We woke up not knowing where we were going to spend the next two nights so I scanned the internet a bit, looked through the Lonely Planet guide and came up with Clonakilty. We took our time driving from Doolin (County Clare) to Clonakilty (County Cork). Drove down the coast to Killmer where we caught the car ferry to Tarbert (County Kerry). We stopped in Tralee for lunch which was not the best choice for us ~ I found Tralee to be crowded and a bit unfriendly. We thought about doing the “Ring of Kerry” which a lot of guidebooks list as a “must do” but we only skirted along the top of the Ring. We left that drive on the list for next time.
There was beautiful scenery the entire drive to Clonakilty.
And there were lots of tractors along the road. We even saw an accident between a tractor and a truck ~ thankfully everyone seemed fine.
I chose to stay at the Bay View House B&B because it overlooks Clonakilty Bay. Unfortunately, the tide was low during the day but it’s still a nice view. The owner of the B&B along with her daughter are wonderful hosts ~ it was a great place to stay. Only hiccup was the man in the room next to us who had his TV on max volume until 1:30am. I finally knocked on the wall which he then thankfully turned it off. I’m the only light sleeper in the family.
The town is full of shops, restaurants and has a rich history. Michael Collins, the commander-in-chief of the Irish Free State army, was born near Clonakilty. If you’re interested, there’s a map called “In search of Michael Collins” which you can get at the town’s tourist office ~it traces the key places in the area such as birthplace, school, place of ambush where he was killed, etc.
On the second day in Clonakilty, we woke up to sunshine once again so we decided to spend some time in the County Cork countryside on horseback. All the rides in Clonakilty were booked so we ended up riding in the Mealagh Valley which is about 5 miles outside of Bantry. Weather could not have been more perfect for the ride and we were treated to a gorgeous view from the top of the hill overlooking the valley and out to Bantry Bay. It was about a 45 minute drive from the B&B and the road narrowed considerably as we got closer to the horse farm. We were greeted by several creatures: cats, dogs & sheep. I got a very good feeling about the Bantry Pony/Horseriding and when I asked, I found out they “rescue” neglected/unwanted ponies and horses. We love to ride when we visit a new location but sometimes I don’t like the way the horses are handled. Thankfully with Bantry Pony Trekking, I could tell the horses/ponies are loved and seem very content. I feel confident HIGHLY recommending this activity if you’re in the County Cork.
We had a late lunch at Tractors (yummy) in Bantry then it was back to Clonakilty for the night.