There are little jewel-like places that dot the highways and by-ways of the Ring of Beara. Each one has something special to offer, it’s just knowing where to look.
Lehanmore, Loughane More, An Lochán Mór, County Cork, Ireland….it’s just a tiny place you’ll pass through on the way to visit Dursey Island. Don’t blink, you just might miss it! Better yet, keep your eyes open, stop when you see it, park your car/bike and for a moment or two breathe in the salty sea air and the view.
The crossroads in Lehanmore is graced with a Marian Shrine, finely carved and decorated with scallop shells. Pebbles outline the dates 1170 and 1783. I’ve been ever curious about the significance of the numbers; as soon as I find out I will post the information for you.
Right across the street from the Marian shrine is a sloping farmer’s field that overlooks the sea. Let your gaze drift across the ancient stone walls and your eyes will spot a remarkable sight. When the sun shines just the right way, you will be able to clearly see the remains of an ancient ring fort. Apparently there is a mysterious tunnel in the fort that leads to the sea. I’ve not yet explored it myself (hopefully soon, with the farmer’s permission) but I expect the tunnel is a souterrain, an underground tunnel not only used for provisions, but for quick escape from approaching invaders!
If you venture off the main road and drive towards the sea, you will be greeted by inspiring views of cliffs and ocean. There are so many lovely places here on the Beara Peninsula, and because the area is relatively small, you can spend your time enjoying your adventure without a hectic pace.
The Irish landscape contains many secrets that are overlooked by the average passerby. What appears to be just a mound of gorse fenced off in a tiny farmer’s field is actually a sacred place. It is a cillinigh or cillin (killeen), a children’s graveyard. Unbaptized babies and children were buried in liminal places such as existing burial mounds, beside or under boundary stone walls, cross roads , and the north side of cemeteries. I will be writing more about these little places scattered across the landscape in some upcoming posts.
When it’s time to leave lovely Lehanmore, don’t forget to stop in at the post office and send a “Wish You Were Here” postcard (or two) to your friends and family. The ever vigilant postmaster always has an interesting story to share.
Would you like to visit? Here’s how to find Lehanmore: