We set off from Kenmare to revisit a little restaurant we had found by accident once before. It was about twenty-five miles from our self-catering cottage. Were we crazy to be driving all that way for tea and scones? If my memory proved correct it was well worth the trouble.
The drive itself is lovely. For most of the journey it hugs the shore of Kenmare Bay with views beyond the water to the hazy blue mountains on the Ring of Kerry. It is very rural as we head southwest along the north shore of the Beara Peninsula. Tour buses cannot traverse the unspoiled Ring of Beara. The roads are simply not able to accept the behemoths. Instead we leave tourism and traffic behind and have a lazy drive into the unspoiled Irish countryside.
The Caha Mountains get closer as we approach Lauragh. Then we enter a patch of woods with signposts to the various sightseeing attractions on the lonely peninsula. Derreen Gardens are wonderful wild gardens and perfect for those who enjoy hiking through woodland trails and along the bay. Healy Pass is barren and spectacular, its snaking road cutting through the peninsula from County Kerry to County Cork. But we ignore them and follow the signpost for Josie’s.
The road gets smaller with grass growing in the middle and thick hedgerows on either side. If another car comes the opposite way we will have to pull over so we can both pass. But no cars come today. The mountains become higher as we drive deep into a hidden glen. It seems we have been driving for many miles on that little road, when suddenly we arrive at a long, low white building.
Josie’s is not fancy. We take a seat at a dark wood table and peruse the menu. But we know what we want without looking. My husband and I order a pot of tea for two and each get a scone. While we wait we take in the spectacular view through the huge picture windows. Glenmore Lake mirroring the rugged mountains that cup the secret valley. Definitely worth some photos or just a Zen moment.
A big pot of steaming tea arrives. We each get a plate with a scone dusted with powdered sugar. On the side are butter, strawberry jam and lightly whipped cream. In England they call it cream tea and it is usually clotted cream instead of whipped. But clotted cream is hard to get in Ireland. I pour the tea and add milk to mine, sugar and milk to my husband’s. Then we dig into the scone adding the layers in the proper order. First the butter, then jam topped with cream.
Absolutely delicious! Josie’s scones are homemade – light, flaky and fluffy. The perfect scone in the perfect setting. We savor each bite of scone and sip of tea. We watch clouds float by making shadows on the mountains and lake. We are in Ireland. We are at Josie’s. It doesn’t get any better than this.
© 2009 Michele Erdvig
“Ireland Travel Expert”
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