We spent today exploring a wide variety of places not far from where we are staying in the south west corner of Ireland. We started out exploring by visiting two Stone forts Cahergal and Kilovarnoge. They were built more than a thousand years ago. Nearby we stopped at the ruins of Ballycarbery Castle.
Next we went to Valentia Island. That’s the island we could see from the bar we ate at last night. Before we left this morning I downloaded a guide to the island so we followed that.
First we stopped at the visitor center for the Skellig Islands. The Islands are a UNESCO world heritage site. One of the rocky island, Skellig Michael was the site of a monastery. During the Dark Ages the monks on Skellig Michael helped preserve literacy and sacred texts. Hikers can take a boat to the island and hike 600 vertical feet up to the monastic ruins. Based on the video we saw in the visitor center it looks like a very challenging boat ride and hike. Scenes from Star Wars VII were filmed on the Skellig Islands.
After the visitor center we stopped at an old Protestant cemetery.
Then a bit farther down the road we checked out the lighthouse.
To add something totally different to our day our next stop was to see rock footprints that are the oldest record of a vertebrate walking on land. According to the sign at the sight that was 385 million years ago!
Just down the road we stopped to see the slate quarry where the slate for the English Houses of Parliament and the Paris Opera house came from. It’s a religious shrine now.
Finally the highlight of the day was hiking the Bray Head Loop trail. From the top of the cliff we could see the Skellig Islands in the distance.
We are dinner at a bar in town. We had lamb shank and beef stew. They were both slow cooked in Guinness beer.