23 June 2010

Eyeries to Allihies Hike

Hiking the Beara Way, from Eyeries to Allihies

Victorian Copper Mines, overlooking Allihies

Cara revolting against her walk

Kathleen & Catherine from Urhan Post Office

Urhan Post Office - great place for tea cakes!

The Blue Loo in Glengarriff

Cara waiting for her Guinness
Nathan Kingerlee

06 June 2010

Singles Adventure Break

Nationwide were with us very recently, shooting one of our Singles Adventure Weekends. Here's what they got...
Nathan Kingerlee
Outdoors Ireland

Killarney Lakes Kayak Trip

Sparkling Morning Kayak Trip on the Lakes of Killarney
Click Here To See Our Kayak Trips
Nathan Kingerlee
Outdoors Ireland

12 May 2010

Baltimore, West Cork

Passing the Fastnet Rock

Shipwreck in Baltimore Harbour

Tied up for lunch

Entering the waters of Baltimore Harbour

24 April 2010

O Sullivan Beara, The last Gaelic Chieftain

Play on words presents

O'Sullivan Beara, The last gaelic chieftain

Written & performed by Aidan Dooley
creator of Tom Crean - Antarctic Explorer

‘Theatre by the lake’ Gougane Barra Hotel

28th July - 15th August (tue-sun)

Book: 026 47069 €23/€18 concs
previews 28/29th €15

Email: info@gouganebarrahotel.com

World premiere of Aidan Dooley’s new one man show

Aidan Dooley is bringing his new show to Gougane Barra this summer.

His previous work TOM CREAN – ANTARCTIC EXPLORER is a worldwide success. A tale of an Irish hero forgotten for decades.

Aidan awakens again another hero in our midst.

O‘Sullivan Beare, is a great hero of our Gaelic traditions. He represents the pivotal changes of life in Ireland prior to the last major change in our governance. The only Chieftain never to surrender!

We all know and have heard the name now let this new theatre show bring him to life!

30 March 2010

Barley Lake

It was one of those magic winter days in February 2010. The Beara Peninsula hadn’t seen any rain for a couple of weeks, the nights had been cold and the air was crystal clear. I checked my mountain bike, packed some lunch, put on some extra warm layers and off I went.

Leaving Kenmare, following the River Sheen on back roads towards Bonane, was the perfect warm up for the first climb of the day – Caha Pass. The valley opens up like an arena once you have passed Molly Gallivan’s Traditional Farm and your eyes follow the road going up to the tunnel.

Sun shining on my left cheek I kept the wheels spinning steadily towards the Kerry/Cork border. At the top of this climb I waved Kerry “good-bye” and rode into the tunnel, which basically is a dark, wet cave with two exits. A stunning view welcomed me on the Cork side.

After a 1/2 mile I saw Bantry Bay ahead and across the Glens my destination for today - Barley Lake. A fast downhill, some nasty turns, and I was down in the Glens riding a bit faster to get back into the sun. That following climb was now really steep (steep, steep) and a pleasure to ride at the same time – a mountain bike’s playground. The road ended at a small car park and a single track lead me to the lake.

I had my lunch, enjoyed the views and the sun and promised myself…I’ll come back with some friends, on our bikes, in summer, and we’ll have a barbecue!

We offer guided bike trips for all levels, hill walking, rock climbing, canoeing and jeep tours.

Beara Outdoor Adventures

21 March 2010

Bantry House where a family tradition lives on

The back of the house has an amazing maze and ornate fountain in excellent condition, and wonderful stone steps climbing to the heavens, and so worth the climb, the view from the top is breathtaking, and emcompasses all of Bantry Bay.

This is the front of the house, and what a house it is, Mrs. Shelswell-White welcomed us personally into her family's home, you can feel that the house is a family home and a lot more than a historic building, it is truly worth visiting and we enjoyed it thoroughly.

The Library/Music Room

The interiors are immaculately and lovingly maintained.

See a house where history reigns through to the present family and when you are done visiting, go to Sophie's Coffee shop for really good coffee with scones served with cream and Jam..Yum

13 March 2010

Saints & Skelligs

Long before Strongbow entered Ireland with his Welsh knights; at the invite of traitorous Irish king Dermot MacMurchada; the Irish were plundering the English and Welsh coastline.

Wild and bearded Irish warriors stalked the Irish Sea, landing lightning attacks on unsuspecting settlements and Roman villas. They would loot and plunder what they could, carrying women and children back to Ireland into marriage and slavery. There's stories of highly planned kidnap and ransom missions, with Roman family members being safely reunited with their families once huge ransoms were paid.

Like the Vikings with us many years later, for a time the Irish struck fear deep into the hearts of the English and Welsh, and also the Romans, who at the time were encamped in Britain.

It was a plundering raiding party, looking for slaves and wives, who carried a Roman boy back to Ireland into a cold life of slavery. This fourteen year old Roman boy, Patrickus, grew into Saint Patrick.

This Welsh/Roman man has been adopted by the Irish as one of our patron saints, responsible for converting single handed a land of ruthless pagans into devout Christians, driving snakes from our green and rocky shores and trademarking the shamrock.

The story of Saint Patrick is incredible and tough. He's even believed to have killed someone, possibly a lover, during his lifetime.

In truth Christian missionaries were traveling Ireland's hills, forests and bogs before a newly ordained Patrickus returned to Ireland, having escaped from slavery in a row-boat several years earlier.

Although he wasn't the first missionary to arrive in Ireland; when Patrickus returned as a priest, he had several things in his favour. After six years living here he knew the land, the people, the customs and the language. He was able to move relatively unhindered around the country and possibly because of his Roman noble descent he was treated with some respect. He was also here just at the right time, as the country was ready for the bells of Christianity to toll.

The Irish pagans and druids worshipped several gods, including snakes. Certain groups of druids carried a snake tattoo emblazoned on their upper arm. The druids Patrickus wasn't able to convert (and there were many of them) he drove from Ireland; hence the connection with Patrickus driving all snakes from the country.

One of our furthermost outreaches is a brutally sharp, protrusion of rock off the Kerry coast, which we now call Skellig Michael. Here stood the final outpost of druids and pagan worshippers; wild, rugged men, who called on many gods, threw curses across the country from atop of their rock and performed human sacrifices - or so Christianity viewed them.

To this rock Patrickus travelled, alone and wary, in a little currach, to face his final battle. Here he faced his enemies and found his match. Men capable of performing human sacrifices and surviving a tough, tough life on these rocks stood against the stout heart and strong staff of Patrickus...

For a day or more Patrickus argued and fought with the druids, until at last, weary, bloodied, dehydrated and faltering he drew together his final strength and called upon the archangel Michael to help. What happened next, whether the archangel Michael descended to assist, or whether Patrickus used his final strength, is not known, but he did succeed in driving the last of the Irish pagans off the black rock and out of Ireland and today this rock is known as Skellig Michael - The Rock of Michael.

A monastery was built on Skellig Michael, and hardy monks made a life of worship and survival for themselves from the 6th to the 12th century.

Wherever druids had settled and worshipped, the first Irish priests and monks would often build churches and monasteries in an effort to keep the displaced druids from returning and keep at bay the evil gods and spirits, whom to some extent were still half-believed and feared. This is exactly what happened on Skellig Michael, after being such a powerful pagan site for so long, there was no way Patrickus could leave it to it's own menacing devices.

Interestingly, one of the reasons that Skellig Michael was abandoned in the 12th century was because the Roman Catholic Church feared the monks and holy men living in remote locations were becoming too connected with nature, too in awe of the elements around them, and slipping into some of the pagan ways of life; so larger, more central monasteries were built with a more formal way of holy life and worship.

The tiny village of Ballinskelligs, near Caherciveen, is where the monks from Skellig Michael were moved; Ballinskelligs meaning Homestead of the Rocks.

For a boat trip to Skellig Beag and Skellig Michael I'd highly recommend Seanie Murphy, 066 947 62 14. We at Outdoors Ireland also provide guides for fascinating guided trips to the Skelligs.

Nathan Kingerlee
Outdoors Ireland
Easter Adventure Break in Killarney

04 March 2010

The Sheeps Head Way.

The people of 'The Sheeps Head peninsula' in West Cork are still celebrating after they were officially awarded the title of European Destination of Excellence in 2009. We went down there recently on a day trip and we had a thoroughly enjoyable day; a place well worthy of this award.

The Sheeps head peninsula is great for its fantastic walks and cycle routes which are very well laid out and easy access. The villages are spotlessly clean, inviting and fun places to go!

Don't forget your walking boots for this great place!

The Horse-shoe Road.

The Sheeps Head Lighthouse

The Sheep of 'The Sheeps Head'

Coastal Cows near Kilcrohane.

The Happy Cat on the Sheeps Head Way

15 February 2010

25 January 2010

Up The walls in Dingle(An Daingean)

Sunday was one of those wet winter days when the question arose after breakfast; what will we do today Dad? I said lets head to Dingle(AN Daingean) and ye can try a bit of wall climbing!! It wasn't long before we had passed through Killarney, Milltown, Castlemaine and found ourselves having fun chasing waves on Inch beach which made us good and hungry for toasted sandwiches in The SouthPole Inn in Annauscaul. This pub always facinates me with the many photographs of the the great Antarctic Expeditions and the heroic Tom Crean who survived three such expeditions and still managed to return to his native Annauscaul to marry a lovely local girl called Nell and to buy his own pub, and to go downstairs every morning to 'The South Pole'It was afternoon when we hit Baile na Buaile on the Feohanagh side of Dingle and there was no hesitation about getting in the door of play at height. An excellent facility and really good value for such a class set up, it cost €8 per person and if you wanted to rent the special climbing shoes it was €2 extra. It was really busy,there was a scouts outing, but the queues were fast moving and the people working there were both helpful and efficient. There was something for the novice and challenging climbing walls for the more experienced or more adventurous. There is also an outdoors area but unfortunately it was closed on the day,it looks exciting, there's a high wire course and of course the children were mad to try that too, we will just have to go back another day in the not too distant future......www.playatheight.com a great day out.

18 January 2010

Kerryman's Best Friend - Dog or Goat?

Press Release

Kerryman's Best Friend - Dog or Goat?
Hiking the Blackwater Way with a Goat
Does the famous Irish welcome still exist? Or is it now just another legend like Saint Patrick and Cu Chulainn? On Monday, 25th January, mountaineer and outdoor enthusiast Nathan Kingerlee will begin hiking the Blackwater Way along with a goat and a dog in order to find out.
The Blackwater Way is a way-marked trail, stretching from Shrone near Killarney in Kerry, to Clogheen, near Clonmel in Tipperary. Along the way it meanders down the lush Blackwater Valley, through fertile farmland and weaves through the Bogeragh and Knockmealdown Mountains. It’s one of 31 national way-marked trails, such as the Kerry Way and Wicklow Way. Although a popular route for hikers, it has probably never had such an unlikely group as a man, a goat and a dog travel its paths before!
"I have wanted to hike the Blackwater Way for a long time" says Kingerlee. "The idea of bringing a goat along came to me one evening while in my local bar over a few pints. I had just finished the book ‘Round Ireland With A Fridge’ by Tony Hawks and thought I would love to do something like that but instead of a fridge, a goat would be much better company."
Kerry native, Nathan Kingerlee, who runs Outdoors Ireland, an adventure company in Killarney, is optimistic about his journey. However, his biggest fear is that the goat may not be able to keep up with a 20km – 30km pace each day over 168km. It is a long trek for any human on his own but how will he cope with the company of a dog and a goat? The goat, Bob, is being donated by Cronin’s Yard at Carrauntoohil and Cara the dog is Kingerlee’s own Springer puppy.
"As this is outside of tourist season I’m hoping to find enough B&Bs open along the way" says Kingerlee. "The goat will be able to forage for food in the hedgerows and my dog is going through a stage of catching birds, so neither of them will go hungry!"
"In terms of equipment I’ll be fully prepared and organised, but in terms of the actual hike I’ll be doing I’ve no idea what to expect and that’s what I’m really looking forward to. It will be a chance to rediscover Ireland as a tourist, take each day as it comes and see what unfolds along the way" says Kingerlee.
"There’s also a slightly more serious aspect, I’ve spent my whole working life in the tourism industry; I want to take a step outside the industry and see if the Irish welcome that we market overseas still does exist in the little towns and pubs along the way and see if the infrastructure and information is in place for a tourist who could step off a bus in Killarney next Spring and decide walk the Blackwater Way."
Kingerlee will be keeping a daily blog of his journey on his website www.outdoorsireland.com.
Note to Editor: For further information or photos please contact Nathan on 086 8604563 or info@outdoorsireland.com.

One of the reasons I'm doing this hike is to raise money for
Kerry Mountain Rescue.
If you would like to make a donation please send a cheque/postal order/bank draft, made payable to Kerry Mountain Rescue, to the following address:
Nathan Kingerlee, Outdoors Ireland
Stookisland, Cromane, Killorglin, Kerry
Also attach your own name and address and one of the Mountain Rescue Team will be in touch to thank you.
It looks like I'll be talking to Rick O'Shea on 2FM this Monday afternoon, sometime between 12pm and 3pm, about my journey!

16 January 2010

Dursey Island

Just before Christmas, after an eventful day involving boats, trailers and ferries – which I’m still too traumatised to talk about – I spent a night in a lovely B&B in Castletownbere. The B&B was Sea Breeze, the wireless internet access was free and breakfast was delicious!
9am on a sparkling sunny Thursday saw me driving West Cork’s quiet winding country roads right down to Ireland’s most south westerly point – Dursey.

I parked at the cable car and stepped into the crisp refreshing winter air. Ireland’s only cable car has recently been replaced and is now a shiny blue and silver box. The original cable car, which has been in existence for as long as most people can remember, is now used as a hen coop in a near-by farm. The five min journey across Dursey Sound, from the mainland to the easterly tip of Dursey Island, is a couple of hundred metres, suspended on cables high above the Sound.

Today the tide was rushing through the Sound, erupting in boils, crashing against the wet black cliffs. I’ve kayaked through this stretch of water once, escorted by dolphins, but in much calmer conditions than today...

Paddy squints across the water at me, making sure I’ve disembarked, before recalling the cable car, leaving me, Darragh and Cara the dog alone on this rugged windswept piece of land.

We climb steadily uphill, following the rugged spine of Dursey Island across Knockaree, Kilmichael and up to the old crumbling signal tower on Dursey’s highest point; standing at 252 metres above the grey restless ocean.

It’s possible to shelter from the fresh breeze within the signal tower buildings, although there’s no easy way into the tower itself. The tower is thought to date back to the Napoleonic wars and was part of a system of similar towers lining the Irish coastline. I’ve been here on misty, damp days and it’s possible to imagine people waiting and watching within the thick walls as the wind batters the island, the rain pelts upon the walls and darkness drives in through the draughty cracks...

From the signal tower three kilometres of gentle downhill hiking brings us past one of just a few occupied houses and down to where Dursey tapers to meet the Atlantic; although defiant to its environment – like its inhabitants – the tip rears up into a little hill, before plunging vertically into the water.

On the dry, heathery ground we stretch out, surrounded by the sounds of surf, wind and birds, to enjoy some delicious and unusual food bought from Andy at the Truffle Pig in Kenmare.

Just beyond our feet, swirling in breaking waves, protrude Cuckoo Rock and Lea Rock. Further beyond that are The Bull, The Cow and The Calf. The Calf has a lighthouse perched upon it, warning sailors of the treacherous waters within.

After lunch we return along the Beara Way, then the rutted road, along bleak open landscape, with fantastic views over Dursey Harbour and Crow Head. Sparing dwelling houses, mostly abandoned and ruined, speckle the road on either side. The occasional house is still lived in, or used as a holiday home during the summer, and these small, squat buildings look like beautiful but tough homes. About one hundred people lived here once, now only twelve remain...

Closer to the cable car we pass a neglected graveyard and roofless church, called St. Mary’s Abbey. The graveyard shelters the family vault of the O’Sullivan Beara clan. Nearby is a field called ‘Pairc an Air’ meaning 'Massacre Field'. Here a large number of the O’Sullivan family and followers were murdered by British Forces, during the 1500's/1600's.

After a short wait we returned by cable car to the mainland, windblown, hungry and having experienced one of Ireland’s little hidden gems…

To get there take the R572 from Castletown Bere, for Dursey.
It’s about a 35 minute drive and you’ll need to check with your local tourist office regarding cable car timings.

Nathan Kingerlee
Outdoors Ireland