In our travels we expected to find pubs, and shops selling sweaters and woolen caps, but handmade chocolate? It turns out the Irish are very much into it. We’d already learned about other manufacturers, but nothing prepared us for Lorge.
Award-winning chef Benoit Lorge’s chocolate factory and retail store is located in Bonane on the Glengariff road, about six miles from Kenmare. We stopped in for an afternoon treat. A few free samples and a shopping bag full of the most marvelous truffles (and a dozen other goodies) later, we knew we’d discovered the ultimate chocolate experience. If we are lucky enough to return, we’ll be signing up for one of chef’s chocolate-making workshops. What better use of our tourist time?
Properly fortified, we drove down the road just a few minutes to Molly Gallivan’s Cottage and Traditional Farm. Inside the 200-year-old cottage, the Tea Room and Barn Restaurant were not open (the season not officially on), but at the craft shop we were directed to view a brief film presentation that gave us background on Gallivan. A widow with seven children, she provided for herself and her brood by selling products from her farm: butter, eggs, honey, baked goods and woolens. Her home-brewed whiskey, poitin, known as Molly’s Mountain Dew, was her bestseller. Of course we had to taste–and buy–some.
Walking the farm we came across the ghostly remains of a family dwelling from the era of The Great Famine, as well as a Neolithic Stone Row that forms part of an ancient sun calendar. On the road in front of the cottage, an imposing figure of a Druid carved from the remains of a pine tree stands guard over time and history.
We had one more stop to make before the day was through. Bonane Heritage Park, home to more than 250 archaeological sites, is located where the Ring of Beara meets the Ring of Kerry. While Keith went in search of the Stone Circle (known locally as Judge and Jury because there are 13 stones), I learned about crannogs, or lake dwellings. Nice, but I was happy to be heading back to Waterfalls Farmhouse for the night.