Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Day 22: The Ring of Kerry. A bit of a fizzer…

If I’d known that this was going to be the best view we’d see today, It’d have enjoyed it a bit more. I suppose the luck of Fortunate Frogdancer couldn’t be expected to go on forever, and today at the Ring of Kerry was where it ran out.

Ah well. When I consider all the amazing pieces of good luck I’ve had in my travels, I guess I can smile and take one for the team.

This lake is right where the ruins of a 4th century abbey lie, called the Abbey of the Yew trees. Say what you like – those monks picked some picturesque places to build their abbeys.

This is Laugh Layn, above Kilarney.

Ben said, “ See the third island? It had a book as richly decorated as the Book of Kells. Cambridge University has it, but they really should give it back.”

This is the photo I sent to James from Dublin/North Korea when he sent me a message asking how the Ring of Kerry was going:

I said, “This is a view of the rocks of Skellig.”

Poor Ben. He knew going in that this was going to be a total washout of a day, but he kept on going, regardless.

The town here that we drove through has a goat festival each year.

Apparently, way back in the mists of time, there was a tiny village on an island who had built a wooden bridge/ladder over the river that they could move around. Early one morning, the people were awoken by the mad bleating of a goat racing through the town. They woke up and realised that they were about to be attacked, so they were able to draw up the footbridge and survive.

Now, they go up into the hills each year, find a goat, wash it and make it look Schmick, then they parade through the streets, feed the goat a whole heap of hay and generally have a fine old time.

Animal activists tried to stop it, but all it did was swell the numbers because the headline in the papers read: ‘Goat Festival in Blahblahblah’ (sorry, I don’t know the actual name of the town) and everyone just read the headline and thought, “That sounds like fun. Let’s go!”

This is the only Catholic Church in the world that is not named after a saint. Instead, it’s names after a man called Daniel O’Connell.
Reared by his uncle after his parents died, he was involved in the smuggling trade, bringing Illegally imported brandy and wine in from France.

Clearly, at some stage he stopped this because in the early 1800’s he was a member of parliament in the UK, where he successfully brought about the repudiation of Cromwell’s laws banning the practicing of the Catholic faith in Ireland.
This, of course, makes him a hero here.

“How did he manage to do it?” I asked Ben.

“Ahh, he was a very clever man, a very clever man indeed. He run rings around all those hereditary lords who were there just because they were born to it. “

He paused, then said almost as an afterthought, “Plus he had the backing of the Americans.”

We had a quick “splash and dash” in Waterville, which certainly lived up to its name.
We stopped for lunch at a great little pub called TheBlind Piper.

According to the story, a blind piper went to America and someone sent him a letter saying to come home and claim his inheritance. He stupidly did. 

He didn’t have the money to go back and he died in the workhouse.

Some of these Irish stories are absolutely brutal.

The pub was great and the food was lovely.

The town is very health-conscious…

… or something.

Remember when I bought a picture of a Fairy Tree? This is one we saw from the bus. See how the Hawthorn tree is all alone in the field?

Ladies View.

Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting saw it when they were over here preparing for her visit and told her she had to see it too. It clearly wasn’t the same weather as we have. We nearly got blown off the cliff!
It’s one of the main attractions of the Ring of Kerry.
It was raining so hard that I enthusiastically leapt off the bus, landed by the door, took this photo and then disappeared back into the bus. The rain was coming at us sideways.

We drove past. Ghost village… a place that had been abandoned during the Great Famine. “This place will never be touched,” said Ben.

As we were driving to a place, not on the itinerary, that Ben wanted to take us to, he told the story of a church haunted by a woman in a wedding dress. It has to be a rainy night and you’re all alone in a car. You feel a presence and she’ll be in the back seat. She was jilted by her lover at the altar so she jumped in the river and drowned.

Water is flowing either side of the road. It’s WET. Bus driver creeping very cautiously past each car. The road is very narrow and slippery.

Then we reached Torcasio Falls.
And it was the best thing of the day.

Suddenly, all the rain was worth it.

Here are some photos of the walk up to it.

This tree made me understand why so many fairy tales from Europe have haunted forests.

I just love this. Like, come on. How could this be natural?

And again, just to prove I’m really here and to show James that I’m still showing his sheep brooch around the Emerald Isle.

On the way home we saw a modern Celtic Cross on a hill overlooking the park. The lord of the manor wanted to be buried overlooking his land, so he was buried there standing up.

You’ll notice I’m wearing a mask. Scott says that he doesn’t think I had Covid because my symptoms don’t match up. He says I probably have a cold, which I’m happy about.
Well, I’d prefer to be fighting fit, but you know what I mean.

Tomorrow we visit another distillery. That should get rid of any lingering germs!


  1. sandyg61

    Rainy days are what you make of them and your bus driver certainly has the right spirit. Love the colour of the pub for your lunch stop.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Some places ‘do’ colour very well here.

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