Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Adventure Continues

The Adventure Continues…
By Christie O’Toole
Well, the month of June has been a very busy one for us interns!  On the first weekend in June myself and Esmee had the day off and decided there would be no better way to spend it than on a hike we had been hoping to do for a while.  During a chat in the tourist office next to Sea Synergy on one of our first days in Waterville, we had been told about a beautiful hike around Lough Currane which was supposed to offer excellent views of the lake and surrounding countryside….we were not disappointed!  We had an early lunch and set off from our house at 12:30pm to begin our hike.
After attempting a few wrong paths we found the road we were looking for and began our walk along the lakeside.  Lough Currane is absolutely beautiful, surrounded by hills and separated from the sea by a thin spit of land where Waterville sits.  Our 25km hike took us on small country roads, logging paths through the woods, joining part of the Kerry Way and following sheep trails through the grassy hills and mountains where we were afforded spectacular views of this gorgeous part of Kerry.  As we walked we had a great time chatting but also enjoyed the chirping birds, gurgling streams and baas of a few disgruntled sheep.  We had the wilderness to ourselves and only met a few people towards the end of our hike, it was very peaceful!  We were lucky with the weather and the sun shone on us all day but, in true Irish style, the heavens opened and thoroughly drenched us in the final 10 minute stretch back to the house leaving us dripping.  Nonetheless we were happy, excited by our day and delighted to have seen more of the beautiful area we’re living in.  We made some homemade pizza, put our feet up and watched a well-earned movie with Cian and Sinead when they returned from their day at Sea Synergy.
We’re lucky to be living in a place as beautiful as the west coast of Ireland and to have had weather that is allowing us to get out in nature as much as possible.  In mid-June Cian, Esmee and I did a loop walk around Sneem, again getting to enjoy walking through the woods, hiking up hills, a quick picnic by the roadside and only a few scattered showers.  We did, however, have an ulterior motive for choosing Sneem as the location for our hike….we had heard about Strawberryfields Pancake Cottage and felt we HAD to make a trip to try their pancakes.  Delicious chocolatey pancakes with marshmallows and fresh strawberries was exactly what was needed to refuel following our hike before we headed off to do some more exploring, this time in search of Coral Beach, one of 2 beaches in Ireland made of maerl, a corraline red algae.  Finding the beach was an adventure in itself as we wound our way down tiny roads, walked numerous trails and let out our inner mountain goat to scramble over hills and climb rocky outcrops but we made it!  It was beautiful, even more so after the fun we had getting there and a lovely place to sit and enjoy the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks.
Helen and Heather, our new interns, arrived in time for the next escapade; the Summer Solstice Walk from Caherdaniel to Waterville.  51 of us in total took part in the walk and, though we had figured it would be beautiful, we were still blown away by the scenery as we walked in Daniel O’Connell’s footsteps.  Our excellent guides filled us in on the history the places we passed along the way and we were treated to some beautiful traditional singing at the halfway point. It was an evening to remember and a great opportunity for Cian and I to get to know Helen and Heather as we walked.  As sad as it was to say goodbye to Esmee and Sinead who have become our good friends, we can tell that we’ll make a great team this summer!

Finally, our most recent excursion involved a trip to Loher Fort for Heather and I.  The drive to the fort is very picturesque and the fort itself is really lovely, a sight to behold.  I always love looking at the skill of the builders of the past and wonder how they managed to construct something that would be admired hundreds of years in the future.
So, my first 6 weeks in Waterville have been busy and very exciting!  Outside of exploring my surroundings I’ve been travelling to schools around Kerry to do Seashore Safaris with the kids, carrying out seal surveys, making lesson plans for upcoming camps and so much more….the summer is going brilliantly, I can’t wait for what’s in store next!

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