The islands that make up Great Britain and Ireland are filled with mystery and magic. There are hidden places everywhere you step – sacred hawthorn trees, fairy mounds, ancient monuments to unknown gods, and entrances to the other world. One of the best ways to find these places is to wander and let the fairies lead you to where you want to go.
One such time, my friend Vicki and Iwere driving along the Ring of Beara in Ireland. There was a large forested area to the left, and we found a parking spot to leave our car. We chose a path and took a chance. The woods were primeval, thick with the scents of rain and moss, green and misty. The ground cover was thick and crushed softly beneath our feet. There was a deer flirting with us through the trees, she seemed quite curious. She would stop, wait for us to approach a bit closer, then dart off a bit farther, to do the whole routine again, as if she was leading us somewhere.
After about a half hour, we were still in the thick of the woods, when we heard a dog. In a few moments, we saw a small border collie, snuffling into the tumulus in a stand of trees, and a small group of four people following. They were evidently locals, taking some friends to see a stone circle, and they invited us to join them. Perhaps the deer led us across their path?
We started climbing up the incline, farther than we would likely have gone on our own, when all of a sudden, the tree line cleared, and we saw the bare mountain top, with rocks and moss, but no trees, like a vista before us. There were not one, but two small stone circles, each with about a half dozen stones, beckoning to us like an open hand. From the circles, you could see out across the land and into the bay, and then across to the Ring of Kerry on the other side.
It was a misty, hazy day, with a fine spray of soft weather to color the view. We felt like we had accomplished something momentous, and knew we would never have found this treasure, but for the wee deer who showed us the way.
The Ring of Beara is the southwestern most peninsula of Ireland. It’s larger cousin to the north, the Ring of Kerry, is well known as a tourist destination, but Beara has smaller roads, and therefore the large busses cannot go there, making it more isolated, and more authentic. It has forests on the interior, and spectacular rocky coastlines around the edge. The drive through is not for the faint of heart, but if you tread carefully, you will have a wonderful day doing the loop.
Some other places to visit may include:
- Ballycrovane Ogham Stone in Eyeries – an ancient monument with pre-Roman writing (Ogham) on one edge. Eyeries is a lovely town with houses painted bright, cheerful colors throughout.
- Gleninchaquin Park with the Uragh Stone Circle
We also discovered several wayside shrines along the route, and some old graveyards with cherubs and celtic crosses, which I adore. Even on a misty, rainy day, it’s a lovely trip.
As always your experience, suggestions and comments are enjoyed. Happy fairytale travels!
Christy Nicholas is the Author of Ireland: Mythical, Magical, Mystical; A Guide to Hidden Ireland
Connect with Christy Nicholas
- Ireland’s Castles, the Motherload List Made Enjoyable by Ireland Travel Kit
- Fairytale Places Knockma Woods Co Galway Ireland
- Dunluce Castle, Ireland
- The Ring of Kerry, south-western Ireland. (cottagesinireland.wordpress.com)
- Ireland’s most beautiful landscape: Beara, West Cork – PHOTOS (irishcentral.com)
- Tomb of the Eagles Orkney Islands, Scotland (thefairytaletraveler.com)