Follow by Email

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Exercise with learning. Perfect.

This morning we met at Hanafins Bar for the third day's walking in the 2016 Annascaul Walking Festival. Yesterday's climb along the Doorah Range was at times difficult and demanding whereas todays promised to be more informative with less climbing. The official brochure described today's walk as an archeological walk that would retrace 4000 years of settlement from the Bronze Age cairn at Dromavally through the Christian Ogham stones at Rathduf and seeing the development of 21st Century farm life. At around 10.30 on a bright sunny morning, John Hanafin, the owner and proprietor of Hanafins Bar led us along the Main Street for what would become a very entertaining and enjoyable walk. John is an expert on local history and geography but it was his communication style that included local stories and folklore that made this a truly remarkable ramble. First we walked along the old military road that was constructed to link the British military garrison in Killarney to the naval base at Dingle. In the 1830s this became the Royal Mail road and was also part of the butter route to Cork. The pace of the walk was relaxed and casual with John continually pointing out interesting sights. Our first rest was at Ballintarmon where we had the opportunity to study a large stone sculpture by the renowned Irish American artist, Jerome Connor. In the bright sunshine we walked along the country lanes to Glantane where we were treated to an intensity of green that has made Ireland known as the Emerald Isle. The intense green interspersed with splashes of red from the fuschia, white from the lambs, browns and blacks of the cows, grey of stone walls and all topped with a pale blue sky that had traces of white fluffy clouds was a masterpiece we were privileged to pass through. Soon we were making the gentle climb from Rathduff up to the townland  of Flemingstown where we could see down the hidden valley. John pointed out the outline of a square fort and regaled us with local stories and superstitions associated with these formations. Back down through Rathduff and then on to the old graveyard at Ballintaggart. This was a real highlight of the walk as we walked around the large tombs. I've never seen anything like this. Because the ground is impossible to dig then large rectangular family tombs are constructed firstly from local stone and then in later years from concrete blocks. On the way down the hill to Ballyandreen we passed a Kerry Camino sign with yellow arrow and shell. Over the small bridge at Ballyandreen,where in past times the areas milk was collected, we had a thirty minute walk to the edge of Annascaul ending at Hanafins Bar where we were again treated to soup and sandwiches. It is nice to finish the day's walk socialising with fellow hikers as we sat outside in the bright sunshine.
Later in the afternoon Mary and I went for a stroll along Inch beach and were really impressed with the beauty of the whole area. Large breakers crashing on to a sandy beach that is surrounded on three sides with imposing mountains. We stood mesmerised at the skills of the surfers as they travelled along the giant waves but soon it was time to visit a local hostelry where we enjoyed Irish coffees.
Sad to say that tomorrow is the last day of the festival so we are heading down tonight to the South Pole Bar to meet up with fellow walkers.

No comments:

Post a Comment