Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ireland- Day 8 Ring of Kerry, Skellig Ring

After a good night’s sleep and an even better breakfast, Katie and I headed out to explore the Ring of Kerry. This is another thing I haven’t done since my first trip to Ireland way back in March of 2000 when I was a senior at UNH. Instead of going off to Florida or Cancun, the “cool” spring break destinations, I went off to meet Kara in Ireland for a week. And it obviously called to me then and keeps calling to me now.

Having spent all day driving all the way around the Ring of Kerry with Katie, I have very little recollection of what exactly Kara and I did all those years ago. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a more observant person or more open to the beauty all around myself nowadays, but apart from Sneem and Killarney, I don’t specifically remember anything else from my trip with Kara. I’m eager to get home and see my photos (in a photo album, of course, since it was before the days of digital cameras) to see what we actually did.

We left Shelburne Lodge around 1030am and didn’t get back until nearly 7pm. It takes about 3 ½ hours to drive all the way round the Ring of Kerry, and it took us nearly seven hours. Granted we stopped frequently to take photos, but still. We had grand plans of getting way off the beaten path and checking out Skellig Michael from Valentia Island and taking a short car ferry ride back to Cahiersiveen. Unfortunately because we stopped so many times, we had to nix Valentia Island and jam through the rest of it quickly. I didn’t want to be driving in the dark and we both opted a few different times to skip some of these smaller towns in favor of getting more photos and getting closer to Kenmare. We did make time to check out Skellig Ring and I'm so glad we did. It had some of our most memorable- and photographic- views of the day.

The Ring of Kerry has beautiful beaches and lakes, autumnal landscapes, mountainous terrains, sheep, donkey, cows and plentiful and colorful villages. While we were told it takes 3 ½ hours to complete it, we only made it to the ½ way mark by that point. I think Katie and I would both agree that the prettiest parts of the Ring of Kerry seem to be the drive from Killarney to Cahersiveen. So even though we had to pick up the pace and stop taking photos every four seconds during the second half, we really felt like we had seen the most beautiful parts already.

Highlights include the Stagiue Fort, Sneem, surfers in Waterville, the amazing patchwork green fields all over the Skellig Ring and the beaches. We wished we had more time to enjoy all that the Ring of Kerry had to offer, but hopefully during another visit we can take our time, most especially around the Skelling Ring and build in time to check out Valentia Island.

All in all, it was a great day. Tomorrow we head back up to Carrick-on-Shannon where we’ll be staying at Gene’s B&B again, enjoying a night at the Thatch and dinner with Gene (we’re buying the groceries and making it for him)!

Pictures below!


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