CASTLEMAINE (Caisleàn na Maigne – Castle on the River Maine) KEEL and BOOLTEENS (Na Buailtìnì – Forge).
Experience the rural idyll that is the Keel, Boolteens and Castlemaine area with its backdrop of the Slieve Mish Mountain Range, a vista of the imposing McGillycuddy Reeks, location of Ireland’s highest peak Carrantuohill, and bordered on its southern edge by the River Maine and Castlemaine Harbour. Stunning scenery abounds, with mountain passes such as the Short-Mountain-Road and Bòthar-Na-gCloch offering elevated views over the entire area. Here lies a treasure trove of walking routes from mountain tracks and leafy country lanes to marked forest loops. For the more energetic, take a hike up Caherconree Mountain, on top of which lies one of the rare examples of an inland promontory fort, affording spectacular views of mountains, hills, valleys and seas.
Enjoy salmon and trout fishing on the River Maine, observe the mussel farming in Castlemaine Harbour or discover the enchantment of The Quay at Lachtacalla with its panoramic views of mountains, sea and farmlands. Here the ever-changing hues on the heather and fern clad mountains and the plaintive call of seabirds or the bleating of sheep; serve to envelop you with its irresistible charm.
Castlemaine is famed in song as the birth place of the ‘Wild Colonial Boy’ – Jack Duggan, the infamous Australian outlaw. The village itself developed at a bridging point where a Castle traversed the River Maine (the only such example in the country). Visit the historic Mass Rock at Killoclohane Wood, scene of the martyrdom of Fr. Thaddeus Moriarty or enjoy a looped forest walk. View the Ogham Stones at Ardcanaught or simply relax and enjoy a chat with the friendly locals. Dine with a difference at the bohemian style Phoenix Vegetarian Restaurant in Keel, where you can learn belly dancing and salsa dancing. Try your hand at quilting or felting workshops at the Sewing Shed in Keel - a craft enthusiasts dream!
The area has many warm and welcoming pubs where locals will entertain you with song and story. Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Farmhouses and Self-Catering accommodation are here for you to reside among the natives and experience rural Irish life first hand.
This is the gateway to the Dingle Peninsula and within easy reach of the Ring of Kerry – a wonderful touring base for the entire county.