This route features many curves and truly amazing scenery, described by a regular visitor as “remote, truly sublime and hauntingly beautiful“. (Photo by ogniw)
Derreendarragh, on the river of the same name, is within easy reach of Sneem on the Coastal Route.
Derrynablaha is the site of an interesting Standing Stone and some petraglyphic rocks.
The Ballaghbeama Gap is a remote rocky mountain pass between Mullaghanttin and McGillycuddy’s Reeks, beautiful, forbidding, utterly inhospitable. This area of Kerry is often compared to Glencoe in Scotland. Unfortunately, it has been discovered by trail bikers.
Glencar is a spectacular wild valley district, popular with anglers, canoeists, cyclists, hill walkers, mountain climbers and nature lovers of all kinds, with exceptional views of the surrounding MacGillycuddy Reeks. Nearby Carauntoohill / Carantuohill (1040m / 3414ft) is the highest mountain in Ireland.
The Climbers’ Inn, aka “Jack’s Place“, is recognised as the oldest walking and climbing establishment in Ireland. Situated in a glorious woodland setting in the centre of the glen, it has comfortable en suite rooms with Jet showers to rejuvenate tired bodies, a drying room for wet clothes and kit, and a laundry. The Inn has full bar facilities, popular with locals as well as guests, serves good home cooked breakfast, lunches and dinners to a high standard, and hosts live traditional music sessions. Other options available include camping facilities and packed lunches.
Glencar House in the beautiful Carragh River Valley was built in the late C17th as a hunting lodge for Sir William Petty, whose great grandson the 2nd Earl of Shelburne briefly served as Prime Minister of Great Britain between 1782-83 and became 1st Marquess of Lansdowne in 1784. (Photo by irish-photographs.co)
In the C19th the House was remodelled and converted into a hotel, and there have been a number of additions since then. Set in 13 acres of oak woods, it now has 20 en-suite bedrooms, a Victorian snooker room and library with open fireplace, and a glazed veranda with panoramic views of wild woodland, open bog and mountains.
The Cedar Restaurant and Caragh Bar also have turf-burning open fireplaces and sylvan views.
Lickeen Woods is a riverside forest with paths winding through primitive oaks and other broadleaf trees interspersed with a range of majestic conifers. In addition to abundant birdlife, fauna includes res and sika deer, wild mink and otters.
The Caragh River, famous for its salmon and trout, drains the ruggedly beautiful mountain slopes and a number of small lakes.
Lough Caragh, aka Glencar Lake, is beloved of anglers from all over the world, who gather annually on 17th January for the start of the spring salmon season. The fish are traditionally taken by trolling and spinning. Access to the lakeshore is difficult, but boats and ghillies are available. (Photo – www.ibcousinie.info)
Carrig House, a splendid lakeside Victorian country house used for a time as a hunting lodge by the English beer brewing baron Lord Brocket, is handsomely set in exceptionally fine gardens, with the lough and mountains providing a dramatic backdrop. Nowadays run as a friendly Guesthouse by Frank and Mary Slattery, it features a delightful restaurant open to the public as well as resident guests, which makes for a livelier atmosphere.
Ard na Sidhe (‘Hill of the Fairies’), a country house with beautiful gardens set in woodlands overlooking Lough Caragh, was constructed in 1913 for Lady Edith Gordon to the designs of the English architect Percy Richard Morley Horder, in a revivalist Elizabethan style. Expertly restored and reopened in 2011, it has been hailed as the finest Arts and Crafts style hotel in Ireland.
Walking routes in the area take in the Owenroe River, Cloon Lough. Loughancummeen, Lough Cappanalea, Lough Nakirka, Lough Acoose and Esknamuky Glen.
Blackstones House is a spacious old-style farmhouse scenically situated beside Blackstones Bridge, on the Caragh River, near Lickeen Wood and the Blackstones Falls, with great views of the surrounding countryside. In addition to B&B accommodation, Blackstones also organise House Rentals.
Glencar is within easy reach of Glenbeigh and Tullig Beg on the Coastal Route / Ring of Kerry, and of Killorglin on ByRoute 1.
The Ballaghisheen Pass is very scenic and very steep. There are often cattle and sheep wandering free in this area. This is the traditional location of the tragic end of the legend of Oisín and Tír nÓg.
Ballaghisheen Forest is lovely, but plagued by midges in summer.
Tulligelane Exotic Garden, located near Lissatinnig Bridge, is a mixture of Cottage garden and wetlands, with uncommon and wild edible plants, tender shrubs, grasses and perennials. The gardener is Carl Herpels.
The Uibbh Rathach Gaeltacht has its heartland in this area along the valley of the Inny River.
Mastergeehy is a community comprising isolated homesteads scattered around the broad valley.
Lough Deriana is a 2-mile long lake surrounded by stunning scenery.
Cloonaghlin Lough (Photo by micksul)
Lough Namona is famous in fishing circles for its sea trout snd free-rising brown trout.
Caherbarnagh is the location of some ancient Rock Art comprising Cup and Ring Marks carved into stone.
The Cummeragh River descends from its upper loughs (Derriana, Namona, Cloonaghlin, Na hUisce and Coppal) to feed Lough Currane.
Cloghvoola is beautifully situated at the base of the Coomcalee Mountains on the shores of Lough Currane.
Lough Currane, lying only slightly above sea level, measures 4 x 2 miles, making it by far the largest lake on the Cummeragh River. (Photo by MikeH57). Church island features a C6th monastic site with beehive huts.
Lough Currane is linked to the sea by a short channel at Waterville.