Our Spring Break to Kenmare – 7th – 11th May 2017
On Sunday. May 7th 63 members of our Active Retirement group set off excitedly on the first leg of our journey to Kenmare for our annual 5 day Spring break.
We were based in the lovely Kenmare Bay Hotel and enjoyed brilliant sunshine and blue skies for the duration of our visit.
Our first day’s tour took us through beautiful scenic Glengarriff, which sits in the shelter of Bantry Bay, on to Mizen Head, the most south westerly point of the Iveragh Peninsula. It was the most exilerating experience with its arched bridge, the 99 steps and paths and fabulous views of Dunlough Bay, Signal Station and Fastnet Rock. Fastnet was known as Ireland’s Teardrop as it was the last part of Ireland seen by thousands of Irish Emigrants as they sailed away to the New World, most of them never to return again.
The mountainous Beara peninsula with its stunning coastal scenery was on the agenda for Day 2. Our first stop was in the major fishing port of Castletownbere with the Sugar Loaf Mountain and Hungry Hill as a backdrop. After a delicious tea/coffee/scones/apple pie,custard,cream,strawberry/ break in the Beara Coast Hotel, we continued on our journey to Allihies passing through the brightly painted, picturesque villages of Eyeries and Ardgroom. Unfortunately, time didn’t allow any of us to take the cable car to Dursey Island. The return journey took us to Adrigole via the Healy Pass which winds its way through the Caha Mountains, the backbone of the Beara Peninsula. We literally held our breath as we squeezed our way through the narrow tunnels. Well done to our driver Michael, who manoeuvred this extra large coach through these tunnels for the very first time. On the way back we had the unique experience of visiting the Buddhist temple at Dzogchen Beara built in the style of a traditional Tibetan monastery with its floor to ceiling windows and spectacular ocean views.
On day 3, we headed for Caherdaniel on the Ring of Kerry and had an interesting tour of Derrynane House, ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell. It is situated on 120 hectares of parklands on the scenic Kerry coast. Derrynane was notorious as a port for smugglers in the 18th century
As we boarded our bus for home, we were sad to leave this scenic part of the country. There wasn’t a hill or mountain in sight as we approached Ballinasloe. Even though we were very tired, we all agreed that the fun, comraderie and nice meals all helped to make this a wonderful and enjoyable trip. Thanks to Phil and Bridie for all the organising.