Milltown, County Kerry
The next leg of our trip was a cross-country drive over to Milltown/Killarney area to see more of Brian’s family & explore the Irish countryside. This part of our trip proved to give us our most breathtaking views of Ireland!
This is what ALL the road signs in Ireland look like… written in Gaelic and English, and every 50 feet (maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but not by much…) we had to go through these crazy “roundabouts”… They were everywhere, and sometimes VERY confusing! It definitely tested my navigation skills, but I definitely had it down by the end of the trip!
The speed limit on these narrow, winding country roads was INSANELY fast, and we came nowhere NEAR to reaching the 62mph that was allowed…
Every drive we took had beautiful views, and A LOT of roaming livestock!
Quite a few farming vehicles and products could be found traveling the winding roads with us!
There were so many quaint towns along the way with wonderful little shops & bakeries, like this one, where we stopped to get éclairs and scones for lunch!
Surprisingly, we found our way to Milltown quite easily, and enjoyed the ride along the way (even if it was in the high 70s, which is apparently uncharacteristic of Ireland in the summer, and we had no air conditioning in the car)!
Our first stop was the main street in Milltown, where Brian’s great-grandfather, Jack Lombard, and his parents, Samuel Lombard & Hanorah Larkin grew up. Samuel Lombard’s family owned a hotel & shop across the street from Hanorah Larkin’s family’s bakery & pub. Both places are still there & operating, and Larkin’s pub, bakery & B&B are still owned by family today! When Brian did all of his family tree research, he was put in touch with James McCarthy, whose family owns Larkin’s today, and we were able to spend a few days getting to know him & the people in town better (who it seems Brian is ALL related to… everywhere we went we were either introduced to a new “cousin” or told wonderful stories about Brian’s relatives, Nora, Nellie & Kitty Lombard)! We even stayed in the B&B above the pub for two nights. Thank you James for the accommodations & all your time spent showing us around!
The view out our window became very familiar… We were definitely in farming country!
We enjoyed breakfast in the B&B each morning, and a great dinner and drinks in the pub at night!
James took us to the cemetery where Samuel and Kathleen Lombard were buried. It was the most beautiful & peaceful site, and we were happy to have been able to see it. Thank you James!
We were even able to walk by the house where Nora, Nellie & Kitty Lombard (Jack’s sisters) lived just down the street from the hotel, shop & pub!
The Lombard’s hotel & shop was sold to the Cosgrove family in 1974, but it is still running as a pub, and still has a lot of the original furniture from the Lombard family upstairs. We were very fortunate that Brian has also been in contact with the woman who owns the bar, and she let us have a look inside where the Lombard family used to live & run their business!
We even were able to see the two paintings by Kitty Lombard that still hang in the old dining room…
The old dining room downstairs still had the original velvet embossed wallpaper on the walls!
And it was a treat to see the Lombard’s old dining room table still set up!
After a look around town, James took us for a hike one night to an old sacred burial ground, and we even found a rare patch of authentic Irish shamrocks! We had no idea they were as scarce as they are!
On our drive home from our hike, we were able to see some incredible clouds and some beautiful views! That night we had a few drinks in the pub and watched a game of championship darts on TV with the locals, which is apparently very big in Ireland… who knew???? It was a great day to end the day!