Last year The Irish Times asked people to write about their favorite places to “Go Wild In”.
This entry gives you a feel for this place. 🙂
For me, going wild in Ireland is: Time spent in my special places around Ballylickey, Bantry, West Cork.
Stepping out of the car and feeling the first taste of a salty Atlantic wind in your face, while looking at the magnificence that is Bantry Bay,
Taking the bikes on the little ferry from Bantry and cycling on rarely used roads on the sleepy Whiddy Island, (and enjoying a delicious chowder afterwards in the islands only pub. )
Collecting cockles and mussels at Eagle Point in Ballylickey and eating them, straight from the shell off the BBQ.
Getting up early to spot the otter at Snave, and feeding the swans under the falls at the Ouvane in welly boots and raincoats.
Daily morning swims followed by a feast of Lucys Cupps buttery scones, eaten at the waters edge with feet in the sea.
Getting breathless as we walk up to the rusty cross, at the top of the Priest Leap, Coomhola and look out over Glengarrif, Beara and beyond,
Eating picnics with our backs to ancient standing stones at Maugha, Lough Atooreen and wandering down across the hill to Carriganass Castle and the village of Kealkil,
Swimming in secret “blue lagoons” under waterfalls on Charlies mountain in the Borlin Valley,
Walking the hills of the area, The Caha Mountains, The Sheeps Head and The Beara Peninisulas and feeling glad to be alive while looking down on Bantry Bay.
Wandering Garnish Island, vying to see who is the first to spot one of the Sea Eagles and when we get fed up of that, testing the echo acoustics in the lower part of the Martello tower.J
Running with children through spongy grass, to the “rainbows end” at the Lighthouse on the Sheeps head Penisula, while checking for a breaching humpback whale,
Watching, a limitless horizon where seagulls soar up into my vision at the Dzogchen Beara Buddist centre on the Beara Penisula,
Swimming in phosphorescence in August in a sea cave near Eyries, and slowing meandering back over the Healy Pass as the sun goes down over the Sugarloaf.
And most of all, on calm misty warm summer days, kayaking out on the bay and sometimes, up the estuaries of the Coomhola and Ouvane Rivers …and if one is inclined, mooring up for a pint at the pub on the Ouvane on the way back….
All and much more in a small hinterland, in the heart of West Cork, an area reknowned for its the wonderful artisan food, which can all be enjoyed locally, and sold in the “marrakesh” of Ireland …. The colourful “fairday” Friday Market in Bantry town.