The islands that make up Great Britain and Ireland are filled with lore, 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.
Driving Along the Ring of Beara in Ireland
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 southwesternmost peninsula of Ireland. Its 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 interesting places to visit may include:
- Ballycrovane Ogham Stone in Eyeries — an ancient monument next to the beautiful waters of Kenmare Bay with pre-Roman writing (Ogham) on one edge, said to be the tallest ogham stone in Europe. Eyeries is a lovely town with houses painted bright, cheerful colors throughout.
- Gleninchaquin Park with the sacred Uragh Stone Circle — If you want to see delightful scenery and take a walk around a waterfall, this park might be your stop. Accessible for all ages and you can even bring your dog if you keep him on a leash at all times.
See the stunning lakes, log bridges over streams, glens, cascades, woodlands, paths through the mountains, rock passages, and more to awe everyone you bring.
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!
See the waves crashing against steep cliffs, be amazed at the rocky mountains with shimmering waterfalls, choose to simply drive the incredible Ring of Beara, or take your time to feel the true magic of the area by hiking on one of the beautiful trails or riding a horse, feel the sand as you walk on the sunny beach, there are plenty of exciting things to do on this gorgeous twisting circular drive.
Uncover the magic surrounding the Ring of Beara and see if you can figure out its mysteries. You might even discover some hidden standing stones or stone circles on your magical journey. Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. Be alert if you are driving and watch for roaming black-faced sheep or cattle that might stray onto the road.
- The Ring of Kerry, south-western Ireland. (cottagesinireland.wordpress.com)
- Ireland’s most beautiful landscape: Beara, West Cork – PHOTOS (irishcentral.com)