It's been a few days, but you can imagine how busy one can be, especially when the night ends with a perfectly poured glass of Guinness in an Irish pub. Killarney, I can't thank you enough for some of the best pub experiences I've had thus far.
Can't exactly pass that up to spend time on my phone!
Anyhow, we left Killarney yesterday and started the day with a foreshadowing play of the song "Ring of Fire." Except instead of the Ring of Fire, we would be exploring the Ring of Kerry.
A scenic and circular drive around the Iveragh Peninsula, it's a 112 mile route that takes you up winding narrow roads through luscious green country and ending with spectacular views of the coast.
One of the best ways to see western Ireland for sure!
At the end of our long day sliding from left to right in the car as it went bumbling down, we arrived in the county of Tralee, where we would be staying for the night.
But it wasn't at any ordinary B&B. See, one of the requests I had for the trip was to stay in a haunted castle; and tonight, that's precisely where we stayed.
According to the history, it all started in 1590, when Thomas Blennerhassett left his home in England and leased Ballyseede Castle from a gentlemen for six pounds a year and one red rose to be rendered yearly at the feast of St John the Baptist, mid-Summer's day.
This was after the beheading of the original owner, Gerlald, the 16th Earl of Desmond, whose family was known for not swearing allegiance to the crown. His head was later showcased in a cage on London Bridge. It was here that it was later given on lease to the Blannerhassett family.
Eventually, the castle fell into ruin and it was later built at a new location at Elmgrove, present day Ballyseede Castle.
Built in 1721 by William Blennerhasset, son of Thomas, the castle remains a truly magnificent estate. William's son, Arthur, took over the estate when his father passed and married a woman named Nestor. Their second daughter, Hilda, was the last of the Blennerhassett's of Ballyseede and she passed in 1965. It is said that she can be seen walking the corridors carrying a red rose, the symbol of the family's lineage.
But that's not all!
During the 1920's, there was an IRA order to kill a Free State army Lieut. Paddy "Pats" O'Connor. He, along with others, were lured to a mine and killed.
In retaliation, the Free State took nine IRA prisoners and led them to a mines barricade, where it detonated. At the castle gates, the bodies were then machine gunned to ensure all were dead.
What a place to stay, am I right? Naturally, Kate and I spent the first hour exploring the beautiful grounds, ending with tea in the parlor and later relocating to the splendid bar.
The real reason I came to this haunted castle was for the boos.
We enjoyed a fantastic meal in Hilda's old room and then retired for the evening in the Paddy Clancy room, hoping, just hoping, to catch a glimpse of a woman with a red rose....
Another sunny start to our day! Ring of Kerry, here we come...
Kate would find the goat! She's really baaaaaaaad to the bone for animals!
Random castle ruins, a casual sight on every corner here in Ireland.
One of my favorite stops on the drive was at "Ladies View." Fun fact: it was named as such because long ago, when Queen Victoria visited, she found the views so stunning that she called her ladies up to see the landscape. And thus we have Ladies View...
And as the sun went down, we pulled into the gates leading towards the haunting Ballyseede Castle...
A most majestic entrance!
And it was here that Kate and I stopped and sat for afternoon tea.
Just check out that bar!
Amaretto and soda for the lady...
A colorful feast for some colorful people...
I think I have a fancy for my room called Paddy Clancy...
And so to bed...