17. Fenit Without and Within

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The day ended in Fenit, also given as 'Fenit Without' on the map. Fenit is at the western extremity of the northern shore of Tralee Bay. Fenit Within is to the north, almost an island, linked to Fenit by a curving bar of sand and dunes. Together the bar and island form the western shore of Barrow Harbour, leaving a small channel to the open sea near Tralee golf course.

The West End Bar was recommended to us at the post office. Indeed it seemed to be literally the only place to stay, so we did (B&B Eu. 35).

The West End, from the footbridge over the former railway.

In Bryan O'Keefe, son of the proprietors, the West End boasts an award-winning chef of international repute. There being no bar meal option, we were going to enjoy his fare that evening, and so set off on an appetite-raising walk over the sand bar to Fenit Without, locally referred to as Fenit Island. A number of lanes cross the island from the sea on the west to Barrow Harbour on the east, and we had intended following one of these to the castle we had seen and photographed earlier in the day. However Bryan cautioned us that the farmers on the island tended to have rather fierce dogs, and that it would be better to stick to the shore.

A friendly welcome to Fenit Island.

Or, 'Youse bastards stay off my land.' Similar notices were posted at the entrance to each of the lanes entering the island from the shore.

You can imagine the Minister of Agriculture talking to the Minister of Tourism: 'I know we have to have tourists Dermot, but just see you keep the buggers off our land.'

We walked along the strand on the west shore, between the sea and the sea-wall, until we could go no further without passing one of those notices.

And on the way back, when we came to the sand bar, cut through to the Barrow Harbour side of it, and followed a road back up to the post office.

The day ended with a pint or two in the busy bar of the West End, and then the best meal of the trip (by far) in the restaurant. On Mrs O'Keefe's advice we had reserved a table in the sought-after conservatory. The old railway walls across the road restrict the view a little, but it is a lovely place to eat as the sun sinks in Tralee Bay.

The lighthouse on Samphire Island (Little) with the hills of Dingle behind.

The view down the so-called metal bridge from Samphire Island to Fenit.
Fenit Marina is on the right.

They are going to erect a monument to St. Brendan the Navigator on the summit of this little island. We were told that the committee in charge of this had first thought of a statue some 60 feet high, but in the face of objections had settled on one about 20 feet. A man in Tralee said to me, 'They should have gone for the big one. It wouldn't have been out of place with the mountains all round, and look what a big statue has done for Rio.'

Remembrances of Fenit's railway age.

17. Fenit Without and Within

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