Various views of and from Knightstown, the main settlement on Valentia, an island which has a total population of 650 people and 200 cars and measures approximately 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) long by almost 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) wide.It is one of Europe’s westernmost inhabited locations. More information on the Valentia Island website. The island has two excellent pubs - The Royal Hotel and Bostons – where we sampled the local Guinness and Black Label Bushmills, played pool and communed with the locals. On our first night, there was a lock-in. Standing outside the bar, under the full-moon, we turned around and there was a large hare sitting in the middle of the road.
The sculptor and painter Alan Ryan Hall in the front room of his beautiful house in Kingstown, where we talked about Davy Graham and Rodin and shared coffee with a dash of the hard stuff to keep the conversation flowing.
We hired a car for the weekend and drove round the island and vicinities. Above is the sign pointing to the Tetrapod trackway (which is 85m years old), a small black lizard in the grass and a delightful vernacular house, one of a very few on the island.
This house was made famous by a Guiness ad which described it as the remotest pub in Britain. Painted on the side is ‘O’Sheas. Next pint, New York. In fact its a private house and the whole thing was mocked up for the advert.
We walked over the peat bogs where there were beautiful wild flowers, a wee green beetle and great swathes of bog cotton, one strand of which I picked and preserved in my note book. The cliffs were magnificent, the wild sea various shades of blue and turquoise. The wind filled our lungs with fresh air from the Atlantic.
The following day we attempted to drive around the mainland but got lost in the mist and retreated to The Bridge in Portmagee to eat and drink and listen to some great Irish music.