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Monday, 25 October 2010

Honeymoon in Ireland - Page 4

Written by Christina Kay Bolton
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Breakfast was a large, gracious buffet along with a menu item— I tried the sole with lemon butter which was perfectly cooked. We relaxed in our grand room a little longer before checking out and heading toward the Ring of Kerry. We saw a deer bounding by as we were leaving the estate. It was a misty, rainy day, but it did clear by the time we got to Killarney where we walked around town, went to the cathedral and had hot chocolate in Skellig’s chocolate café. Killarney is where people typically begin the Ring of Kerry, with most taking on the northern route first; in fact tour buses are all required to go in that direction because the twisty narrow roads would not allow for two buses to pass each other and could lead to a precarious position.

We decided on the southern route first, as our cottage for the night was in Caherdaniel, along the southern coast. Shortly after leaving the town the road passes through the lush Killarney National Park with its bountiful walking paths. We stopped at a couple pull-off points and walked around a bit, but didn’t stay as long as we liked as it was early evening and we wanted to get to Picin Cottage before dusk. After passing through the low mountains, the road emerges at the coast and follows it past beaches and bluffs until a small, very easy to miss hand painted sign saying only ‘Picin’ emerges at a dirt road not much bigger than a driveway. We followed it up and saw the little cottage that we’d seen pictures of on the internet.


IMGP5104Amelia, one of the owners, gave us a warm welcome, offered us drinks, and showed us around. They had restored the cute 200 year-old cottage themselves and added their home through an addition, so there is a door connecting the cottage’s living/dining room to their kitchen. Everything has been done in style, especially the rustic yet elegant bathroom with its romantic clawfoot tub lit by candles. The decoration was eclectic— antiques next to modern light fixtures; a polished faucet adorns a handmade-looking sink; a stack of twigs and peat logs sit next to an old woodstove yet the upstairs bedroom has skylights overlooking the valley.


IMGP5110Amelia had the fire going when we got in and later I took a long, relaxing soak in the tub by candlelight in the warm bathroom. Climbing into the comfy bed covered with a pure white duvet afterwards lead to a good nights rest. For breakfast we had fruit salad, local organic eggs from a farm on the same road, smoked salmon, toast, yogurt and cereal served in our own dining room.


The cottage is charming, quiet, and romantic with friendly and hospitable owners. It was a great place to unwind on a honeymoon—we wished we’d stayed longer. The only problem we had was finding it!


IMGP5130The stretch of coastline on the western edge of the Ring of Kerry, just after you leave Picin Cottage, was the most dramatic part. All the way up the west coast we stopped continuously for fabulous views of farmland, the ocean, and its islands. The absolute best part was actually the Skellig Ring, where the roads get even thinner and no tour busses can fit, making it quieter and more authentic. We walked on wild beaches and coves and even managed to stop for a tasting at Skellig’s chocolate factory that has one of the best views I can imagine for any type of factory.

 

 


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The weather took a turn for the worse when the mist and clouds rolled in and much of the northern stretch was obscured, so we continued on to Castlemartyr Resort in Cork County for our last night in Ireland. Castlemartyr is a newly restored 17th century manor house which had been redone as a 5-star resort. Owned by the same group IMGP5178as Dromoland Castle, everything has been nicely finished and the mix of modern conveniences and stately, old-style have merged. In our king-bedded room there was a digital control panel for the lights and even the do not disturb sign. The bathroom was covered in black marble and had the best rain shower of the whole trip—it actually felt like being drenched by rain. A separate dressing room with a fridge, hotpot, and French press coffeemaker were nice touches.

(Page 4 of 5)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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