Tonight’s parkup features beautiful Lough Glencar, which pales before the magnificent green Truskmore mountains that surround us. Unfortunately the parking lot is nearly as slanted as the mountains. Note to self, buy better ramps.
We’ve scheduled a full slate for today so do endeavor to keep up.
We’d noticed a cute cafe just across the road and in the morning found it, wait for it…closed for breakfast. On the way we noticed a sign that pointed toward a waterfall. I like a good waterfall but opportunity waits for no one so breakfast will have to.
We’re heading for a real crowd pleaser this morning called the Great Horseshoe loop. If getting there is just half the fun I’m not sure I can take much more.
The scale of this bowl shaped valley is impossible to wrap your head around. It’s so magnificent that sound hasn’t a chance to disturb the tranquility of the place. It just dissipates like vapor on a hot day.
And what is the deal with this large mysterious house out in the middle of all this magnificent loneliness?
And why are 30 or so souls (discreetly not shown) gathered around a guy who looks like he is going over a clipboard with statistics and a drawing of property borders? Is this building ripe for developers? Or have I just read this wrong?
Regardless, we pressed on with the Great Horseshoe Loop but soon found we were off the map and lost again.
Google and the gods of GPS found us and we laid a course for what is billed as a megalithic cemetery in Carrowmore. Access to the site, or should I say sites, is through the gift shop and a small visitor center which repeated the mantra: no one knows who they were or what they were doing there. Yes, no one knows who did this or how they did this, or why they did this but it might have been, in this case, just fancy head stones.
I guess these people had little else beside land because by today’s standards, where everyone is jammed in on top of one another, this huge plot of ground contained just 30 odd generous sites. It was a hike just to get to the first small numbered site.
By the time we reached the Big Kahuna in the large stone ring on top of the hill, we were already considering how far away the parking lot is.
Looks like a pet rock cemetery in here.
Marce found a nice little parkup in Knocknarea up on Strand Hill. Early reports boast of a fine coffee/hot chocolate vendor on site. However it was not made clear to Yours Truly that a well known mountain hike up to another massive stone cairn, the largest in Europe, might be in the offing. Before I could protest I found myself wobbling up a 5,000 year old, ankle-breaking stone path, having lost with my lame arguments about how it looks like it might rain, and isn’t it kind of late Hon, don’t you think? Never lead with a question!
You have no idea where the climb will end and it’s so steep that occasionally rudimentary rough steps are cut into the mountain or rocks are placed as steps. I will say that as we slowly make altitude the view improves with every step. It’s just that there are so many steps, and so very steep.
We begin to take short rests just bending over where we stand, and even the occasional bench shows up.
This climb is a tough one.
Finally we begin to see the very tip of the rocky top of what is known as the 5,000 year old Maeve’s Cairn.
It’s a very large round pile of rocks, approximately 15m tall and 55m in diameter. It’s a lot of rocks.
By this point just walking around it was exhausting but we could see several paths leading off in every direction with plaques that state how far and what kind of monument one might find at the end of that path. Color my mood just too tired to care.
And then the heavens opened up and proved me right, but wet.
Heading down in the rain proved to be a slippery proposition.
All those slick rocks and wet grass became treacherous, but with gravity assist we made it down. Secure in the knowledge that we’d earned a bit of a rest, the heavens really opened up in earnest. It’s probably just as well that I had no Johnnie Walker with which to celebrate. We’re not going anywhere tonight.