County Kerry
County Kerry

The district I would like to revisit most is in County Kerry. The scenery of the area is unbelievably beautiful. I last visited the area two summers ago on a rare sunny day. (I say "rare", because I have been told that the mountains of Kerry are usually topped with a 'hat' of mist). I went with my family, early one morning, by car, from Cork, up through Macroom and on to Killarney.
The change in landscape was gradual. Firstly there were hills blanketed in golden wheat, then rocky slopes with gushing rivers running round their feet, as if they were trying to escape, then towering mountains, with jutting rocks.

There was a fabulous, different view around every corner. The mountains were smattered with a lovely purple heather and the sweet scent of the yellow gorse, filled the crisp, clean air. A blue haze shimmered on the horizon, and water twinkled on the lakes which, lay between the mountains on the valley floor, like pieces of a jigsaw-puzzle, scattered around, waiting for assembly. The lakes reflected the blue sky like mirrors, and the sound of cascading mountain water reached our ears as a peaceful hiss. The serenity was unique. I had never seen the likes of it before, and it is for this reason that I intend to return there.

As the day wore on, we had to face the decision, whether to go off down through "MacGillacuddy's Reeks", or to break off from that road, and make our way back to Cork via Kenmare, Glengarriff and Macroom. The decision was made, and much to my disappointment, we did not travel the complete "Ring of Kerry". However, the scenery which remained was still, by anyone's standards, spectacular, as we took the road down through Kenmare, to Glengarriff.

The road 'hung' from the mountainside, and followed the contours up and up. Eventually it reached a sharp corner, with a small tunnel. Behind us was our last glimpse of the lakes of Killarney, and the lush green fields, clinging to the mountain-side like climbers on a rock face. To our left stood the remaining few feet of rock that capped the mountain. To our right was what seemed like a bottomless valley, disappearing into the earth. We drove round the sharp bend and through the small tunnel, and as if it were there to signify a new aspect of the scenery, before our eyes was an incredible valley which seemed to swallow up the road. We stopped to take photographs. We were surrounded by mountains, covered this time in a rusty red blanket of heather. The impact and contrast of this valley to the previous one was stunning. Whereas the last Valley had been beautifully lit by the yellow sunlight, this valley was half-shaded and half lit by the sun. The effect it gave was a kind of eeriness, to be looking from the light into the dark, and yet still see the sun. The shadows which the sun cast gave more feeling to the depth of the valley, and yet instead of a beautiful 'soft' valley which we had seen previously, this "'as a harsh, cold and angry looking valley.

As we arrived in Kenmare the sun was getting low, which spoilt the effect. However, when we reached the other side of the mountains, the coast side, the sun was still up, and it shimmered on the sea. We could see out over Bantry Bay, but the sun was setting, and we knew it would be dark before we reached Glengarriff. The mountain-side was now lit by red light from the setting sun, and everything was suddenly transformed into an artificial form.

By the time we had left Glengarriff it was pitch black. Rocks reached up high to our left and to our right.

The mountain air had made me sleepy and I fell asleep for the remainder of the journey.

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