with the Napoleonic defences built along the coastline of Ireland in the late 18th and early 19th centuries;
Father O’Donnell’s Well which was built by locals around 1928 and named after the father who used to come and read in this tranquil spot;
the wreck of the crane ship the Samson which was blown ashore in 1987
and the Lookout Post, a single room constructed by the Irish Government in one day in 1940 and was used during WWII by coast watch personnel to log all ships and aircraft which passed Ardmore;
The Round Tower built in the 12th century by monks as a place of refuge in case the monastery was attacked; Ardmore Castle recognised as a Cathedral in 1170 and St Declan’s Oratory which is the burial place of St Declan.
The cliff formations are stunning, and the walk is relatively easy and quite pleasant.
We then returned to Dungarvan to our camp from last night where we were going to go for a cycle along part of the Waterford Greenway which is a 46 km off road cycling and walking trail. When we arrived back it was pouring, so we waited for half an hour and it was still raining.
Friday 10 August 2018 Dungarvan – Waterford – Kilkenny
This morning we drove to Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city over 1100 years old.
We went on a guided walking tour around the historic sites. Some of these are Reginald’s Tower, which is named after the Viking leader that founded Waterford in 914 and was part of the city’s defences and has been in continual use since that time and has a replica Viking Longboat outside;
Christ Church Cathedral a magnificent 18th century building designed by James Roberts;
Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity also designed by John Roberts and built between 1793 and 1796 and is the oldest Roman Catholic Cathedral in Ireland;
Waterford Mall which was where the Medieval City Walls started;
Black Friars Abbey built in 1226 the remains of which are the chancel of the church and belfry;
along Merchant’s Quay the Clock Tower, a Victorian-Gothic structure built in 1861;
a street where the famous postcards depicting the occupations of yesteryear are displayed in tiles
and the latest addition is the Waterford Viking Sword the longest wooden sword sculpture carved from a storm damaged tree and tells the story of the Vikings to the present day.
We then drove to Kilkenny where we stayed the night in the carpark of the bus and train station just near the town centre. After dinner we walked to a pub near the bridge in town called Matt the Millers and listened to a four-piece band called The Kilkenny’s playing well known Irish and other music including a couple of Mumford and Sons songs. They were excellent.