29 Nov Rossbeigh, County Kerry
Kerry has a clean beauty of bone about it denied to the other more fleshy counties of Ireland, for although this southwest corner was notably glaciated in the Ice Age it was not overcoated by Drift to the same extent. Clear hard outlines and boldly-drawn distances mark this county, which looks as if it had been designed in one of God’s more expansive moods. From the shadow of Curra Hill (Currac cinn adhmuid) we have a bird’s eye view of the vast sweep of Dingle Bay, with the Dingle Mountains beyond.
Immediately below us is Rossbeigh Strand, mile upon empty mile of fine bathing beach, backed by sandhills. Here John Synge, the dramatist, watched the horse-racing on the sands and listened to the old man tell tales of Tir-na-nOg, the land of Eternal Youth. “‘The Tir-na-nOg itself’, he said, ‘is below that sea, and a while since there were two men out in a boat in the night-time, and they got stuck outside some way or another. They went to sleep then, and when one of them wakened up he looked down into the sea, and he saw the Tir-na-nOg and people walking about, and side-cars driving in the squares’.”
Nearby, where the Behy River enters Dingle Bay, is the village of Glenbeigh, nestling at the foot of Seefin Mountain. Diarmuid, one of the heroes of Irish Saga, fished for salmon in this river, on his epic flight with Grania, his lover. It is still a fine- and free- fishing river with sea-trout (after a flood) and grilse.
Rossbeigh is a hidden gem, well worth a visit on your tours of Ireland.