Eirinn: Day 4
Wednesday 5th September 2007
Wednesday offered another day of fine weather. After the grey skies of 2006, this was a huge relief.
The first destination of the morning was . This stone circle sits above Castletownbere and commands impressive views out over Bantry Bay.
Approaching the town, a Catholic shrine to the Virgin Mary can be found at the side of the road, illustrating how ancient traditions have adapted and changed, continuing under new guises into the present day.
Castletownbere is a small Irish fishing port. It has few shops, fewer places to eat, and a number of down-at-heel bars. Nevertheless, it's a refreshing change from the bland, homogenised centres of English towns, with there rows of predictably identical shops and cardboard people.
From there, it was a long drive off the peninsula and over towards Bantry. The spectacular backdrop enjoyed by Kealkil stone circle made the trip well worth the effort.
And if that wasn't enough, five minutes away on the other side of the lane could be found the ruins of Breeny More stone circle.
The next visit was Ardrah stone row - difficult to find, and only accessible via muddy lanes and through an abandoned farm.
In many parts of Ireland, history lies scattered next to the roadside, nameless and unremembered. On the way to the final stop of the day, a castle lay forgotten and abandoned, tucked away in a quiet and unremarkable village.
Maughanasilly stone row was the perfect spot to enjoy the last of the day's light, with spectacular views so typical of Ireland's magnificent ancient sites.