Over the Easter bank holiday weekend we journeyed down to Kerry. We planned to camp, hike parts of the Kerry Way and see a bit of the Muckross House gardens.

The weather was spectacular, in fact, it has been incredible for a few weeks now. Sunny, mild, and full of budding colorful plants. It’s a different world when the hag sleeps and the Maiden runs rampant!

We arrived late in the afternoon, so spent the remaining daylight wandering the Muckross house gardens. We camped the first two nights at the White Bridge caravan and camping park in Killarney. It was clean, convenient, quiet, and located on a lovely river. I had hoped to wild camp the second night, even though there isn’t much of a tradition for that here. Our plan had been to hike into the Kerry Way with our tent and sleeping bags and find a secluded spot to pitch, but Himself had a bit of a cold and the tent was collecting condensation so we played it safe with the caravan park and hot showers.

The scenery along the Kerry Way past Torc Waterfall is spectacular. Vast and lonely, it reminded me of Texas. We passed abandoned settlements as we made our way up the Old Kenmare Road which makes up the first leg of the trail. We passed through marsh, lounged by a small waterfall pool, winded up into canopy lined ravines, explored falling barns and long forgotten wells, and ending in a lush Oak wood we snacked on banana chips. The first day we totaled 17 km.

Our second day took us down to the upper lake and Lord Brandon’s Cottage. From here we marveled at MacGillycuddy’s Reeks (Irish: Na Cruacha Dubha, meaning “the black stacks”), with their crowning jewel; Carrantuohill. Himself found a little glen we dubbed “his” Field. The old potato rows were visible in the soft soil, the rock wall evidence of the diligent work of clearing. We had our tea along a gorgeous river where the fish were literally jumping, the little lambs frolicking, cranes flying and a bird of prey soaring. We then passed into the Black Valley, where I fell in love. I stood at Grady’s Bridge, turning in circles like a little girl…. everywhere my eye looked was beauty. Mountains rising, colors changing, tiny roads, snug houses, emptiness. I felt isolation…and peace. A deep peace descended and my heart sang out. As I walked along the rocky bank of this clear river I found a horseshoe. Rusty and small, with lumps of growth. How long had it been since the horsemen threw that shoe. How long had it waited for me to find it. …. For me to find Luck!

We stayed the night in this valley at the small hostel. It was Easter Sunday and when darkness had truly come we went for a walk along the silent road. The rocks shone like stars. There was not a sound but the wind. And a warm glow from the wide open doors of the church…empty, inviting, ready to receive the prayers of the pilgrim. I was caught in time out of time. There are no words….

The last day took us down the Gap of Dunloe, and away home through Cork, with a side stop in Youghal (pronounced “y’all”) to check the vibe.

I thought I heard Munster whisper…Slan Abhaile, and “youghal” come back!