HAL 2019 World – Day 105 Bantry, Republic of Ireland

May 13, 2019 Paul Groves

The end has come.  This is our last port then we’re on our way back to Ft. Lauderdale! (But not the end of our cruise.  We’re on to Seattle after this.)

Today’s excursion is all about the countryside and is entitled “The Beautiful Beara Penninsula”.  Beara Peninsulais a peninsula on the south-west coast of Ireland bounded between the Kenmare “river” (actually a bay) to the north side and Bantry Bay to the south.  We followed the “Ring of Beara” roads for about 148 kilometres (92 mi) circumnavigating the peninsula.

After traveling for an hour we took our first break in Castletownbere (one of Ireland’s largest fishing ports), home to MacCarthy’s pub.  It was voted the “Irish Pub Of The Year” in 2016.  Not a huge place but a lot of character.  We also had our picture taken here.

We continued on our journey on the “Ring”.  

Along the way we noticed large flocks of sheep with colored spots on their backs. Our guide explained that this was the way used to identify the owner of the sheep… kind of like branding.

About an hour later we stopped at the small town of Kenmare (noted for its food and pubs) for a light snack and shopping.  The snack was a scone served with coffee or tea, butter, and raspberry jam.  This was the best scone we’ve had in a while.

Within walking distance of the town center is one of the largest stone circles in the south-west of Ireland.  It was constructed during the Bronze Age (2,200–500 B.C). The circle has 15 stones around the circumference with a boulder dolmen in the center.  Our guide said it was built by the Druids.  A little further down the road we saw a statue of a Druid.

Our last stop was at Kenmare Bay where we saw Mussel farms.  Every year millions of mussel larvae are born, these larvae float in the water looking for something to cling to so they can grow.  The farms provide this by putting 20-25 thousand ropes in the water every June. The mussels then attach themselves to these ropes where they feed on phyto plankton. On average a mussel takes around 24 months to fully grow for harvesting.

After this stop it was back to the ship and on to Ft. Lauderdale.