Thursday, 11 July 2013

Ring of Kerry Part 2

Today we drove the second half of the Ring of Kerry and the first half of the Beara Peninsula circuit. We worked our way along the Ring of Kerry and made our way into Killarney National Park located beside the town of Killarney. It was the first national park established in Ireland, created when Muckross Estate was donated to the Irish state in 1932. South and west of the town of Killarney is an expanse of rugged mountainous country. This includes the McGillycuddy's Reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland which rise to a height of over 1000 metres. At the foot of these mountains nestle the world famous lakes of Killarney. Here where the mountains sweep down to the lake shores, their lower slopes covered in woodlands, lies the 10,236 hectare (26,000 acres), Killarney National Park . The distinctive combination of mountains, lakes, woods and waterfalls under ever changing skies gives the area a special scenic beauty. The focal point of the National Park is Muckross House and Gardens.

Muckross House was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the water-colourist Mary Balfour Herbert. This was actually the fourth house that successive generations of the Herbert family had occupied at Muckross over a period of almost two hundred years. William Burn, the well-known Scottish architect, was responsible for its design. Building commenced in 1839 and was completed in 1843.  

Muckross House

Lough Leane

We drove up many very small lanes looking for the Ardgroom Standing Circle and despite our best efforts arrived at the co-ordinates and were not able to locate the circle so we drove to another circle shown on a sign. The problem in Ireland is that tourist attractions are signposted by the brown signs similar to home however there is never any mention as to how far something is it could be 100m or 5 km. So we headed off and ended up climbing another very steep mountain in pursuit of the stone circle which this time we did find.

Casheklkeelty Stone Circle this fine stone row is located in rough pasture, on a terrace to the south of a medieval road, on the lower north facing slopes of Knocknaveacal and 1m south of the five-stone circle at Cashelkeelty. This stone row consists of three stones which are aligned
ENE-WSW, and measures 6.3m in overall length. Excavation revealed the socket of a
fourth stone to the east and stratigraphic evidence suggests that the row was erected
some centuries before the nearby five-stone circle. The ENE stone 2.4m in height,1.4m
in width and 1m in depth, is the tallest and the WSW stone,1.4m in height, 0.6m in
width and 0.5m in depth, is the smallest. There is a multi-stone circle at Cashelkeelty
80m to the west.

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