Reasons to love Ireland – Ventry, Co. Kerry

Of course Kerry would be close to my heart and I visit lovely Dingle quite often so I definatley think that Ventry should be included in my reasons to love Ireland. It is a typical old rural Ireland Village – about 4 miles long with the church on one side and the school on the other side but it is the scenery in between that really takes your breath away. The name comes from the Irish Ceann Trá or ‘Beach Head’ which is from the long sandy beach area but further back along the road brings you to stunning Dunbeg fort, behive forts, the Famine Cottage and of course Páidí Ó Sé’s pub which is located across the road from the church. I have vivid memories of the shop across from Páidí’s in the aftermath of GAA games when I was young. The parents would congragate in the pub and we battled with our abismal Irish to try to buy sweets from the Irish speaking shop owners. They didn’t give us an inch – us non native speakers from the wilds of the north of the Kerry! On school tours we loved Dunbeg fort – enchanted by the underground passageways and the possibilities they held – though secretly scared out of our wits about them! There is so much to see on this short drive through Ventry and then so much more on the rest of the Dingle Penninsula that it would be a shame to miss out if a trip to Kerry is on the...

The Famine Cottage, Ventry, Co. Kerry

  Famine Cottage, Ventry, Dingle, Co. Kerry   On my recent rambles around Dingle I came across The Famine Cottage in Ventry.  After paying the 3 euro entrance fee to the roguish and chatty landowner – Gabriel we set off up the hill to see what it was about.  Set on the edge of the Atlantic ocean almost directly across the road from Dunbeg Fort, the cottage faces the wilds and backs into the hill.  Built in the 1840’s by the Earl of Cork, the original cottage was constructed using mud and stone and consisted of two rooms and a loft.  It was extended to include a further bedroom beyond the hearth by the Earl who also installed a slate roof on the property – one of the first slate roofs to be installed in the area.  The original thatch has since been reinstated giving the cottage back its rustic charm.  The main door brings you into the living area or hearth, the floor here is of rough stone which would have been standard in most rocky, coastal areas.  The old solid wood table is furnished with odd delph, pots and an old box iron.  A full metal crane hangs in the hearth to suspend the skillets and pots for cooking.  Two sugán chairs take pride of place at either side of the hearth and a bench runs the length of the rear wall.  The ubiquitous dresser also proudly displays the inhabitants’ finery and of course no traditional Irish kitchen would be complete without ‘gods picture’, religious relics and devotions were deeply ingrained in the lives of those who...