If at all possible I escape for half a day during the summer to visit The Ring of Beara. It is such a wonderfully fresh and natural place one cannot be struck by the sheer beauty that surrounds you.
Leaving Kenmare I take the Glengariff Road, N71, first stopping at Lorge Chocolates for some handmade nibbles to keep me going on the road. Molly Galvins, a 200 year old cottage and traditional farm is just a little further on the road where you can experience the workings of a traditional farm and the Poitín, moonshine, that warms the heart. That’s not for drinking on the tour!! Continuing on through the tunnels taking in the views of Bantry Bay one can stop at the Sculptor Park to view the unique and quirky pieces throughout the gardens and woods.
Glengariff is next on the route and no drive through this charming town would be complete without taking the boat to Garnish Island and its magnificent gardens. Following a visit to Catherine Hammond’s art gallery I head to Adrigole, on the R572. Turn right on the R574 for The Healy Pass/Lauragh road. The twists and turns of this road are just divine as viewing them from atop is like a corkscrew through the limestone. However nothing prepares you for the north side of the pass with its stunning views of Kenmare Bay and the distant Macgillycuddy’s Reeks. Slowley descending to Lauragh if time allows I divert a little for Derreen Gardens and a bite to eat in the Kilmackillogue Pub to sit outside on the pier wall. Pure bliss. Return to Kenmare on the Coast Road with memories to last a lifetime.