Gerry Murphy is a meteorologist and presents the weather forecast on television. A five and a half hour drive from Dublin and an hour and half from Tralee, is the starting point for Gerry’s walk. Caherciveen is a small but bustling town that sits in one of Kerry’s most scenic areas. Gerry knows this area well and lived here for six years. He is doing two walks over two days. The first starts off at Renard point just 3 kms outside Caherciveen. From here he goes by ferry to Knightstown on Valentia Island. Once on the Island Gerry will walk along the roads of Valentia ending his walk atop Bray Head. His walk is 15 kms in total.
Knightstown is on the southeast of the island and Gerry’s first stop is the heritage centre where he meets Pam Twentyman who points Gerry in the right direction and gives him advice on what to see and where to visit. The lighthouse on Valentia is synonymous with the island and was one of the last lighthouses to have a lighthouse keeper living there. Gerry talks to Paul O’Connell who gives guided tours of the lighthouse and knows its full history. He also meets Míchéal Lyne who is a local historian and has many stories associated with this part of the island particularly the landing of the first transatlantic cable.
Valentia is a picturesque island and Gerry’s walk takes him to the historic Bray Head. During the second World War locals arranged stones in the ground to spell out the word ‘Éire’ so that American or German bombers wouldn’t mistake Ireland as enemy territory.
Gerry’s second walk is in Caherdaniel in Derrynane which is a 45 minute drive from Caherciveen. Derrynane is the ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell, one of Ireland’s most historic figures. The walk takes Gerry to Derrynane House, through the magnificent tropical gardens, along the beach nature trail and around the mass loop to finish at Abbey Island. The house is full of O’Connell’s artefacts and personal and family belongings. Chris O’Neill of the Office of Public Works guides Gerry through the exquisite gardens and Vincent Hyland shows Gerry some of the local fascinating seaside wildlife.