We were supposed to go to Cork today, but it was so darn crowded we jumped on the M and went up to Cashel instead. The Rock of Cashel is beautiful and as expected, but the ruins of the Hore Abbey, a former Benedictine Abbey that is both well preserved and available to run through, was the highlight. So what if it was Central Ireland.
A nice little town not in any of the tourist books. We only found it because the town we were staying in had so few dining options. It had a nice harbor on the top of Roaringwater Bay north of Baltimore. The highlight was a Roman arched train bridge built in the 1880s, a smaller traditional Irish road bridge, and a park with a tribute to the fox and the hare.
A stone beacon looking out over the Celtic Sea south of Baltimore, erected by the British around 1800. Nice views at sunset.
The southern-most tip of Ireland contains a lighthouse reached by an arching bridge over the Atlantic below. Tourists were everywhere, but the views from the point were still something to see.
As the Normans conquered Ireland 1,000 years ago, the O’Mahony Clan retreated to the furthest tip of the Mizen and built a Norman-style castle to defend themselves. They were no dummies, building at a spot where sea cliffs were on one side and Dunlough Lake on the other. It was never conquered. Today it makes for a great, spooky place in the middle of nowhere. A great payoff for just 4 km over the hills.
Beara is empty and deserted and wonderful. We could see the tour buses across the Kenmare Bay on the Ring of Kerry. The roads are tiny, and somewhat crazy, but the scenery is beautiful. At the tip is the only cable car in all of Ireland, a quick 10 minute trip over the Atlantic Ocean (!) from Lambs Head to Dursey Island.
A very vibrant downtown, with lots of choices in restaurants (and its own brewpub). Lots of history, too. Just outside of town is a 500 BC stone circle and a 1000 year old bridge.