Bed & Breakfasts save you money. First, they feed you enough for breakfast and lunch. Second, the good ones double as travel agents.
Thanks to Fernroyd‘s hosts in Cork, Avril and Tony, we abandoned our plan of traveling the length of Ireland to visit Derry and instead skipped off for a two-day detour to Killarney: a cozy town on the southwestern coast, obviously arrayed for tourists but nonetheless charming and all the more convenient as a result.
Again, our host Danny (of Lar Kinley Lodge) moved mountains of research and indecision by booking our tour of the Ring of Kerry. I never thought we would drive this historic circle of highway because we decided against renting a car, but the tourism industry came through with professional bus tours. Danny reserved us seats with the able and engaging Deros Tours.
The Ring glances off world-famous views of Ireland’s seas, mountains, and hills. We paid a price for the warmer weather from earlier this trip: The drought had leeched much of the emerald from the isle
Cold winds blew Mom back onto the bus after just one photograph on most of the stops
Irish farmers burn the yellow gorse to cinders every year in a desperate effort to halt its advance
See the red splotches on the sheep’s wool? Never fear: It’s graffiti from the shepherds’ mass herding methods
Ancient Celtic ruins dot the landscape. They worshiped the sun, which tells you they had great faith
An unexpected highlight: We attended a performance by a master herdsman and sheep dog trainer
First, the shepherd showed off his rare breeds, including this double-horned specimen from the Middle East
Then his Border Collies ran through their paces, stalking a band of hapless sheep up and down a hillside in perfect obedience to their master’s commands
The performance was Christmas come early for Mom, our former veterinarian technician and resident dog lover
In town, we encountered a famous bowler and sports director, Mick O Dwyer
–and, none other than Charlie Chaplan! He whiled away his later years in Killarney
A genealogist in a souvenir shop broke the bad news: Our Irish ancestors, the Minnis family, actually hailed from Scotland
By the trip’s conclusion, I added an item to my travel bucket list: Return to bike the Ring of Kerry