Puck Fair.

Puck Fair is one of Ireland’s oldest fairs. It takes place annually 10–12 August in Killorglin, County Kerry.

Held in Killorgan, Co Kerry each year, a wild mountain goat is crowned king of the town by the Queen of Puck, who is traditionally a young local schoolgirl. There is a coronation parade and King Puck rules the town until his dethronement on the festival’s final day.

The first day of Puck is known as “the gathering”. On this day the Puck goat is enthroned on a stand in the town square and the horse fair is held. The second day of Puck is known as the “Fair day”. On this day a general cattle fair is held. The third and last day of Puck is known as the “scattering” day and on this day the goat is removed from his stand and his reign as king Puck ends and he is returned to the wild Kerry

Travelling around Ireland in October, we missed the Puck Fair, but I loved the legend.

https://www.theringofkerry.com/puck-fair

https://www.newmarketholidays.co.uk/holidays/europe/ring-of-kerry-and-wonderful-western-ireland

Ring of Kerry. Western Ireland.

A Road trip of Road trips today. The stunning Ring of Kerry. Starting in Kenmare, this is a 110 mile circular route around the Iveragh Peninsular covering stunning views, charming towns, rugged forests, gushing waterfalls, all edged by the rolling, crashing waves of The Atlantic Ocean. It was a sublime journey, covering breathtaking land and seascapes. Key stages of the journey included the Coomakista Pass, Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Molls Gap, Skellig Micheal in the Atlantic, Waterville village and Cahersiveen.

‘And some time make the time to drive out west
… along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter…’

Seamus Heaney, Postscript.

It was a long day, but a memorable one. https://www.newmarketholidays.co.uk/holidays/europe/ring-of-kerry-and-wonderful-western-ireland

John Egan and Steve (Crusher) Casey.

The Irish love their sport and high up on the list are football and wrestling. On a whistle stop visit to Sneem in Co. Kerry there are two life size bronze statues of two Irish sporting legends, part of the Sneem culture trail.

John Egan 1952- 2012

By artist, Alan Hall from Valentia this statue is set in South Square , facing Sneem Sportsfield, where John gave many displays of his remarkable footballing skills and vision over many years.

Steve (Crusher) Casey 1908- 1987

Stephen Casey was an Irish sport rower and world champion professional wrestler. He was the second Irish wrestler, after Danno O’Mahoney, to become a world champion. He was World Heavyweight Champion for six years, while fighting in WWII. The statue was again the work of Valentia sculptor Alan Hall.

Sneem was a lovely little Irish village and the statues were a highlight.

Charlie Chaplin.

“You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down.”

Charlie Chaplin (1888- 1977)

A short stop in Waterville today. A small town on the Wild Atlantic Way, Western Ireland where Charlie Chaplin, English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the era of silent film, liked to holiday.

https://www.newmarketholidays.co.uk/holidays/europe/ring-of-kerry-and-wonderful-western-ireland

Clonakilty, Timoleague and Kinsale. Western Ireland.

Timoleague, Western Ireland.

Day one of my Western Irish tour started in Clonakilty, birthplace of Micheal Collins (1890-1922), Irish revolutionary, soldier and politician who was a leading figure in the early-20th century struggle for Irish independence.

Next stop was Timoleague, a small village where the ruins of a thirteenth century Franciscan abbey stands picturesquely at the waters edge.

Kinsale, a harbour town with a maze of narrow streets and an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants and shops was the next stop.

Kinsale, Western Ireland.

It was raining hard during my visit here, but it’s Western Ireland and it’s October… It took nothing away from the beauty of the location.

Last stop of the day was Charles Fort, just outside of Kinsale. A star-shaped military fortress that has stood firm for centuries. It was raining even harder by now, but the fort was totally worth getting drenched for.

Despite being partially ruined, you could imagine the soldiers and their families living in this fortress.

https://heritageireland.ie/places-to-visit/charles-fort-national-monument/

Charles Fort.

https://www.newmarketholidays.co.uk/holidays/europe/ring-of-kerry-and-wonderful-western-ireland

Jurassic Coast, Dorset.

A hazy Durdle Door, Dorset.

One of the most famous stone arches in the world. This spectacular natural doorway was formed over 10,000 years ago on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset from merged bays. Geologists suggest that the rock arch in the sea was formed as a result of softer rock eroding behind hard limestone, allowing the sea to pound through.

It’s a fairytale area- the place of myths and legends.

Somewhere to appreciate the coastline, walk for miles, or just enjoy the water…

Photography by Emily Dudley.

https://instagram.com/chaos_and_mayhem21?utm_medium=copy_link

Brownsea Island , Dorset.

Brownsea Island is the largest of the islands in Poole Harbour in the county of Dorset, England. The island is owned by the National Trust with the northern half managed by the Dorset Wildlife Trust.

I have this goal to travel to the islands around the UK and this has been on my list for a couple of years. It was well worth the wait, although COVID restrictions limited our time there. lots of woodland, coastland and wildlife. Amazing experience.

Cherry 🍒 Sussex Summer.

Cherry-ripe, ripe, ripe, I cry,
Full and fair ones; come, and buy:
If so be you ask me where
They do grow? I answer, there
Where my Julia’s lips do smile;–
There’s the land, or cherry-isle;
Whose plantations fully show
All the year where cherries grow.

Robert Herrick (1591-1674) English poet.

I know that summer has truely arrived when the cherries are for sale on the Sussex roadside. Grown in the neighbouring county of Kent, you will not come across a finer cherry 🍒

Winchelsea, East Sussex.

Today’s walk involved a mini road trip down to Winchelsea in East Sussex, about twenty miles up the coast from my home town in Eastbourne.

The ancient town of Winchelsea, about one and a half miles inland from Winchelsea Beach was once a busy harbour-part of the Cinque-Port alliance. The old town was destroyed by floods in the 13th century, and today the sea has receded some distance from the town.

Parking by the recreation ground we followed an adjacent path to the seafront, taking in quirky homes and proper English countryside. The geese flew over, as did lots of small bi-planes- we were close to Lid airport- and the cuckoo sang loud and long:

What do you do?

In April, I open my bill
In May, I sing night and day
In June, I change my tune
In July, far off I fly
In August, away
I must…

Sang to me as a child in the 1970s by my mother.

Lewes Racecourse.

Lewes racecourse, South Downs.

A gorgeous sunny walk up on Lewes racecourse on the South Downs in East Sussex on the first warm day in May.

Lewes Racecourse shut its doors for the final time in 1964, bringing an end to more than 200 years of history. However it is still an active training centre today and pedestrians and cyclists need to be mindful of racing horses.

The ‘pop up’ Paddock Bar was an unexpected treat and a real pleasure. A bar in a horse box with straw bales for seats. A pint of Sussex cider in the sunshine on the South Downs was a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Hire a mountain bike from Blackcap Bikes: https://www.blackcapbikes.co.uk/

Blackcap Mountain Bike tours and bike hire.

Check out the National Trust walking trail in the Racecourse area; A secluded gem with sunken bostals, a hidden woodland, views over the Weald and fascinating history: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blackcap/trails/a-walk-at-blackcap

Finally have a look at the The Old Racecourse Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/theoldracecourse/ to keep up to date with the area.

Check out also the Lewes Racecourse History Group’s videos of the racecourse on their YouTube channel:

The views were amazing and the warm weather and lambs made it feel like Spring had truly arrived. It is definitely a hidden gem and my new favourite place in East Sussex.