24 November 2009

Kerry Way, Kells to Glenbeigh

This is a beautiful high-level section of the Kerry Way, skirting along the mountain range of the Iveragh peninsula, overlooking Dingle Bay.
Begin just above the sleepy post office at Kells, on the N70, Ring of Kerry road to Caherciveen. Although initially a little muddy, a decent track leads gently uphill, past several roofless, long abandoned, famine cottages and small fields with the faint remnants of potato beds in them.
After half an hour an old railway viaduct will come into sight, nestled in a thick pine forest. You'll then enter the top edge of this pine forest, crossing several streams. During warm summer days clouds of golden pollen burst into the air as the Atlantic breeze ruffles the pine boughs.

The peaceful, damp forest track eventually deposits you out onto the open hillside and this is often a welcome place to sit and savour the views over Dingle Bay and Inch Beach.

A narrow rocky track then winds along the flank of Drung Hill, once a coaching road, now used mainly by wandering sheep. An ogham stone stands atop of Drung Hill and it's thought by some that this was where local kings were crowned. From this peak they could see all of their kingdom spread before them. A steep detour off the Kerry Way will take you to this summit and is well worth the effort.

The fuchsia lined path meanders downhill slowly and crosses over the busy main road at Mountain Stage. This was once a stage coach stop, where horses were replenished. Now a little, friendly coffee shop stands there. It's a short detour off the Kerry Way to reach the coffee shop, so you'll need to use your OS map.
From here quiet country roads, with the occasional farm house, leads you to a fork in the road. You've the choice of continuing straight, which will lead you through peaceful, shady pine woods into Glenbeigh village, or take a left to enjoy a long descent and spectacular views down to Rossbeigh beach, for a swim in the fresh Atlantic surf!

The hike is approximately 12km and takes five hours. You either need a car at each end, or use Falvey's Taxi to return you to your own car (087 9077648). The Towers Hotel, with it's blazing open fire, is worth calling into for a coffee or hot chocolate. You'll need proper hiking gear, including walking boots, waterproofs and an OS map.


Nathan Kingerlee - Outdoors Ireland

12 November 2009

Lorge Chocolatier in Bonane

We went on one of those days out today to escape from the office and to wander in the places we do not get to during the busy summer season. With no proper agenda we headed from Gougane(R584) to Glengarriff and over the Caha Pass (N71) in the direction of Kenmare. On our way down into Bonane we found the front door of Lorge Chocolatier open and we had to stop!!
Inside the door, we were greeted by Eva with samples of their creations, i got a homemade chocolate and honey taster. These are created by Benoit Lorge (and his team), award winning chef, who makes high quality chocolates for gourmet shops and high class hotels and restaurants and his own welcoming shop in Bonane, just 5 Km from Kenmare on the Glengarriff road.
Benoit also runs a number of specialist courses for aspiring chocolate makers, teaching them the finer points of preparing, handling and finishing many different types of chocolate. His most popular event is the bi-monthly children’s workshop, although sometimes his greatest critics, all the children go home delighted by what they have experienced with plenty of stories to tell.
Well worth a visit to this Chocolate Heaven with delicious homemade chocolates, loads of great gift ideas and courses on Chocolate making, Yum!!
Lorge Chocolatier, http://www.lorge.ie/
Bonane, 064 6679994
Co. Kerry