Lough Acoose to Glenbeigh
It’s an horrendous night at Lough Acoose. A storm rages. Rain and sleet hammer at my windows and roof. Thunder crashes on Carrauntoohil. Sleep comes fitfully.
By morning, things calm down and the day miraculously changes to sunshine and clouds. A lot of rain has fallen in the night and my host, Mary, advises that part of my route will be flooded and recommends a detour by road. I am in two minds but take her advice and she is right. Water floods across the road along the Lough, falls from the ditches1 and flows down the hillsides. When I arrive at the Caraghbeg river it has broken its banks: angry, brown, foaming waves surging over the rocks. At Blackstone Bridge, the water is nearly to the top of the arches. It’s a dramatic sight.
The road diversion is hard on my feet but passes through beautiful wooded lanes and open bogland. It also speeds my progress and by the time I begin the steady climb towards the track over another ‘Windy Gap’ I have completed over half of today’s distance by 11:30.
I rest on a bench at the start of the track. An Australian couple arrive and share the bench and some chat but then leave on another route towards Glenbeigh, leaving me to enjoy the sunshine on my own. It’s just me, the sheep, a robin and a wren.
The climb to the pass is easy enough and for once I have time to amble along enjoying the views.
And what views! Back across the valley the Reeks dominate the horizon, thin cloud drifting over Carrauntoohil. As I summit the pass, the north side of the Iveragh comes into sight: the vast sweep of Dingle Bay Bay, blue and sparkling; the sandy spit of Rosbehy glistening in the sun; Inch Strand and Castlemaine harbour beyond.
My phone rings: a call from son Will. I sit on a bench and enjoy the chat and the panorama.
Irish weather is ever fickle and suddenly a shower sweeps down from the hills. It has a surprise to deliver: icy cold, skin-stinging hailstones that bounce off the track and me. I get my coat on just in time.
Down into Glenbeigh, I have time to look around the ‘castle’ which was actually a very elaborate folly built by an English peer, now in ruins and home to a horse, (I’m sure there’s some irony to be found there?).2
Glenbeigh is a linear village on the busy N70 road. I settle into Village House B&B and eat at The Towers Bar & Hotel, named after the castle. It’s a good place to sketch while I wait for the meal to arrive.
This was an easy route due to the detour although there was little too much road walking. Mary at Lough Acoose told me “After Windy gap you have done the hard parts of the Kerry Way”. I felt a little disappointed because it’s been wonderful so far and I don’t want it to end.
About the route
Easy road walking due to the diversion. A gentle climb over Windy Gap. Track and road down into Glenbeigh. There is an alternative ‘scenic route’ into Glenbeigh around the eastern side of Seefin but it ends along the busy N20 road.
- I tend to think of a ‘ditch’ as a channel but here it means a bank. My ‘ditch’ is called a drain.
- Here’s what it looked like.