Ireland – Wednesday – The Ring of Kerry

Greetings!

If you’ve missed any of our days in Ireland, you can find them all here:

Ireland 2016 – Part 1

Ireland 2016 – Sunday – Losing a Night, Gaining an Experience

Ireland – Monday – Castles, Grocery Stores, and Road Sheep (Part 1)

Ireland – Monday – Abbeys, Picnics, and Pubs (Part 2)

Ireland – Tuesday – Galway to Limerick to Killarney

In my Tuesday post, I mentioned our wonderful Airbnb host, Noreen, who doled out several helpful tidbits about the area. Perhaps the most useful hint of all was this-

THE RING OF KERRY TAKES AN ENTIRE DAY.

My original thought was that we would do another nearby drive, Slea Head, in the morning, then Ring of Kerry in the afternoon. Noreen quickly shut that thought down, and I’m so thankful she did! Not only should you spend an entire day on the Ring of Kerry, but I would advise, given the time, you spend two days. Heck, venture as long as you’d like; there’s plenty to do there!

If there’s anything I regret about our trip, it would be that we sometimes felt rushed to get on to the next thing. I think that’s completely natural when you’re somewhere new with so many things to do and see, and I definitely don’t think we gave in to that urge as much as we could have. This experience taught me that I DO want to return and with more than a week to explore next time! (Good luck with that, right?!)

A tip I read during research:

If you see people pulling over on the side of the road to sightsee,  you probably should too. They are usually looking at something interesting.

This advice was spot on, and we had the opportunity to follow said advice which lead us to the first stop of our trip.

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Amazing views. A roadside mini flea market. A dog on a donkey. What more could you ask for and how much better can it get?

Then we happened upon this…

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Absolutely breathtaking.

We continued on and came upon a higher spot where we could look back and see this area.

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Though I have a hard time remembering names of places, it is quite common that I can look at a map and figure out where we were. I’ve always loved maps of all shapes, colors, and varieties and spend massive amounts of my free time studying maps and planning trips. (As a friend said to me earlier, “I don’t have time for this full time job.” So much travelling to do!)

That being said, I’ve located the above photos as having been taken in an area called Rossbeigh or Ross-Behy; it seems to be spelled both ways. Some of the later photos were just down the road where we stopped at a bar/souvenir shop called Caitins.

Our next stop found us near Cahersiveen. Though GPS had us majorly confused, we eventually made our way by The Old Barracks museum and across the one lane bridge headed for Ballycarbery Castle, Cahergall Stone Fort and a stretch of beach that Google Maps doesn’t seem to identify.

We started at the beach, and it was lovely. The sand proved to be interesting as I could walk across it with tennis shoes on, and it remained very firm. The rocks were beautiful shades of purples, greens and grays; I even managed to smuggle a few home.

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There was no true “entrance” to the beach. I found this sign very amusing, because it was so true. It’s not very noticeable in the photo below, but just beyond where I am walking the road just fell off. No barrier. Road one step, no road the next. Yet another thing I absolutely love about Ireland- they expect you to read signage and use common sense. You will very rarely find excessive precautions there!

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As I’ve edited DSLR photos and gathered from our shared iPhone photo album, I’ve enjoyed putting together the different viewpoints from which we see the world. We each had our own style, but also our way of looking at the adventures around us. For instance, these restrooms were Seth’s favorite shots of the trip. The color and quaintness against the landscape stood out to him, and I think that is the cutest thing. 🙂

I constantly find myself using the words “one of my favorite things we did was…” then I realize I’ve labeled nearly every adventure as such. I can’t decide if that means their importance is diminished or if it’s indicative of the ample amusement we experienced. Either way, “one my favorite things we did was…” Cahergall Stone Fort.

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It was truly magnificent, and the views from the top of the walls weren’t so bad, either.

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As always, you can find me taking pictures of flowers somewhere…

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“Another favorite thing we did was…” explore Ballycarbery Castle.

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The bugs surveying their kingdom and peasants below.

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From Cahersiveen, we made our way to Reenard Point where we took the ferry over to Knight’s Town on Valentia Island.

We were in search of a restaurant recommended by Noreen, but after several minutes of hunger despair, panic set in, and we chose a seaside restaurant back on the mainland in Portmagee- The Moorings & Bridge Bar.

Here I took one of my biggest leaps of faith in food choices by ordering a seafood platter… a cold seafood platter. Very unlike me.

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While the food itself was ok, the gentleman next to me who smelled as if he’d just crawled off a fishing boat lost at sea for three months really ruined it for me. I don’t do well with smells, so my gag reflexes were in overdrive the entire meal. Pair that with a platter of smoked mackerel, salmon, mussels (I’d never eaten mussels in my life!), etc. and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. I made it through that late lunch and am proud of myself for taking the chance. I will, however, forever mourn the precious euros dropped on a mealtime spent holding my breath. Phew! Bless his heart.

It is in Portmagee that I place a bookmark for a return trip in order to hop on a boat to cruise out to Skellig Michael. The tours take several hours, and we were running short on time.

If you’re a Star Wars fan, you might be interested to know that the final scene of The Force Awakens was filmed on Skellig Michael. Also, while we were there, film crews were in the area already working on the next movie. It was even the headline of the newspaper!

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Leaving from Portmagee, I directed us on to Skellig Ring. At this point, we were off the Ring of Kerry a bit, but the extra time and travel were definitely worth it. The views were fantastic. AND we could see Skellig Michael from here!

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I believe we were back on the Ring of Kerry around Waterville in these photos.

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We stopped in Sneem and checked out a few shops and were lured by some gentlemen over to Murphy’s Bar where they were insistent I take my picture on this rock. They were a good laugh, and I’m now in some Irish man’s camera roll with what I’m sure was a ridiculous laugh on my face.

Our stop in Kenmare brought about more ice cream and the cutest cow with pink boots!

Kenmare is another town filled with color!

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As the day wound down and shops began to close, we pointed our car towards Killarney (which as I study the map now, might not have actually been true. The only way we could have taken signs to this next stop would have been if we were going the wrong way… oops!), yet the day held one more adventure!

We happened upon a sign for “Ireland’s Highest Pub” and knew we had to check that out! Many, many kilometers and doubts later, we arrived in what seemed to be the middle of no where.

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But they had Guinness! Here, I ordered my first Guinness of the trip, and I must say… I was very pleased! I’m not much of a beer drinker, especially dark beer, but Guinness may have changed my mind. And when you can take your beer out and hang out with hundreds of sheep at the highest pub in Ireland, why wouldn’t you?!

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As Julie and I stood there in the cool wind of the mountains, listening only to the intermittent bleating of sheep dotted across the hillside, sipping Guinness, I couldn’t help but be reminded what a beautiful adventure life is. 🙂

Back inside, we took our turns in a few games of darts with the guys.

Turns out, I’m a decent dart thrower. Pretty decent drinker, too.

On our way out, the proprietor’s sons (we think) were playing cricket in the street. They explained the game to us and even let the guys take their turns at it. (I completely missed Seth and Jonathan’s pictures. 😦 I guess that’s what a few Guinness will do to you!)

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After a full day on the Ring of Kerry and tons of excitement, it was time to call it an evening!

Now, I just hope all these pictures don’t crash my post….

Until next time,

Happy travels my dears!

Jubilant Jennifer

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