• Cycling the WILD ATLANTIC WAY in the Beara Peninsula, West Cork, Ireland.

    This is a short description of a cycle taken on sunday the 12th of November in West Cork along Irelands WILD ATLANTIC WAY.

    Today was a beautiful sunny day, a rare day for this time of year. I got up early and drove west from cork city towards the Beara Peninsula. My plan was to cycle the ring of Beara which will form part of our 2018 6-Day WILD ATLANTIC WAY Adventure Tour. By leaving Cork city early, I was rewarded with an early winter sunrise over Glengarriff harbour.

    From Castletownbere I cycled west past Gour, out to the village of Allihies and back to Castletownbere. The  cycle towards Duresey Island was peaceful as the roads were quiet except for some local traffic heading for Sunday mass at Cahermore.  As I reached the top of Bealbarnish gap I was greeted with splendid views down over Allihies,  which was framed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Hills of Slieve Miskish where the disused copper mines are situated.

    After a quick stop at the beach, I headed out of Allihies via the steep pull up Caheraphuca, I stopped into the Dzogchen Beara Buddhist Centre for a quiet moment and a well earned lunch before cycling back to Castletownbere. A great day was had, happy and tired on returning home.

  • Biking, Hiking & Surfing in Kerry (Day 2 of 2)

    As you head further west into County Kerry, the landscape becomes wilder. Inland, the Mountains stretch to the horizon and they roll down to meet the wild ocean. This wild Irish landscape forces the roads into winding snake-like patterns. Travelling here you are reminded that humans can never truly conquer nature; but only work with it, spend time in it and enjoy it. We at BEYOND THE GLASS Adventure Tours were reminded of this as we travelled along the Wild Atlantic Way from Killarney to Dingle and out to Slea Head.

    On Sunday morning we awoke refreshed and excited for the day’s adventure tour ahead. From Killarney we travelled north through Milltown to our first stop of the day – Inch beach. Some of us strolled along the endless golden sandy beach while others took to surf boards, where to varying degrees of success, they tried to master their balance on the waves. We then drove the short distance to the South Pole Inn at Annascaul. This Bar was the home of the famous Arctic explorer Tom Crean and it is still managed by his family. Here we enjoyed a warming coffee after which we continued onto Dingle. In Dingle, we took a ramble around the colourful streets and had a lazy lunch while enjoying the views over Dingle Harbour. The town was alive with people on vacation and local shoppers. In Dingle the shop fronts are all painted beautifully and there are many authentic Irish Pubs, high quality craft shops and a homemade ice-cream shop or two!

    After lunch we cycled west from Dingle along Irelands Wild Atlantic Way through the village of Ventry, around Ventry harbour and on towards Slea Head. The peninsula is rich in archaeological heritage; we passed countless historical sites including ring-forts, Ogham stones and Megalithic tombs. As the Islands of the Great Blasket and the wonderfully named Inishvickillane came closer into view, the road ran nearer to the sea cliffs and the views increased in their splendour. We stopped and descended the steep path to the amazing Coumeenoole beach. With its setting and beauty, it is easy see why it was chosen as a location for the film “Ryan’s Daughter”. We continued on to Dunquin where we turned east onto a minor road which took us up and around Mount Eagle, back through Ventry and onto Dingle. That evening we ate a mouth-watering dinner in the fish only restaurant, “Out of the Blue”.

  • Biking, Hiking & Surfing in Kerry (Day 1 of 2)

    A two-day activity-filled break in Killarney was just the answer for the Beyond The Glass team last week to blow off the office cobwebs. Biking, hiking and surfing in Ireland’s Kingdom county of Kerry located on the rugged south-west coast of Ireland, more fondly known today as the Wild Atlantic Way. County Kerry features in a lot of our Beyond The Glass 2017 Tours and is a real favourite with all our customers. This blog should give you a flavour of what you’ll experience on one of our tours.

    Day 1 in Killarney

    When you arrive into the town of Killarney you quickly see why it is one of the top tourist destinations in Ireland. It is surrounded by Mountains and Lakes. It’s beauty is breath taking and naturally spectacular and there’s an infectious buzz that makes it a perfect destination for an adrenaline filled adventure tour. The town itself has some amazing restaurants and great shopping, and the expanse of the adjacent Killarney National Park has endless options for activity.

    Starting with a Cardiac Workout up Torc Mountain.

    Torc Waterfall was our starting point, approximately 7 kilometers outside the town. We ascended the locally known ‘cardiac steps’ towards Torc waterfall, a name derived from the annual adventure race that sees athletes running up these steps. We took the gentler option of walking the steps to arrive to the top of the picturesque Torc waterfall. Leaving the bulk of the Tourists behind we then ventured onto the Kerry way. Walking in the shade of ancient oaks until  the path led to open Mountain. The Kerry Way carried on in a south westerly direction but we veered North West to climb to the top of Torc Mountain. On the summit, although just 535 meters high, we were greeted by splendid views of Killarney’s lakes and the McGillycuddy Reeks beyond.

    Following a relaxed and very tasty lunch we took to our bikes to explore the nineteenth century Muckross House and its adjoining gardens. The House and Gardens are set within the larger Killarney National Park and have extensive pathways which are perfect for a gentle cycle. We peddled through the Park while taking in the full beauty of the House and Gardens. The gardens run up to the shore of Muckross Lake, the lake side path which circles the lake makes for a lovely shore side cycle; today we chose to explore the ancient ruins of Muckross Abbey, an old Irish Monastery. The evening light and wild flowers that grow between the fallen stones brought an air of wonder about the place. After a quiet moment at the abbey we took the cycle path that links the park to the town of Killarney and cycled the 7 km to the 15th century Ross castle. The once chieftain stronghold looks very impressive. It stands on the edge of Lough Leane and beyond are Purple and Tommies mountains giving the perfect back drop. The evening was drawing to a close but  there still were a few people on vacation exploring the park. To get back to the town we entered the section of the park beside Ross castle and cycled the short few kilometers past the wild deer that freely roam the park and the rare breed Kerry cow that has been preserved in the area.  As we settled into Killarney for the night we looked forward to the prospects of the next day’s adventure in Dingle.