Driving the Ring of Kerry
Here we are at day eight of our Ireland Trip - we skipped number seven because it was a rain day and we didn't do much but shopping and eating - which finishes of our first full week in Ireland.
Today we drove the Ring of Kerry. Praised widely but also known for the many tourist buses taking the narrow roads, we decided to leave town at about 10 in the morning. We started and got sidetracked the first time not far down the road, as we wanted to see the Lough Caragh but somehow couldn't find the viewpoint that was supposed to be somewhere, so we just stopped on the road to take some pictures.
Soon we got back on the N70 and continued driving the regular route along the Ring of Kerry. We stopped at some of the main attractions on the way, but didn't take many pictures until we decided to get off the regular route to pay a visit to Valentia Island. And there, we ended up spending half our day. Everything was just so beautiful. Or strange.
We stopped shortly at the grotto in the old quarry, then drove down to the Valentia Lighthouse.
There we noticed spectacular waves crashing against the coastline and spend quite some time watching, photographing and filming those waves. No image or film can really capture that unique mixture of sensations, that just aren't complete without the sound of the waves, the spray in your face, the smell of the ocean and all.
Thinking about it, I think the spot right down there at the Valentia Lighthouse was probably my favorite part about all of the Ring of Kerry. Absolutely stunning. - And the funny thing is, it's not technically par the regular "Ring of Kerry" Route, and most certainly not part of the bus tours.
We continued to the Geokaun View, taking in a great view of the whole Island.
Afterwards we spent some time at the Skellig Island Experience Center, learning quite a lot about the Skelligs. We had really wanted to visit the Skelligs, but the boats don't do landing tours until May or so. Chrissi wanted to take a boat trip around the Islands at least, but even that wasn't possible because the sea wasn't calm enough today.
Already fairly late, we continued our trip. The next stop were the Kerry Cliffs. There were hardly any people there, which we thought was really strange. In our personal opinion, we thought the Kerry Cliffs were at least as great as the Cliffs of Moher, even though they aren't quite as steep. The view to the Skellig Islands makes them even more appealing.
By the time we left the Cliffs of Kerry, it was already almost 8:00pm and started to get dark. When we drove down towards Caherdaniels we had an amazing view of some of the last sun rays breaking through a dark cloud.
Our last sightseeing stop for the day was at a Staigue Fort, which was pretty mystical as we got there in the dusk.
Afterwards we continued towards Kenmore fast, as we needed to get food somewhere before the pubs closed their kitchens. We got home shortly after 10 pm, so all in all our personal Ring of Kerry Experience took about 12 hours. We actually saw like only one tourist bus, and most of the time we had the road pretty much to ourselves. That's the big incentive of being slower than the tourist buses ;)
For those that want to drive the route themselves sometime: it really wasn't as narrow as everyone had tried to make us believe. Most of the Ring of Kerry uses the N70, which is a regular two-lane road. Only the Skellig Ring isn't, and that's only a small part of the whole trip. And I'm not sure the buses even drive there. Plus you don't have the big stone walls there like we saw in Dingle.