first day on the trail brought us lots to see and lots to photograph. the path follows a towpath out of Tralee and into the village of Blennerville, whose claim to fame is a functioning windmill that also serves as point of tourist interest, thanks to the Tralee Urban Council, who procured it in 1981.
after passing through Blennerville — and the last shop (for procuring useful goods such as sports drink, chocolate, or peanuts) we saw for several days — we headed up onto the shoulder of the Slieve Mish Mountains. one of the peaks we passed, Caherconree, is named for a stone ring fort found two-thirds up the peak and overlooking the “road of stones.” myth claims the Cú Roí mac Dáire, a one-time king in Muenster rumored to possess magical powers, was able to raise the stones of the for up at night and spin it around so that enemies could not find the entrance. in another myth, a woman held captive in the fort by Cú Roí signaled her rescuer by pouring milk into a stream. that stream that originates near the ring fort is now known as the Finglas, a name derived from a word meaning “the white stream.”
the day stayed cloudy enough to be pleasant without a hint of rain (as it remained throughout the entire hike). the guide pages upon which we relied routinely cautioned how mucky various parts of the track could become given a bit of rain, and it was easy to identify those sections and give thanks that we hadn’t faced that challenge. we saw an assortment of all the livestock we’d see elsewhere along the hike — cows, sheep, horses — though some of the terrain was restricted from grazing. at one point we encountered a herd of brown and black cows grazing directly on top of a crossroads through which we were directed to proceed. we opted to tramp off over the boggy ground rather than get too close to an unknown herd of mothers and their calves. once past the mucky bit we had our first encounter with the biting flies and humid closeness of hedgerows we’d come to know so well. then down over the Finglas river and up into Camp for a much anticipated sit.