Travel tech and topics

Bantry Bay is the area of West Cork between the Sheep’s Head Peninsula and the Beara Peninsula.  Sitting just offshore is Whiddy Island and connecting the two is Tim O’Leary and his Whiddy Ferry.  As we sailed out to the island, I couldn’t help but notice the two kegs of beer aboard (one Guinness and one Carlsberg.) I almost hoped we’d break down and have to tap into the kegs for something to drink.

As you debark onto the island, the first thing you see is a pub. Still off to a good start.  Stop in the Bank House Bar & Restaurant for food or beverage before you take off for a walk around the island. Look for interesting ruins like the schoolhouse below or some hidden gun batteries. Notice the sign?  The Sheep’s Head Way walking route logos point right and left. That’s the beauty of walking a 3-mile long island.  Either way you go, you are going to arrive right back where you started from.

As you walk the paths or the meadows, be aware of the beautiful flora around you.  Watch for over-sized rabbits as well.

On the 10 minute ride back to Bantry, the clouds started to separate and the sun started to illuminate some of the buildings on shore. It was sensational to see the sunlit buildings against some darker clouds.  I also got my first glimpse of the famous Bantry House where I’d be spending the night.

Bantry House is a wonderful Georgian mansion built around 1750 and is still managed and lived in by relatives of the original owners.  B&B accommodations are available for those who would like to spend the night.  Believe me, you’ll like spending the night here – just gorgeous inside and out.

The gardens are the first thing you’ll notice and they are extensive.  A formal garden extends up a hillside behind the house and taking the stairway is a perfect place to get a view of the property with the bay behind it. Watch out for the guard chickens who wander at will.

Tours are given by the owners and there’s quite a bit of history to the house including links to Wolfe Tone and the less-than-successful United Irishmen’s rebellion at the end of the 18th century.

Downtown Bantry has dozens of historic sites as well if you have time to explore.  A large map in the town square will give you a walking route to see them all.  If you want a drink after your walk, I’d suggest The Snug, a little pub looking out on the square.  Good food, beer and Wi-Fi.  A recipe for success.

If you are driving, and I hope you are, you might prefer to drive out a few kilometers to Manning’s Emporium – a charming gourmet food shop, deli and café right on N71 between Bantry and Ballylickey. I met Siobhan Burke from the Sheep’s Head Way organization here and thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and the food. It was a little cool when we arrived, so we ate inside, but they offer both inside and outside seating.

The Emporium was started by Val Manning’s family in the  1930’s and is now run by  Andrew and Laura Heath,  who are in the process of a number of upgrades to the premises. What remains the same is that Manning’s Emporium is still the quintessential place for homemade bakery and locally sourced produce. We shared a cheese & charcuterie board with antipasti, bread and chutney that was over- the-top delicious.  The Durrus Og cheese is a new favorite.  Watch their calendar for wine and food tasting events throughout the year.

Click here for the index of all Wild Atlantic Way articles in this series

Previous article in the Wild Atlantic Way series: Sheep’s Head Peninsula

Next article in the Wild Atlantic Way series:  County Donegal

Why travel the Wild Atlantic Way? [Infographic]

Beautiful Bantry Bay for food, fun and flora Bantry Bay is the area of West Cork between the Sheep’s Head Peninsula and the Beara Peninsula. 

Still looking for that perfect summer getaway?  If you want ocean waves, clean beaches, clean air, great food and family friendly destinations; Southern Delaware should be on your radar.

For a short refresher course:

After doing those first couple articles, I got a number of requests for more information, especially regarding where to stay.  With that in mind, here are three places I can recommend without hesitation – having stayed at all three:

  • Hotel Blue – Lewes
  • Hyatt Place – Dewey Beach
  • Boardwalk Plaza Hotel – Rehoboth Beach

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Hotel Blue – Lewes, Delaware

With gently glowing lights from the most unsuspecting places, Hotel Blue welcomes you to a new standard in luxury in beach accommodations.  Right across from the harbor and just minutes from the beach, Hotel Blue is located near to most of Lewes, Delaware’s most popular attractions.

The hotel suite (100) that I stayed in was very spacious with ample room to spread out all my gear. It was chilly while I was there in April and the fireplace was a very welcome amenity.

The bed was extremely comfy and the covers very luxurious.  In the hall, around the corner from the bedroom area, was a coffee center with 4-cup coffee pot and delicious Wolfgang Puck coffee packets. Above the mini frig and next to the microwave was a soft cylinder light that changed color continuously.  In the closet were two fluffy terrycloth robes.

The bathroom was larger than expected with separate large shower and good-sized soaking tub.  The shower was equipped with a multi-spray head from Speakman. The crown jewel however were the two clear sink bowls that glowed blue.

Outside the patio doors were a pair of iron chairs next to my own private Koi pond with a small Buddha.

Up on the third floor is access to the rooftop pool and a small workout room.

Hotel Blue; 110 Anglers Rd, Lewes, DE 19958  (302) 645-4880  http://www.hotelblue.info/

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Hyatt Place – Dewey Beach

The Hyatt Place Dewy Beach has great rooms with lots of space to relax, or to get some work done – whichever you prefer.  A large seating area and wide screen TV make for nice relaxation at the end of the day. The seating is separated from the bedroom area by a partial partition for visual privacy. Roll down window shades add blackout quality privacy at the outside windows. No more of those curtains that just don’t seem to stay closed.

I’ve been through Dewey Beach many times before but never stayed here.  Turns out to be a great location – close to so many great restaurants and attractions.

Situated between the bay and the ocean, it’s just a couple minutes at most to walk to the water’s edge. Boat rides await from piers on the bay and miles of beautiful beach await at the ocean’s edge across the highway.

This Hyatt location has a great set of advantages based on their location.  I love having free parking below the building in their parking garage. Keeps your car nice and cool in the summer months.

Internet connectivity is good and free (as it should be).  No problems uploading my photos or downloading and printing a boarding pass.  They also have three wide-screen Lenovo computers in their business center if you need to use them. A small printer is hooked up for guest usage as well.

Breakfast is included with the room and it is quite nice – a step up from the usual “same old-same old” breakfast you get from many other chain hotels.  Each morning there are three different hot entrees to pick from, along with a great selection of cereals, breads, fruits, juices, etc. More food is available 24/7 from their Gallery Menu & Market.

The pool is something I wish I had had time to try – it’s a salt-water pool that sounded and looked quite refreshing.

I did use the workout room and the machines were all top notch LifeFitness machines with individual video monitors.

Hyatt Place Dewey Beach; 1301 Coastal Hwy, Dewey Beach, DE 19971  (302) 864-9100  http://deweybeach.place.hyatt.com

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Boardwalk Plaza Hotel – Rehoboth Beach

We stayed at the historic and beautiful 4-star Boardwalk Plaza Hotel in 2013. Open 365 days a year, this place is a classic. You’ll appreciate its Victorian charm the instant you enter the reception area. They offer a range of rooms to fit most budgets and the staff is super friendly and attentive. Prices in 2014 range from $74 to $679 depending on room and season.

Despite the historic nature and antique furnishings, you might be surprised to discover modern-day amenities such as whirlpool bathtubs, ultra-fast T1 Internet access and a heated indoor-outdoor spa.

If you have a chance, wander up to the rooftop for fabulous views of the boardwalk, beach and ocean.  Oh yeah, if you fall in love with the open-air hot tub or Adirondack rockers and never want to leave, don’t say we never warned you.

Victoria’s is their in-house restaurant that offers a nice selection of meals right alongside the boardwalk. Afternoon high tea is available from 3 to 5 pm.  Room service is also available.

The hotel is right around the corner from the town square where there is always something going on in the Bandstand. A local music group performed while we were there and drew a huge crowd of beach-goers. While on the boardwalk, be sure to buy a big bucket of Bricker’s fries – greasy but great

Boardwalk Plaza Hotel; 2 Olive Ave, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971  (302) 227-7169  http://www.boardwalkplaza.com/

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Where to stay in Southern Delaware? Still looking for that perfect summer getaway?  If you want ocean waves, clean beaches, clean air, great food and family friendly destinations; Southern Delaware should be on your radar.
Guess what the latest greatest photo accessory is now

Guess what the latest greatest photo accessory is now

Peak Design is at it again and has another amazing Kickstarter campaign underway.  You know the routine…get your order in while it’s still in the fundraising stage and you a) help an entrepreneur and b) get rewarded with the best prices going. This one’s surely worth a look.

Some time ago, Peak Design came out with a product called the [easyazon_link asin=”B00CBPIRYS” locale=”US”…

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If you are too young to remember ordering Cherry Coke’s or phosphates from the local drug store soda fountain, sorry, you missed a great part of the “growing up in America” tradition. You’ve now got two choices: a) ask your grandparents to explain or b) get to Harrodsburg, Kentucky and visit the Kentucky Fudge Company, formerly Dedman’s Drug Store.

Built in 1865, during the Civil War, Dedman’s drug store was founded to serve Harrodsburg, the oldest city west of the Allegheny Mountains.  The store was quite the sight for this ‘wild west’ town; complete with large glass storefront, terrazzo entry, oak floors, tin pan ceiling, leaded glass partitions and beautiful cherry cabinets.

As prohibition put an end (not quite) to hard liquors, the drug store added a soda fountain and kids began to come in for refreshing sodas. The drug store closed in 1983 and despite a short stint as an antique store, it was basically unused until 1996 when the James Harrod Trust and Ralph Anderson took possession with the hope to revitalize the space.  That saved the building from the wrecking ball, but an operator was needed to bring it back to life.

In 2006, Jennifer and Tim Kazimer wanted a place to showcase their fudge business and Kentucky Fudge Company is the result. Keeping all the wood cabinetry possible, this is a showcase for 19th century retail history, while serving up some of the best 21st century sweets, foods and drinks available in the state.

When we travel, we always love to find that one little place in town, that all the locals gravitate to, and this was the place.  Standing in line to place our order, locals were eager to share their favorites.

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“Been here before?,” said the woman in front of us. “You’ll want to come back tonight for dinner and try their Meatball Mac & Cheese.  It’s so good.”

“And if you’re coming back for dinner,” said the man behind us, “be sure you save room for a Chocolate Coma. If you like chocolate, you’re gonna love it.”

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We only had time for lunch, but we loved every minute and every morsel of it. The staff was amazingly friendly, accommodating and attentive. The atmosphere is great and we couldn’t have enjoyed ourselves more if we tried. The food was hot, tasty, presented nicely and brought to our table while we sat enjoying our drinks and taking in all the nostalgia.

Seems everyone else agrees and the Kazimer’s needed to expand, luckily being able to expand into the space next door. This gave them another dining room (where we sat), a small pub and some outdoor dining space. The focal point of the dining room is a wonderful floor to ceiling display of musical instruments, books and bric-a-brac from the days when the place opened. A big leather sofa invites you to take it easy after your meal.

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If you’re traveling east-west on I-64 or north-south on I-75, this is worth a 31-mile detour from Lexington, KY. Enjoy a fabulous meal & some great local chatter, but save room for one of their classic desserts. And, although you’ll be stuffed when you leave, you can always take some of their fudge for enjoying later in the day.  Bon appetite!

Looking for more to do in Kentucky?  You might like these:

Bardstown KY http://dbhas.info/1ogr8Un
Lebanon Kentucky – five don’t miss sites http://dbhas.info/1kTl3ye
Indian Raid re-anacted during Bardstown Colonial Days http://dbhas.info/1idQnrd
Boyce General Store http://dbhas.info/1nFA2At
Ten things to do in Bowling Green KY http://dbhas.info/1s7INzS
Corvette Museum with sinkhole http://dbhas.info/1ho7cQg
Big adventure on the mountaintops in Evarts, KY http://dbhas.info/RI7n7M
Searching for whitewater and moonbows in Corbin Kentucky http://dbhas.info/O49HGf
Over the top – climbing and rappelling in Kentucky http://dbhas.info/N7rknB
Harrodsburg’s sweet little secret – the Kentucky Fudge Company If you are too young to remember ordering Cherry Coke’s or phosphates from the local drug store soda fountain, …
D-Link DAP-1650 stretches your Wi-Fi to remote corners

D-Link DAP-1650 stretches your Wi-Fi to remote corners

Wi-Fi in a home or office is great when you are close to the access point…but get too far away and oops, no Wi-Fi.  Bummer.  Relocating your access point isn’t necessarily the answer, as most likely some other place that worked before is going to stop working. What you need my friend is a Range Extender.

D-Link’s new Wireless AC1200 Dual Band Range Extender (DAP-1650)is what we are talking…

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It may be named for the sheep, but the people and the trails make this a fabulous destination.

Ireland’s southwest coast is a series of finger-like peninsulas extending into the wild Atlantic Ocean. One of the slimmest is Sheepshead Peninsula – extending from Bantry on the north, past Ballymoor Mountain, to a lighthouse that sits precariously on a cliff at the very southernmost tip. While it’s a beautiful sight, you’ll only be able to see it from land if you take a walk…a long walk.

The Sheep’s Head Way was named the Best Walk in Ireland shortly after it was opened. It’s easy to see why.  No matter what your ability level, you’ll find plenty to enjoy along the Sheep’s Head Way. Mountains, flats, sheer cliffs and sea vistas combine to create a walker’s dream.  Be sure to take a bottle of water, as you’ll probably want to linger much longer than you expected.

Why Sheep’s Head Way?

Before even leaving for Ireland, David Ross from Top of the Rock introduced me to Siobhan Burke with the Sheep’s Head and Bantry Tourism Co-operative.  Learning about the place on their website: Living the Sheep’s Head Way, I knew this was a place I had to add to my itinerary.

Since I was unfamiliar with the area, I met up early one morning in Kilcrohane with James O’Mahony and Tony Cumberpatch to get a sense of what Sheep’s Head Peninsula is all about. James has lived his life on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula, was instrumental in founding the walking loop, and is a wealth of information.  Tony now leads guided walks and was kind enough to show me the way to the lighthouse.

Tony and James

Tony Cumberpatch (L) and James O’Mahony (R)

Turns out, the path is actually better marked than most and rarely will you be walking without being able to see one of the numbered and labeled sign posts as you hike the hills. The whole peninsula loop is 150km and now connects with eastern extensions so you can hike all the way to Drimoleague and Gougane Barra in West Cork. If you include all the additional smaller loops on the peninsula, it adds up to 250km of marked paths to be enjoyed.

Only having time to complete a small part of the overall trail, James drove Tony and I to Tooreen where there is parking and the wonderful Sheep’s Head Cafe for supplies and refreshments. Homemade pies, scones and cakes are not to be missed. You can also pick up your hiking maps here.

Hiking out

We headed out to the lighthouse via the southern route with fleeting sights of Mitzen Head and Dunmanus Bay.  We returned on the northern side of the peninsula with a great view of Bear Island and Bantry Bay. Maybe it’s just me, but walking in Ireland seems to be so much easier than anywhere else I’ve traveled.  The ground has a soft, almost bouncy feel to it, making a walk in hiking boots feel more like you are wearing slippers.

Don’t get me wrong, we hiked up and over many boulders and stones the size of my car, but when walking on the grass, there was a certain bounce to my step. It’s ideal for long hikes.

Tony said it would be an hour or two out the lighthouse and back, but that turned into more like 3-1/2 hours with stopping to chat and taking pictures along the way. Oh yeah, it was actually the sheeps fault, as we had to wait one time for a whole herd to pass on a single lane path. James was patiently waiting, so it was great not to have to hurry.

The lighthouse itself is nestled into the rocks at the southeastern tip of the land, and is easily accessible with a set of steps from the top of the rocky outcropping. It’s not open for tourists, but you can walk around it and enjoy its bird’s eye view of the Atlantic. Looking straight down at some of the cliffs on the way back, it’s easy to see why it’s called the Wild Atlantic Way.

Arundel’s by the Pier

We finished the morning walk just in time to meet Suzanne Whitty at Arundel’s by the Pier, a local pub in Ahakista that’s been in the family since 1890. Shane Arundel and his wife now run the place and offer a menu large enough to make it difficult to pick just one for lunch. I opted for the local’s favorite – whole baked Breem after a whopping bowl of seafood chowder, and both were phenomenal.

Suzanne is a former American, who’s been living on the Sheep’s Head peninsula for years now, keeping things lively at town meetings and rarely short for words.

With people like James and Suzanne to share a meal with, I realized I had once again not allowed enough time for this destination.  There were so many more things I would love to have seen and conversations I would have enjoyed having before I headed off to my next stop, which is the next article – Bantry and Whiddy Island.

Sheep’s Head Way resources:
A Guide to the Sheep’s Head Way – second edition by Tom Whitty
A Map of the Sheep’s Head Way – second edition
Click here for the index of all Wild Atlantic Way articles in this series

Previous article in the Wild Atlantic Way series: Top of the Rock Pod Pairc

Next article in the Wild Atlantic Way series:  Bantry and Whiddy Island

Why travel the Wild Atlantic Way? [Infographic]

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S.H.W. – Simply Heavenly Walking or Sheep’s Head Way – you choose. #travel #Ireland #WildAtlanticWay It may be named for the sheep, but the people and the trails make this a fabulous destination.
Amish, Art, Classics & the State Fair - ToDo Tuesdays 7/22/14 edition

Amish, Art, Classics & the State Fair – ToDo Tuesdays 7/22/14 edition

Every few weeks, we scan our slew of press releases and look for great travel opportunities, around Cleveland, around the country and around the world.  ToDo Tuesday’s wraps up some of the best reasons we’ve found this week to get off the couch, grab the camera and get outside to have some travel fun.  Hopefully we’ll maybe see you at one of these events.  If you’re coming, drop us a line.

Add…

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TomTom GO 600 GPS success secrets revealed

TomTom GO 600 GPS success secrets revealed

When you buy a GPS – you want a smart GPS.  Not one that was smart a year ago. You want one that is smart this minute.  Before you pull out of your drive, wouldn’t it be nice to know about the traffic jam at the north end of your street or that darn backup ¼ mile after you enter the freeway.

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With the TomTom GO 600, (or the TomTom GO 500) you’ll have the latest up-to-datest information possible…

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Today our Wild Atlantic Way journey takes us slightly afield, about 16km from Bantry to the little town of Drimoleague, where we meet up at the Top of the Rock Pod Pairc and spend the day exploring West Cork with David Ross. This was one of my best days in Ireland and I hope you have the time to read about the entire trip. If not, this is the short version:

 

There’s much more in the complete version, including my big mistake, but bookmark this and come back when you have time or are planning your trip.

The Complete Version

(Page one of two pages)

Drimoleague – where the heck are you?

I’ve been following the Wild Atlantic Way down the west side of Ireland and worked my way to lovely County Cork and into Drimoleague, where I have been invited to visit Top of the Rock – Pod Pairc & Walking Centre.

Drimoleague is 20km from Bantry going due east on R586.

Top of the Rock Pod Pairc

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Following the signs north on the well-marked route from town center, I worked my way up the hillside to Top of the Rock, owned by David and Elizabeth Ross. This is a small working farm in an idyllic location with marvelous little cabins (pods), perfect for travelers, walkers and families. The farm is a restoration of his grandfather’s farm who settled here in 1920.

Development of the Drimoleague Walkway from wcdpfilms on Vimeo

David and Elizabeth are the perfect hosts – with hospitality a-plenty and a wonderful knowledge of the West Cork area.  Looking for places to walk or visit – just ask.  There are walks of all lengths with sights to suit anyone.  Hiking books and maps are available to purchase in the guest center as well. David’s separate Top of the Rock Walking Tour’s website has more information available on the walks starting from the Pod Pairc.

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The guest center serves as a dining area upstairs as well as a reception area.  Downstairs you’ll find a game room with pool table and ping-pong table. There’s a large laundry room as well as men’s and women’s shower facilities. For anyone who wants to prepare their own meals, there’s a large kitchen with gas and electric stoves, refrigerator and freezer.

Top of the Rock is known as the “Walkers’ Junction of West Cork.” Because you can walk in any direction, your biggest decision will be “Which way today?” There are about 300km of dedicated walking trails that anyone can enjoy in West Cork…and lucky for you, I think David knows them all and can give suggestions.

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How to choose a walk?

Want to hear about many of the walks available as part of the Drimoleague Heritage Walkways?  David Ross narrated a series of ten 15-minute recordings you can download to provide further insight into the wonders of each walk. Click here to give a listen.

David was kind enough to custom design a whirlwind tour for this journalist, who wanted to see everything, but had very little time to actually walk the trails and soak up all the countryside had to offer. You’d do yourself a disservice to do what I did, the paths are incredible and you’ll want to savor every step and discover West Cork’s treasures slowly.

World’s best Panna Cotta

Our first stop was a visit to his brother’s Glenilen Farm where I got to sample some of his dairy products. To say his Panna Cotta was the best I’ve ever had is an understatement. I had the Coconut & Passion Fruit which was out of this world.

Their yogurt is packed in 160g. glass jars with the natural fruit layered at the bottom, and has zero additives or artificial flavors. Don’t leave Drimoleague without picking up some of their products. You can thank me later.

Down to the river, we glimpsed Castle Donovan, one of the many charming scenes on the popular St. Finbarr’s 34km Pilgrim Walk. Walking across the stone Ahanfunsion Bridge (originally built in 1830) we explored the much more current, gently arched, wooden Manager’s Bridge.

Read on for strange furry animals, stones that stand, wild Irish tales and a groovy place for pilgrims.

(Continued on page two of two

Don’t make my mistake when visiting West Cork, Ireland Today our Wild Atlantic Way journey takes us slightly afield, about 16km from Bantry to the little town of Drimoleague, where we meet up at the…

(Continued from page one of two)

If you landed here without reading page one, please go back to here to start.

What kind of animal is that?

Up another hill we found our way to the most enchanting of all the walks I did in Ireland this year – the Waterfall Farm and its Alpaca Walk. We couldn’t start the walk without first meeting Emma & Markus Bird, owners of this little bit of heaven. They are still developing this as an attraction for individual walkers as well as school groups.

Waterfall Farm has a variety of animals from Flemish Giant and French Lop rabbits to goats to the ungainly but loveable looking alpacas. Cautious but curious, the alpacas will certainly want to look you over.

Starting out at some of Ireland’s remaining standing stones, the one mile trail leads you past the pens of the male and female alpacas, past the donkeys, along some joyous looking Yellow Gorse shrubs, and down to the river. It’s here the real fun starts.

Walking along the stream, there are dozens of mini-rapids where the water spills quickly over rocks and makes the most remarkable and relaxing sounds.

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Wending your way through flower patches, under blossom-filled trees and over stone-step bridges, you’ll find your way to a mighty waterfall that feeds this entire area. If you want to linger awhile, you’ll find Ally’s gazebo tucked away nearby.

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Can stones really stand?

Some distance away, we visited the Maughanasilly Stone Row which has been taking visitors since 1600BC. If you come here every 18-1/2 years (the length of the full lunar cycle) you’ll discover that the stones are perfectly aligned with the most northerly point of the moon’s rising. Ever wonder how the Bronze Age people got so smart without the Internet?

Irish males and Irish tales

Another short drive and we met Dan Sullivan and his restored Carriganass Castle tower house (built in 1541.) This was originally a five-story castle and eventually enclosed by a stone fort along the Ouvane River.

It was here I learned the legend of Donal Cam, who disguised as a monk, found his wife’s murderer here in the tower and tossed him to the river below. Factually there’s no evidence this ever happened, but it’s the best story going in these parts – so who’s going to ruin a good Irish tale.

Inspiring pilgrims since the 6th century

Finishing up the day we motored to the end of the St. Finbarr’s Walk to see the glacially formed valley known as Gougane Barra. Here, set on the edge of an idyllic lake is the shrine commemorating St. Finbarr who built a hermitage here in the sixth century, before moving on to create a monastery and the city of Cork.

Warm hospitality in a glacial groove

As the day was drawing to a close, David and I were invited to the lovely Gougane Barra Hotel by proprietor Neil & Katy Lucey for dinner.  They’ve been keeping a 400+ year-old family tradition alive since 2005. The hotel is open April through October each year. The hotel is recipient of dozens of awards and is a beautiful place to stay.

Food for the evening consisted of a salad of local West Cork cheeses with pear, bacon, croutons and honey dressing. The entrée was delicious, fresh deep-fried Dingle Bay Scampi with homemade chips and tartar sauce. That should have been enough, but they twisted our arms and insisted we try the ‘Gougane Mess’ – a heavenly combination of vanilla ice-cream with homemade mini meringue, red berry coulis and cream. Heaven in a glass.

Unexpected discoveries

Spending the evening with such good food, a view of St. Finbarr’s Oratory across the lake and in the good company of David Ross was truly a highlight of my Ireland trip. As we talked travel, faith and family, I was truly in awe of his accomplishments as a husband, father, minister, rancher and now proprietor of West Cork’s newest tourist destination – the Pod Pairc.  This man’s energy knows no bounds.

David Ross

David Ross (r) and his dad

I also made a discovery about myself.  As a travel writer, I always tried to cram as many stops in one days as possible to be able to tell my readers more about what they could find at any destination. I measured success by how many photographs I could shoot in 24 hours.

While that is still necessary at times, what I discovered is that the true Ireland can best be appreciated by walking its paths and getting to know its people. If you want to meet two of the best, head to Top of the Rock and meet David and Elizabeth Ross. If a walking vacation is in your future, you can’t do better than this.

Top of the Rock details:

7 Pods available:

  • 2 Luxury pods have toilets, double beds and hand wash basins with mini-kitchen and dining table. A pull out sofa can handle an extra two people. €69-79/night (2014 rates)(pictured below)
  • 2 Family pods with three fold-up beds and handle five adults or six family members. Kitchen, shower and laundry facilities are in the main Pairc Centre building. €49-59/night
  • 3 Standard pods come with two fold up beds for two adults and two small children (or three adults). Like the family pods, all services are close by. €39-49/night

Meals can be enjoyed in the Pairc Centre building, or Elizabeth can arrange a breakfast bag to be delivered right to your pod in the morning. It features those great Glenilen Farm products, jams and Elizabeth’s homemade scones (as good as I’ve ever had.)

Top of the Rock Pod Pairc

Good night

Top of the Rock Pod Pairc

We got back to the Pod Pairc just as the sun had disappeared over the mountains. The twilight glow let me get a couple more photos before making a cup of tea and then turning in for a comfortable night’s sleep in my pod. This day certainly reminded me why I love traveling – especially to Ireland.

Top of the Rock Pod Pairc

Groovy, furry stones with Irish tales – it’s all here (Continued from page one of two) If you landed here without reading page one, please go back to here to start…