An Arthurian Tale
GAELIC GETAWAY, CHAPTER 13: IN WHICH WE GO AWOL
Day 14: Bantry to Kenmare. After two nights, it was time to leave Bantry and County Cork behind as we continue our journey up Ireland's west coast. A few minutes after we turned north on R584, we found ourselves back in Kealkill, where the now mighty Ouvane River was still frothing and gushing as it had been a couple of days ago, threatening to burst out of its banks.
|Ouvane River wants to go wandering.|
The Herberts also wanted to make a personal impression on the queen. Toward that goal, they engaged in years of exorbitant preparations—commissioning custom tapestries, mirrors, Persian carpets, silverware, musical instruments, linen, china and even special servants' uniforms for the occasion. Practically the entire house was redecorated...for a two-day visit. The curtains that still hang in the Muckross House dining room were woven especially for the monarch's visit. Extensive work was also done on the grounds and gardens.
|Muckross Dining Room (photo from Muckross-House.ie)|
The second owner of Muckross House was Arthur Guinness, great grandson of the legendary Dublin brewer of the same name. A generous philanthropist, Guinness stated a desire to preserve the Muckross landscape. He never lived in the house but used it as a hunting lodge for friends and business associates before he sold it in 1911 to yet another Arthur.
|Irish elk antlers (aka giant Irish deer) in center|
Though "Claire" was obviously quite knowledgeable about the house, its furnishings and history, we realized rather quickly that she had not kissed the blarney stone any more than I did. As many people as we have met who truly exude the Irish "gift of gab" and can spin spellbinding tales at the drop of a leprechaun's hat, "Claire" unfortunately was not one of them. Her recitation of disconnected facts made the tour seem to drag on until we were rescued past the one hour mark by an unexpected hero—Ken's bladder, which had grown more impatient than we were. When we spied an exit sign as the tour was turning a corner into yet another wing of the house, we took advantage of our position at the back of the group and bailed out.
After making our escape and finding the needed facilities, we cobbled together a tasty picnic lunch in our car. Though a pair of demanding local crows paced back and forth outside the car, loudly insisting we should share with them, we noted their healthy appearance and kept our food to ourselves.
|The legendary yew|
|One of many roadside sheep we saw while driving through the park. A local sheep farm posted Adopt-a-Sheep signs.|
Tomorrow we plan to set off from Kenmare, following the famous Ring of Kerry scenic drive around the coastline of the Iveragh (eye-VEER-uh) Peninsula.
- Started in Bantry, ended in Kenmare
- Mileage - 86 (Trip total: 5,636)
- Weather - 51° to 57°, cloudy, rain, repeat
- Miles walked - 3.5
- Sunrise - 8:40, Sunset - 4:25
MONDAY, 14 DECEMBER, 2015
More Photos from Today
|Bantry still sleeping when we left at 8:30|
|Ouvane River shows its power.|
|Billiards table in the gentlemen's room at Muckross House|
|Muckross Abbey cemetery still in active use|
|Beautiful abbey ruins|
|Muckross Abbey again|
|Burials still standing inside the nave at Muckross Abbey ruin|
|Ruins of an 18th century constabulary near Ladies View on the Killarney-Kenmare road|