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IRELAND    DIARY  3

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        From Diary 2, I now continue in the southern Ireland.
7/8 2021.
 I head a bit back up north-east to get to the Middleton's Farmers Market. It is a moist morning, but it clear up within long. I'm actually a bit early, and do budgets and other accounting. The marked is not that big today, they tell me, but they sure have some nice food for sale. I have a long chat with a guy, selling apples from last year. They are so crispy, I almost thought they were from this years harvest. Another sell the most fantastic gluten-free cakes, while others sell home-grown crops.

Considering the drive, I spend only little time here, but a drizzle starts. Next site is way down south again, and I take the medium roads, through cosy towns and a lot of green hills and woods. Here starts to be quite some lakes, some real big, all great looking. When the road gain height, the ferns are ready to take over.

Where some of the long line of housing in the villages are rather humble, the large estates in the countryside are impressive. I eventually reach a large lake in front of a almost barren mountain, and then Gougane Barra Forest Park. I pay to get the car in, and that was the right decision.

It is a strange mix of vertical rocks-sides and mainly huge Western Hemlock; Tsuga heterophylla, but here are also other forest trees. The road passes a creek, and I ditch the car, and walk back. It actually get fed by a fantastic waterfall, and I end way out in the forest, following it up-hill. It look so great, the light is so bad, but the ferns, old boulders, mosses and splashing water look so beautiful.

It is only a short drive around the lower part, but many, real smooth trails leads up through the trees and along the creeks. I do a few, but the rain is never far away. I do a second loop on the road, but it is darker by now. I start on a longer trail, but abandon right away, and leave the park in heavy rain.

The GPS leads me out on a 12 kilometre trail from An Doire Leathan over Coolnoohill, Morley's Bridge to Laharan East, with grass between the wheel tracks. It is a beautiful drive, pass remote farms and through unspoiled nature, on the steeper parts of the landscape.

Eventually, I make it out to Kilgarvan, with its colourful houses. Then I find N71, leading from Killarney to Kenmare, through Moll's Gab. It is mainly barren mountains with only little grass-cover. I've been driving on N71 before, but not here, and it is great. The pass itself is not really that impressive, but I do a walk, just to be sure I don't miss anything. The road continues - and so do I.

Around a few bends, down on the other side, the vegetation returns. Then a large lake appears, and a huge panorama. I do a short walk in the forest, where the branches have up to 30 centimetres of mosses and other plants on them.

I meet a deer and its calf, and they completely ignores me. I wonder if I have killed my self, and they don't see ghosts?
This is actually The Ring Of Kerry, a scenic route around the huge Leugh Leane lake area, and I continues into Killarney National Park. Next stop is where a church and river meets. The cascades with mosses and trees in look absolutely perfect, and I just have to wait for the sun. I end up with around 100 identical photos, and a few videos. Unfortunately, they fare from look as good, as the real thing.

 Further down the road, I meet the lakeshore, and more magnificent motives. A few wooden boats have been here for some time, it seems, and the area appears to be quite flooded, to judge from the grass in the water. I discover it, when I wrongly assume a heather will be safe to step on.

Once again, I reach the car just before the rain starts to poor down. I pass Killarney, just as a wedding exists the cathedral. Further out of the town, the annual Sheppard's dog competition is on. I forgot my Wellingtons, and realise; I won't fit in. Well, I have no dog either.

Next up is Gab of Dunloe, and I don't expect that much. But it is an astonishing narrow valley. A narrow sealed road leads in to it, and it seems like I am aloud to drive it. However, most do the 2*10 kilometre tour by foot or horse-wagon. In the rain and strong wind??? They don't really appear to enjoy it as much as I, when curtains of rain passes.

On the other side, I find The Black Valley, with a few farms and summerhouses or alike. I have to return, and hope the sun will join in by now. Well there are spots of sun in the large valley, but not on everything at the same time.

The last planned sight of the day, is just the view from the hill of Aghadoe. I stop at the nearby church ruin, but here are no special good view. I find the official viewing-spot, and it is a huge panorama. Unfortunately, the sun is not up for the job, but I get the idea - not the photo.
It is a hundred kilometres home, and I chose the medium sized roads, and start working right away, while my dinner is cooking. I figure I have a short day in the morning, and spices it up with some additional sights in Cork. Day 6.

8. I enjoy the hour and a half drive up to Lismore and their Farmers Market. It is in the driveway to the castle, and not big at all. But here is a nice mix of handicraft, flowers, art, vegetables and second-hand stuff along with bread and coffee. I chat with a few of the traders, one doing some real nice wooden work.

While I'm here, I do a tour around the old town, with the colourful shops and great atmosphere. Some houses have been real posh - way back, others were made cheep, and could do with a bit of mending, one of these days. The sun is on in glimpses, around the same amount of time it takes my camera to boot-up.

I head back south, out to the Cork harbour, named Cobh. It is by another route, this one more in the forests - or at least the green tunnel, looking that way. Endless stone-walls allies the road, and through the hedges, I see mainly green grass fields with cows. Here are a few barley and wheat fields, and they are being harvested by now. As usually, I have to stop at at least one of the great looking stone bridges.

I pass a large area with tidewater, although it looks like rivers. Apparently, it is an area with islands, but the feel is inland for most. I pass a few towns, then I reach the island with Cobh on. I'm here to make one picture; The line of card Houses, right in front of the cathedral. It does take some time before the sun get the idea, and I see the cathedral and have a look down the harbour-area.

Then I head in to the dead-centre of the huge city of Cork. I squeeze in the car, and have a walk around The English Quarter and around. It is hard to put a finger on, but it just lack something. The buildings are there, the river, the pedestrian streets, the cafes, but not the full charm. I end the visit at the cathedral, and then go to jail.

Well, I have seen so many castles and alike, but only a few ancient prisons, and Cork have one: Cork City Gaol. It is an impressive building, and large areas are, as they were a hundred years ago. As I paid 10 to get in, I see it all!

Then I head home towards Kingsale, which also is a cosy little harbour town. Despite it is Sunday, most shops are open - but they trade in things the guests like, and here are quite a lot. I do most streets, but skip the harbour, filled with plastic-boats. I'm home at four, a brand new experience! And only have 250 photos to work with. Day 7.

9. A long drive with only two major sights lures ahead. I am heading way down south again. It is yet another great drive, and I have chosen new roads, as I have been down here before.

After close to three hours, I reach Staigue Fort, way out a narrow road. The sun emerges only here. It is a circular fort, dating back to the first century. It is located in a valley with view to the sea and loads of green meadows. The setting, but especially the fort is real great, and I spend quite some time, getting all angles - and soaked feet, due to the wet grass.

Within the wall, two small chambers are found, and everything look so well restored. The circle are 30 metres in diameter, the walls several metres thick and up to six metres high - now. Several sets of steps leads to the top inside the circle.

I have been following the Ring of Kerry road for some time, and head back to it, and follow it for 180 kilometres today. The views are great, inland to the green hills and cliffs, and out to the blue sea. Here are quite some flowering plants, although I doubt most are indigenous.

The road follow the cost - more or less close, and outside Glanbeg, the most fantastic sandy beach is found. It look like the Caribbean! Well, except form the large amount of flowering heather. In other places, the road cut through the mountains, offering great views down to the blue sea and numerous islands.

The most outer road on the far end of the peninsular is called The Skellig Ring. Here, the southern end of The Atlantic Way is found, following the entire western coast. I will be driving it from time to time.
I'm down here to see Kerry's Most Spectacular Cliffs. These sea-facing bird-cliffs are up to 305 metres tall, and a popular sight.

Where I have been so lucky with the weather, the sun vanish, as I walk out to the cliffs, and a shower takes over. Not exactly what I had hoped for, but I did bring my raincoat- for wind-protection. I seek shelter in The Beehive Village, a replica of 1000-4000 year old sledge-huts.

Even without sun, the mighty cliffs are a spectacular sight. A bit too big for my camera, and the light is real bad. However, I do enjoy the place, and make way too many crappy photos. I wait for quite some time, but the sun have gone for now. Comforts myself with a little latte at the parking-lot, and head on. The area is so much like the cliffs of Faroe and Iceland.

That includes my planned sights for the day, but it is only noon, and I'm fare from home. I might as well see the other sights, I have on the other side of the peninsular. Well, the fist is cross the bridge to Valentia Island. Here, Glanleam House should have some real nice gardens. Well, they might have had, but apparently, a storm have destroyed them. To me, it look more like neglect.

In the north-eastern end of the island, I find the Knight's Town ferry to Reenard Point on the main island. It is a shortcut of 68 kilometres, and a 650 metre fair. And it is fast: The fire-department wait on the other side, with an emergency response! They are real eager to get us off the ferry!

I do a big U around another fjord, to get to the town of Dingle. The drive should be great, but I recon I'm spoiled by now. It is a coastal road, and it sure have some nice green hills inland.
The town itself is stuffed with cars and pedestrians. I see most, as I look for a place to park the car. The drizzle change into rain, and I have seen more cosy town. I have 170 kilometres home, and start the drive. Once again, I find new roads, these slightly bigger. I make a single stop at the huge beach of Inch.

I have driven a bit more than 500 kilometres, and call it a day - except for the work with photos and diaries -along with the re-planning of tomorrow, which is a bit thin by now. Day 8.
                       That was the southern part. Now I enters Diary 4 and the western Ireland.

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