After an amazing hike in Gleninchaquin Park, we went for a scenic drive to rest our legs while still exploring Ireland on our family adventure!
Just across the Kenmare suspension bridge is the Sheen Valley. The heart of the valley is a small town called Bonane. We decided to make for it and see what was there. The drive, of course, was magnificent!
Along the way to Bonane we happened to stumble on a chocolate factory and shop! Benoit Lorge is an award winning chocolatier from Lorraine France who traveled the world making delicious treats before settling in Ireland. His shop is Lorge Chocolatier Handmade Chocolates on the Glengarriff Road. We had to stop in to sample his creations (I never turn down good chocolate.). We were not disappointed. His chocolates were exceptional! If you are in the area, stop by his place for sure.
Now that we were rewarded for our hike, we continued up the Sheen Valley. The next unexpected stop was the Bonane Heritage Park. This award winning park is an archeological treasure chest that was discovered only ten years ago. It showcases real archeological sites from the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages. It provides an incredible window into Ireland’s ancient past. As you stroll along the Druid Walk, you will see stone forts, astronomical sites, a famine house, and stone circles, all of which you can actually touch and learn about. We had a nice picnic lunch amid the ruins overlooking the valley.
We left the park and kept driving deeper into the valley. The road starts to climb steeply, but the views get better and better. Almost at the top, where the road passes over the Caha Mountains, is another surprise worth stopping for, Molly Gallivans. The legendary Molly apparently was, among other things, a bootlegger. She made illegal whiskey which she sold to locals and passerby’s to supplement her income. Today, her cottage and farm is open to tour so you can see what life was like in rural Ireland 200 years ago.
As usual, Elijah made friends with all of the farm animals. The enormous pig especially latched onto him (probably because he had carrots and bread). Even Mish found a friend. Once she fed him carrots he followed her around like a puppy, until he could not go anymore and brayed loudly in protest.
We went up and over the Caha Mountains and leisurely made our way back to Kenmare. The Sheen Valley is an amazing place to explore! There is a something for everyone. Mish got stone circles, Elijah got animals, and I got chocolate!