Finglas House – Camp, Ireland

As I mentioned, the second we would get to our rooms after each day our bags would explode. The hiking bootes would come off, clean clothes found and often a quick lay down was needed before dinner. Hence the horrendous picture of our room. Aside from the thrown aside bedding and the opened bags, the point however is to point out that while our accommodations along the way were not always fancy, they were clean and comfortable. Which is exactly what we needed given the type of trip we were on.

Day two ended in Camp and as previously mentioned this is in fact the name of a town. This was also the first day we had experienced the baggage transfer done by our touring company and as promised our bags were awaiting our arrival in the lobby of our guesthouse. We were greeted by a very lovely woman named Kathleen who owns the Finglas Guesthouse. She showed up to our rooms and then the exploding of the bags happened. Then off to the Ashes Pub for dinner which I talked about in a previous post.

After dinner and a shower I set myself up in the lovely second floor lounge. There was tea and cookies provided by Kathleen, which I took full advantage of. The rest of the group congregated after their respective adulations and we spent a lovely evening planning our next day.

Thanks to jet lag I was up bright and early. Dressed, repacked and ready to eat breakfast approximately and hour before it was ready. C’est la vie. Breakfast was severed on time in the downstairs dining room that overlooks the bay. There were a variety of options, I of course chose the “Full Irish” plus coffee, toast and a little more coffee. It was perfection as expected from the quaint little place. We were also given a sack lunch again, this time a suspect sandwich and chips. My chips were cheese and onion, though there was a chicken flavor floating around in one of my groups sack lunches as well. Turns out the suspect sandwich was cheese and tomato which was quite good. Chips weren’t bad either.

 

Continue reading
Irish Columbine

Ashes Pub – Camp, Ireland

For our second night of the trip we were put up in Upper Camp (this is the actual name of a town, not the activity of sleeping in the woods). The village which is split into upper and lower sections is relatively small, and the area we were staying in especially small.  A handful of houses, our guesthouse, a bar that was closed and the Ashes Pub.

I would link the site if there was one, the best I could find is the trip advisor link or if you look it up on google maps where you can find their address and open hours. This is not to be confused with the Ashes Pub in Dingle, which does have a website. I did find a video on YouTube which appears to just be a personal video overlain with Irish music, but it gives you a good idea of the size of the place.

Regardless of a lacking website and its modest exterior the place is perfection. The bar inside is exactly what one would expect from an Irish Pub. Low ceilings, stone work, worn woodwork and the nicest people you will ever meet. The food was outstanding, like 5 star dining outstanding. I had lamb with mint sauce, I inhaled it. Not only was I starving from the hike that day but it was so good I just couldn’t help myself.

We must have gotten there early though, as it was quiet when we first sat down, but by the time we were on our second round of drinks the parking lot was full and the pub was packed to the gills. The food took a while cooked to order as it were, and worth the wait. The wait staff couldn’t have been kinder and the bartender/owner was full of snarky jokes. I loved this place through and through.
Additional Information:

Address:  Camp Cross, Ballinknockane, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Hours: 5pm to Midnight daily.
Notes: Cash only,  and be patient the food is worth the wait.

 

Continue reading

Wonderful Ireland Walking Tours – Tralee to Camp Ireland

The moment we had been waiting for, for a year and a half, the first day of the hike! We started out in Tralee, which meant walking along the harbor toward the hills (which you can see in the distance in the picture below). It wound up being a lot of road walking for the first section which can be pretty hard on your feet. It was also extremely humid and warm. Don’t let those clouds fool you by the time we got to the trail head we were sweating and tired. And we still had a good 10+ miles left in the day.

Once we got on the trail our feet started feeling quite a bit better, but it was a lot of up and down and I at least wore out fairly quickly. It could not have been more gorgeous however. We could see all the way back to where we had started pretty much the entire day and walked toward what seemed like an endless stretch of fields. We went over a few rivers which were lush and beautiful. Though I expected nothing less. We took a few breaks along the way, just enjoying the view and the break from reality. We all work really hard long hours in our real lives so I think we were all very happy to just sit in the sun, disconnected from the world, looking at nothing but grass and ocean and the occasional wayward sheep.

Once we got toward the end of the day we got back down closer to the road and got into some more actively used fields. Enter the cows. No bulls, they are kept behind locked gates with lots of signs. But given the trail is made possible by the cooperation of local farmers, it wasn’t very much of a surprise to cross paths with our bovine friends. There was after all an awful lot of signs pointing to their existence, and by signs I mean poop on the trail. This larger group proved the most difficult, they were full on blocking the trail which was flanked by stinging nettles and blackberries so we weren’t terribly interested in going around them. Some of us, braver then others (not myself), tapped them on the bum so they scurried on, albeit very slowly.

Once free of the cows and over all the stiles we found ourselves back on the roads trudging toward our inn for the night. The end of the days walk passed us by a series of very lovely homes, my favorite of which was of course abandoned. I loved the peeling layers of paint and overgrown roses.

All in all it was a moderate level of difficulty in walking. Made mostly hard by the condition of the trail (very rocky) which thankfully were mostly dry. Most of the year it is more bog like, which would have created different difficulties with the added benefit of swarms of mosquitoes. All in all it was a terrific day and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Continue reading