If your family is interested in history and folklore as well as adventure, where should you look to go on a family vacation? No further than Southwest Ireland! A Southwest Ireland family vacation is full of gorgeous countryside, quaint towns, dramatic coastline, and friendly people. There are plenty of opportunities to ride bikes, hike, and be active and also plenty of places to explore with deep ties to mythology and folklore.
The Slieve Mish Mountains
The Slieve Mish Mountains in Country Kerry are actually named, Sliabh Mish, and were named after Mish the Milesian Princess who was slain in the battle of Sliabh Mish. This was a great battle in prehistoric times between the early settlers. Caherconree a mountain peak in the Slieve Mish Mountains is home to a stone ringfort called Bóthar na gCloch (“road of the stones”) which is surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs and was the fort of Cú Roí mac Dáire, a magical warrior and master of disguise in Irish Mythology. Today, the mountain range is great to explore and ride through on horseback.
The Barbary Pirates
Barbary Pirates attacked the small fishing village of Baltimore in County Cork, in 1631 and kidnapped most of the villagers under the cover of darkness. A popular poem entitled The Sack of Baltimore, as well as books have been written about this terrible night. When visiting Baltimore you’ll learn more about the fascinating tale of what happened to this village.
Charles Fort is one of the largest military forts in Ireland and it is also said to be haunted by a tragic figure. The White Lady, as she is known, was the bride of a soldier who tragically died on their wedding day. When she learned of his death, she leapt to hers jumping off of the wall of the fort. She has been seen wandering not only the fort, but also the streets of nearby Kinsale. If you don’t runinto the White Lady in Kinsale, you’re sure to run into some up and coming restaurants on the culinary circuit! Kinsale is getting quiet the reputation of a food hub for travelers.
There have never been female Leprechauns! While modern holiday decorations show female leprechauns, in traditional Irish folk tales, there are none! Leprechauns are considered “tall fairies” and some people believe that these elusive little guys still exist. The last supposed sighting of a Leprechaun happened in 1989 and because of this the area where he was sighted is “now a protected area for flora, fauna, wild animals, and leprechauns.”
The shamrock, a well known symbol of Ireland, comes from the Irish Gaelic word Seamrog. This is a word that refers to the plant’s most noticeable feature, its three leaves.
Our family vacation through Southwest Ireland is a great way to experience this folklore and investigate the mythology! It is not only a fun, active family adventure but also a great opportunity for the whole family to learn about the history and culture of a magical country.