After a day driving through the fairy-tale Ring of Kerry we ended up in Sneem, and stayed because we liked the name.
Once booked into a B&B we wandered a bit, crossing over the bridge above a river full of jagged rocks. The river was edged by yellow grasses creating a fall tapestry.We meandered down to the church, which was modern and boring, and then down to a caravan park on the river. This wasn’t particularly interesting either, except for the fact that the parking pads were placed in such a way as all the caravans had a view of a stone sculpture park. These were modern but in many ways resembled the traditional beehive houses.From the Sculpture Garden we were led through a willow bowery to a Garden of Scents which admonished us to ‘Stop and smell the roses’.Being October there wasn’t too much left but sunflowers, a bit of sun on a cloudy day. In the town we spotted this sign at the ‘craft’ butcher’s which made us think that the meat in this town was really fresh!Finally we hit a pub, which served food. Dinner was a half pound hamburger for Al and a fish pie for me. The fish pie looks like a shepherd’s pie, and, well, hmmm, won’t be ordering that again. Probably should have ordered the lamb from the O’Conner’s farm.
And then we were off to a second pub, which didn’t serve up food, but beer and characters.When we told them we had come all the way around the coast of Ireland from Dublin to Belfast and onwards one exclaimed, “That isn’t Ireland, this is Ireland, that’s ‘The North’.”
He told us that when he had first arrived in Sneem there were 20 coaches parked in the square so he moved on quickly. But somehow he ended up coming back.
Everyone wanted to hear about our journey around Ireland and at one point I asked, “Are we travelling too slowly?”
“Are you having fun?”
“Then you’re travelling at just the right speed.”
The bartender also had some stories to tell us. “I moved here from London, 10 million people there, and I moved to Ireland, to a little stone hut, no running water, no electricity. And I learned four things, how to cook, how to clean, how to sew and how to iron.”
“How to iron?”
“Yes, you put a large rock in the fire and then you put it in the iron and you iron your shirt, just your Sunday shirt, the one you wear to church. You could wear it for four days, which meant you’re good for four weeks of Sundays, and then you had to do it all over again.”
We stayed in the Stone House B&B which was only 40€/night due to the fact that no one would be around to cook breakfast the next day – they recommended Kelly’s Bakery just down the road which was a perfect start for our drive through Ballighbeama Gap to Killarney National Park the next morning.That day, October 6, we went from Dingletown and drove around the Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Skellig, spending the night in Sneem. The next day we drove through Ballighbeama Gap to Killarney National Park, spending time at the ancient Muckross Abbey and then exploring the wilder parts of the park.