Sometimes in life the perception of something doesn’t always match the reality.
Certainly in the 20 years I’ve been in Kerry the south-easterly side of the county hasn’t always been a major attraction. I suppose you get caught up with the marketing efforts extorted by the likes of Killarney, Dingle, Tralee and parts of the Ring of Kerry. Even heading out towards the likes the Brosna and Rathmore by car would have needed a damn good excuse! Probably the perceived remoteness and the lack of a big stand out town has kept the area a little off the radar?
The area has started to fight back though, with the re-branding of the area as Sliabh Luachra, promoting in the main the traditional culture of story telling and song that the area has to offer. From a cycling perspective the excellent Sliabh Luachra CC from the Rathmore area have made huge strides in recent years to become one of the counties biggest and best run clubs.
So back to my own reasons for writing this post! More out of co-incidence than purpose I took two spins out to different parts of the area last week. The first one involved Castleisland, Scartaglin and Kilcummin. Certainly you need a level of fitness out there. The area gets quite hilly leading into Scartaglin but with every up there comes a down. Quiet roads, sleepy villages, amazing views, forests, wildlife and a pleasant surprise around each corner. Even the coffee break in Kilcummin offered something different for our group. The Local Kilcummin GAA club opened their doors, offering bountiful supplies of tea, coffee and biscuits.
Four days later I was off in the slightly different direction of Brosna and west Limerick. The area offers a slightly different taste with a mountain to negotiate between Castleisland and Brosna. The landscape is a mix of forest and bog. Brosna is without doubt worth a look. It offers a glimpse of an old-fashioned Ireland, which is sadly leaving us. The village also offers one of the steepest main streets in Ireland. I decided to cycle straight through the village and check out the 3 counties curiosity. An interesting area that takes you from Kerry, to Cork and into Limerick inside 30 seconds! A local committee has put a nice bit of work into the area, with a well-kept gazebo, picnic area and walking trail. All set along side a picturesque part of the river Feale.
Take it from me. Don’t be shy about this part of Kerry. Get out there and discover it. You won’t be disappointed! Just incase you do need assistance then make a B line for Rathmore in late June and do the excellent Tour of Sliabh Luachra.