Our drive from County Clare to the Beara Peninsula was amazing! The landscape is absolutely gorgeous. The highlight was driving through the Ring of Kerry. Around every corner we discovered waterfalls, vistas, sheep and fog. We stopped at Ladies’ View (it was named after Queen Victoria’s Ladies in Waiting who were there in 1861) to take in the view and have an ice cream. I was thrilled to discover that they had Bailey’s and Coffee to go — I love Ireland!
Then we drove off into a thick fog band to discover County Cork. Our rental house is on a working farm on the Beara Peninsula. The woman who owns the house recently remodeled it. It was a farmhouse from the 1800s that belonged to a relative. It is new and beautiful but still maintains its original 3 foot thick walls. Our neighbors are cows that love table scraps so the boys get to feed them every morning. It’s very peaceful here.
We drove the Ring of Beara, which is breathtaking, to the little fishing village of Castletownbere for groceries and ice cream. We had to pull over every few minutes so the boys could take pictures. The weather here seems to change every 30 minutes from sunshine to fog to sun. At the end of the peninsula is the furthest west point in Ireland at Dursey Island, where you can only reach it via a gondola tram.
We visited the ruins of Dunboy Castle, which was a stronghold of the O’Sullivan clan. It was the site of a battle in 1602 when Elizabeth I sent troops to seize the harbor of Berehaven. The British were successful and the castle has laid in ruins since. It was a wonderful place.
After passing the old guard gate you drive down a dirt road past Puxley Mansion, which was built in the early 19th century and bombed by the IRA in 1920. Recently, a company purchased the manor and began to make it into a 5 star hotel, only to run out of money before completing it. Now it’s abandoned and slightly creepy!
Directly across the road from the mansion is a shipwrecked vessel in the bay. The street dead ends at a sign about the castle and then you hike up the hill to the site. We were the only ones there and the hill has reclaimed the castle covering it with grass and wild flowers. It looks like something out of a fairytale. The boys loved climbing over the walls and to the tip of one of the gates.
On the way out we saw the most beautiful horse in a pasture. As we slowed to drive by, he came running over to the fence. We’re assuming hikers bring him treats by the way he was sniffing us and nosing around Rich’s pockets. The horse was huge and very friendly.
Beara Peninsula is somewhat off the beaten track, but well worth a visit. It’s not as crowded as the Ring of Kerry, but equally beautiful and has some really unique and enjoyable sights.