A Right Royal Progress Through The Kingdom
With the best of lodgings booked, her majesty and myself headed off to the Kingdom of Kerry one sunny morning in July. The natives were friendly and we were well watered and fed in the triangle between Killarney, Valentia and Dingle.
After a superb lunch at the well-appointed and newly established Kingdom 1795 in Killorglin , we drove on south-west to the Island of Valentia. The plan was to take the spectacular walk on Bray Head. So we paid our two euro (no royal exceptions, apparently) in the car park and headed up.
|Old Barracks, Cahersiveen|
Back on the road and next stop was the nearby town of Cahersiveen. Had a little walk around here, taking in the massive church of Daniel O’Connell (The Liberator), the impressively restored Old Barracks (must do a detailed visit next time) and the monks in a boat sculpture on the way out of town. No plaque on that sculpture and I’m not certain if it is to do with monks rowing out to the Skelligs or St Brendan and company heading to America. Anyone enlighten me?
By the time we reached Glenbeigh we were rather thirsty so called into the small Glenbeigh Hotel for a reviving drink in the dark and old-fashioned but popular bar.
Time was running out so we headed to base for the night. And what a base the Hotel Europe proved to be. Amazing space and comfort here. But we were soon on the road again, heading for a 7.00pm dinner in Malarkey’s the new stomping ground in Killarney of expert chef Seamus O'Connell (ex Ivory Tower).
Back to base, well back to the Europe’s exceptionally comfortable bar, its friendly staff and its drinks list as long as your arm. Thought I’d treat myself to a cocktail and the Brandy Alexander fitted the bill after the multi-course meal in Malarkey’s.
The hotel is huge, 180 rooms, and we saw many of the guests at breakfast in the amazing Panorama restaurant the following morning, panorama because it boasts great views of the beautiful lakes. Must be hard to cater for that many people. The Europe uses the buffet method to good effect. Good but, unlike the rest of the operation, hardly five-star.
Still, we were fed, and fit enough for the second leg of the progress. Off we went to Slea Head, a popular spot for us and for many many more. July may not be the best time to drive that narrow road, especially if you have Italy’s slowest driver in front of you! Thought they were all super fast. So much for stereotypes!
After that trip it was back to Dingle for lunch at the packed Boatyard on the waterfront. Not bad at all but I thought my crab claws were excessively expensive, almost 17 euro for six with a little salad, chorizo and garlic butter. A fairly basic dish by comparison with what I got in the excellent Pier 26 in Ballycotton a week before: at least 10 claws, superbly prepared and presented, for just €12.00.
|High Notes. Dingle|
No big rush to turn around quickly at the Europe this time. They have an fantastic display of flowering shrubs here, all the way on through the drive and then all around the various sections of the car park. Top class.
Our dinner that evening was in Nick’s in Killorglin… I’m saying “nothing at all”. Back in the marvellous hotel, we had a wander through the fantastic lounge areas, areas (including the library) that are well used, before ending up with our friends in the bar. Drinks this time included a Negroni (I do rather like that cocktail), some local beers from Killarney Brewing Company and that non alcoholic cider by Cronin’s (another Kerry company).
All good things come to an end and the following morning we had to settle up but thanks to the children’s generous present (for our recent 50th) we didn’t have to dig too deep at all!
How about this? On the way back, we were in traffic on the bridge in Macroom - not as bad as it can be - when we saw a heron standing on the parapet, calmly watching the cars go by!
Also on this trip: Malarkey in Killarney
Kingdom 1795 Killorglin