After spending the morning driving from Valentia Island to Kenmare, we set of with our freshly bought sandwiches to drive around the Beara Peninsula. We drove from Kenmare along the R571 until the turn off on the left for the R574 which is known as The Healy Pass, an amazing road which takes you up the Caha Mountains with views over Bantry Bay and Kenmare River (on a clear day). The pass itself is very fun to drive through, although you do have to watch out for sheep in the road and very sharp bends.
Our ordeal with The Standing Stones:
The R574 ends in Adrigole and from there we turned right (West) and headed towards the tip of the peninsula along the R572 turning right to drive up the R571 to Eyeries on our search for the Standing Stones. Now if I have not mentioned this before then this is a good time, tourist attractions in this part of the world are either badly signposted, as in signs after the turn off, or they are not sign posted at all. Our search for the standing stones led us to change driving direction 3 times, climb up a waterfall on what we thought was the path to the stones which turned out to be a two hour up hill endeavour that did lead to some standing stones, but not the ones we wanted. Then after finding the correct road that led us near to the standing stones (no sign post just pot luck) we then waded through a bog at dusk littered with dead lambs and sheep. After climbing some fences we finally got sight of the stones but to get to them we had to go through a waterlogged bog. Now I had my trusted wellington boots on but for this you needed whatever those fishermen wear that wade through rivers. After trying to find my way around in search of firmer ground I eventually decided to take the direct path as there were some stones spaced about a meter apart. But after not making one of the stones got my leg caught in the bog up to my knee and couldn’t get it out, with dead animals on either side of me and realising I was experiencing my very own ‘bog of eternal stench’ (Labyrinth) I burst into tears until James came to rescue me and took me to safety. After that he jumped light footed across the bog only to find the deranged Keeper of Stones: a very feisty ram that charged at him twice! After some very nimble footwork back across the bog to evade him and some careful circling he managed to get to the Stones and took some great shots. I think the standing stones are supposed to be spiritual in some way but I was definitely not getting the vibes!
From there we drove direct to Bantry and at close to 10pm managed to get a great pizza dinner at a local Italian. We stayed at The Maritime Hotel, which was fine but its modern feel did seem a bit out of place in a village in the middle of the countryside and the woman at the check in was quite grumpy. But the room was nice and it had a very nice bathroom to wash off the smell of bog and dead sheep!
The R574 & The Healy Pass:
In search of The Standing Stones: