In an old country with a proud history like Ireland’s, you’d expect a lot of that. This morning’s side trip from Beaufort to Cork brought me to a sterling modern example of this phenomenon. We set out to hike nearby Tomies Woods, at the edge of Killarney Park.
The trek we’d take took us a mile in then 131 steps down, where we could catch a look at Eas Ui Shúileabháin (O‘Sullivan’s Cascade), a little set of falls as the water came down the rocks from draining waters from Tomies Mountain (735 m elevation) into Loch Leane, where we’ve been yesterday touring Ross Castle.
According to legend this waterfall once ran not with water, but with whiskey instead. The Chieftain of the Fianna, Fionn MacCumhal, resided above the Cascade on Tomies Mountain. It was here that he kept his personal supply of the finest uisgebeatha (whiskey). O’Sullivan of Tomies was lucky enough to share this delightful drop, being the only man bold enough to stand up to Fionn. Unfortunately when the Sassenagh (The English) invaded Ireland, it changed into water and became known as O’Sullivan’s Cascade. (1). Damned English.
There were no good angles for an iPhone camera
This image kyped from the net does it better justice
After the walk back, we headed for the Gap of Dunloe, between the highest mountains in Ireland (McGillycuddy Reeks) and Killaney’s Purple and Tomies mountains. The River Loe flows through the valley, linking its five corrie lakes: Coosaun Lough, Black Lake, Cushnavally Lake, Auger Lake, and Black Lough. Such makes for fabulous adventuring, from rafting to rock climbing to serious hiking. The Gap was unfortunately closed to these activities through the end of August. Closed for maintenance? So the Gap was left to its other primary activity, fleecing tourists. We’d been there the day before, dropping into Moriarity’s shop, which seemed to be an appendage to the restaurant next door. Their bar seemed no great shakes, so we thought we’d check out the knick knacks at their cheesy shop. Little did we know they purveyed high end Irish woolens. Kathy emerged with a beautiful purple cape that set her back several hundred euros.
But appearances are deceptive in the Gap. We thought Kate Kearney’s Cottage was just a little gift shop and lunch counter, passing it by our first time up.
As I read, I learned that Kate ran one of the 10 best pubs in the area, so that was our destination today. She provided a nice Killarney IPA and a Paddy’s uisce bump for me. I had no expectation for any more satisfaction from her place. Everything there was prim and modern, obviously recently updated. Getting back to the men’s, nothing countered this perception, although the sign on the door suggested mischief.
I promised I’d adhere. Tile and sinks were clearly almost new, and shy eliminators had their own little rooms
But to the right, against the wall, was the magnificent installation of someone who still cared.
That such instillations can occur in these modern times speak to some hope that the best of the past might be preserved. If only American pissoir designers might take heed, we beleaguered older males might find some joy as we seek our way through these modern times.
Eire comforts in many other ways, with its slower pace, marvelous locally grown (and caught) food, traditional music, un-peated uisce, beer that satisfies far beyond Guinness, smiling buxom lasses, and a comforting countryside that blends just enough mountain with long stretches of green. And all that water! Add to that a summer climate where the temps rarely exceed 65, and you’ve got a place to which I’m coming back.
- Páirceanna Náisiúnta na hÉirann. National Parks of Ireland. Killarney National Park. O’Sullivan’s Cascade. https://www.killarneynationalpark.ie/visit-us/osullivans-cascade/