Monday, May 28, 2007

Circles Of Bearra

A few weeks ago, during a warm sunny spell in Ireland at the end of April it was a joy to return to the Bearra Peninsula. Some more of our tours will return there this year.


The Bearra Peninsula is on the Kerry and Cork border. South of the Ring of Kerry, in my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland. It is largely unheard of because the roads are too narrow for the regular bus tours that tour the Ring Of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula instead.


Our interest is a combination of following the path of the goddess Bearra legends and traditions along with visiting some of the many ancient stone circles situated in the most beautiful and most ambient of Landscapes.


Uragh A   ( OS map 84 V 832 635)


Uragh A circleI rate this as being in the top five of most wonderful ancient sites to visit. I have visited here during blue sky, awesome mountain views and a background of waterfalls.


On this day we were accompanied by sunny haze and mist that may have hid the usual views but did add to the mystery and ambience of this intriguing site. This is a typical Kerry five stone circle, but with an unusual 5 to 6 M high alignment stone.



 Uragh B   ( OS map 84 V 825 631)


Uragh BAt last we found this nearby circle. Each time I visited Uragh I looked for this circle. If I asked others their description was “can’t miss it!”


This time the farmer’s wife was nearby to give some direction, but we split into 3 directions and Claire found it. Once you do find this circle you’ll wonder how you could not find it. There is a path direct to it starting from behind the farmhouse, and you can park at the house.


This picture is a section of this very peaceful circle with a boulder burial in the middle, though recent reading make me now wonder if the central boulder was originally for another reason rather than burial.


 Dereentaggert   ( OS map 84 V 662 464)


Dereentaggart CircleAfter the entertaining drive along the Healy Pass, an outstanding surreal road with a history of courage and perseverance, followed by lunch at Castleberehaven, we arrived at Dereentaggart circle.


A wonderful preserved 12 stone circle along a quiet country lane. Easy to find and easy to visit, relax and enjoy the views.


 Dursey Island  cable car  ( OS map 84 V 506 418)


Dursey island


Obviously not a stone circle but I have always been curious about what the Dursey cable car was like.


We were fortunate to see it in operation, with some very interesting reactions from the folks who alighted.


I then heard a story that when just one person travels a sheep is put on board to balance the cable car.


Some of the cable car door is damaged as if someone furiously tried to escape it by kicking out the door. I wonder if it was the traveller or the sheep.


 
 Ballycrovane ogham stone  ( OS map 84 V 656 529)


Ballycrovane ogham stone


Several people have been surprised that I have not visited this famous ogham stone. Now that we have visited here I am wondering why I have not been here before also.


This must be 6 or 7 M tall. The stone is not from the area, appears to be sandstone There are inscriptions all up the left side.When I return here maybe I will try to take time to interpret them.


Situated by a beautiful small fishing harbour, not far from Ardgroom.


 
Ardgroom circle  ( OS map 84 V 708 553)


Ardgroom circ`leA favourite stone circle of Ireland for many. The views towards the sea are spectacular. Always a joy to visit here. Doesn’t this look like a painting?


It was also wonderful to see the “keep out” signs replaced by new styles and welcome sign. The site has been cleaned up considerably with a lot of the surrounding gorse and bracken removed.


Shronebirrane circle  ( OS map 84 V 754 554)


ShronebirroneDeep into a mountain pass along a narrow country lane from Lauragh.


Not the most magnificent stone circle on Bearra as so much is missing but this is always worth a visit because of its remote mountain location.


It is beside the road so this is one of the easiest ancient sites of Bearra to visit.


 


 Kenmare circle  ( OS map 78 V 907 707)


Kenmare circleWe could not complete the day without a visit to Kenmare’s circle just on the edge of town.


Some people think this is a false circle but on this visit realized it is the real thing with grounds that are well kept. Though closed when we arrived there is an admissions hut and a new visitor’s centre being built. Though on the edge of town this is a lovely peaceful place with a wonderful feel to it.


The above are less than half of the stone circles you could visit on the Bearra Peninsula along with many cairns, dolmens and standing stones. Ideally, it takes a week to see all that is available compared to just a day with the few sites still available on the Ring of Kerry and none of those are as spectacular as on Bearra.


All of the above sites are the easiest to find and visit. Some are by the road while others only require a short walk, about 5 minutes, with no difficulties such as awkward fences and gates. I know I could confidently take our tour groups to any of the above, and visit all of them again in a day.


There are several equally and even more beautiful sites around Bearra that do require some hiking and awkward wall and fence climbing that are worth investigating by yourselves.Thatched House, Kenmare


I cannot close without a picture of the wonderful guest house we stayed in. Future groups will be staying here and I will do a complete blog on this house.


It is a thatched house built and furnished by one man from largely re-cycled materials yet providing a high standard of accommodation. The inside and the gardens outside are straight from a children’s fairy tale story book, as is the man and his dog. We were well looked after by his wife Carmen.


We cannot wait to return here, Kenmare, and to Bearra again.

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