OFF the beaten track. Away from it all. The hey-day of that sort — possibly the most romantic
— sort of travel was, perhaps,
in the times when Hilaire BeUoc was rediscovering on foot a Europe which literally millions of tourists, dependent on touring coaches and trains, never saw. Delloc took his rucksack for company and rambled through wooded valleys and along mountain paths discovering towns and villages which had known their great moments in the past, places in which he could recollect a world and a way of life which, even then, were rapidly disappearing.
Stock up your mind
THE desire to get off the beaten track. to see behind the façades. implies a more than average curiosity and a certain independence of spirit. There is another requirement, too, if one is to enjoy and benefit from such meanderings as Belloc did; one must stock one's mind in advance. Off the track travel can then become a game of first reading about and feeling oneself into the landscapes, towns. local customs
and history and then trying to reconcile what one discovers with what one has learned. Ireland is fortunate in that it has to a considerable extent forms of commercialisation the grosser and industrialise
tiers It is a country which still can offer the holdaymaker who wants to escape from it all a wealth of possibilities.
Peace and tranquillity
\\THAI is there to discover in Ireland? n lag Every town. every village, has its story and its secrets. The Irish past reveals itself as one looks at the Bronze Age burial mounds at range and Dowth; as one strolls through the cloisters of century Jerpoint Abbey,
bbey, near Thomastown, in County Kil
century Jerpoint Abbey,
near Thomastown, in County Kil
By MICHAEL GORMAN
kenny, or as one pauses to meditate in Glendalough's roofless cathedral.
There is something in the Irish air, in that atmosphere of peace and tranquillity which makes it easy to see past the lichen covered stones to the men who put them there. Or perhaps your idea of an offthe-track holiday is to find some tiny fishing village with a good beach nearby. a few days of blazing sunshine, with, perhaps a good golf course thrown in. Well, June is the best month for sunshine, Ireland has some of the finest golf courses in the world and is literally ringed with fine beaches. Think of Brines Bay on the east coast or Rossnowlagh strand in the north west . . . the silence only broken by the cries of seabirds and the roar of the Atlantic surf.
Beaches backed by sand dunes, long and clean, crescents of gold and silver sand.
Cross of Moone
HERE arc a few more ug sgestions which you might like to keep in mind when planning your 1962 holiday in Ireland.
THE CROSS OF MOONE: Visited by very few tourists this is one of the finest of the carved
A wild lonely bay In Co. Mayo. Scripture crosses which are a feature of the Irish midlands. Cut in granite and probably over a thousands years old, the 17+ foot Mo contains nne c Cross of onta fifty-one sculptured panels of Scriptural scenes. The carvings are notable for their originality and charm and a certain primitive simplicity mplicity in
and strength. Situated Kildare some seven miles from Athy and 36 miles from Dublin. Visit by car or by bus.
WESTPORT HOUSE: Opened to the public for the first time in 1961. The home of the 10th Marqusiss of Sligo. Started in 1730 by the famous German architect. Richard Cassels, it was completed by James Wyatt, one of the greatest of the eighteenth century English architects, who also laid out the nearby town of Westport. Wyatt's signed drawings for pelts of the interior of the house are on view and one can compare the completed work with them. Much of the plasterwerk is outstanding. Incidentally the second Marquess who was a friend both of George IV and of Byron spent four months in an English jail for bribing British seamen in time of war to bring his ship, full of antiquities, from Greece to Westport.
Situated in County Mayo one mile from Westport town. Open each day from 2 to 6 p.m. from June to the end of September. Visit by car, train or bus.
The Hag's Mountain
LOUGHCREW CAIRNS: The Loughcrew Hills have three peaks, the highest of which is called Sliabh na Caillighe — the Hag's Mountain. Here may be seen grouped together what have been described as the most extraordinary collection of archaic monuments to be found in Britain or Ireland. There are some thirty chambered cairns dating from the Broze Age spread over the three peaks, some being up to 180 feet in diameter, The funeral cairns contain many intricately decorated stones. Situated three miles from the town of Oldcastle, County Meath, and some 65 miles from Dublin. Visit by car or by bus (to Oldcastle only).
The most beautiful
THE MARINO: The Casino, designed by the important eighteenth century architect Sir William Chambers for his friend
Lord Charimont, is considered by one of most beautiful authoritative critics to be
the ful buildings of its kind anywhere. Visit by bus or car. Two miles only from Dublin city centre.
Out in the sea
QKELLIG MICHAEL: Skellig Michael is an Irish equivalent to Mont St. Michael in Normandy and St. Michael's Mount off the Cornish coast. Nine miles out in the Atlantic from Valentia the island rises precipitously from the sea to a height of over 700 feet. A flight of steps runs up the face of the cliff to the ruins of a settlement built by early Christian monks on a tiny plateau 540 feet above the sea. There are six beehive cells, two oratories, several ancient c‘me teries with rude stone crosses and two wells. The more recent church of Saint Michael was visited by crowds of pilgrims who came here
doing penance. Having visited the ruins they made the difficult and er
dangous ascent of the highest point on the island. Visit by car and boat from Ballinskelligs on the mainland or Valentia Island.
'A savage land'
THE BURREN: About 50 square miles of bare limestone hills in County Clare of which one of Cromwell's officers said: "A savage land, yielding neither water enough to drown a man, nor wood enough to burn a man, nor soil enough to bury a man." For the botanist. however, the apparently barren Burren is a place of delight, many rare and some spectacular plants being found.
Even the non-botanist cannot but be impressed by the swirling blue masses of Gentian, the brilliant red of the Bloody Cranesbill, the creamy white splashes of Dryas.
Visit by bus to Lisdoonvarna or by car, About 23 miles from caves Ennis. The cas of the Burren
a to are delight the spelaeologist, The majority of the caves are active stream passages, and Pollnagollum is the longest cave system in Ireland.