Touring the Ring of Kerry // County Kerry, Ireland
Where do I think you need to go? Ireland.
A few months ago, Dan and I nearly lost our marbles during our visit to County Kerry, Ireland. One of those flawless vacations where everywhere we turned we were positively wowed. Sure, the weather was remarkably perfect, but the Guinness, our hotels, the charm, all of it left a lasting impression. Within minutes of arriving our chipper car rental attendant welcomed us, genuinely, to his country and we knew were somewhere special.
We had lots of things on on our list to accomplish (like meeting a friendly dolphin), but at the tippy-top was driving the Ring of Kerry, a famous 179km route circling the Iveragh Penninsula in County Kerry. Being honest, we aren’t exactly car people but with the pressure of the 5 star Trip Advisor reviews and chatter from locals, we knew we’d have to see what the fuss was all about.
We opted to go counter-clockwise and departed Killarney just after breakfast. The skies were unusually bright and full of big, puffy clouds. To say the route is just ‘scenic’ is an understatement. For some reason I want to say it was “marrrrvelous, darling, simply marvelous” in some fru-fru Mid-Atlantic accent. It just seems appropriate, no?
Anyways, our path led us to a medley of delightfully stops called names like “Ladies View”, “Portmagee”, “Puffin Island” and who doesn’t love “Ballinskelligs”?
In total the drive took us about 5 hours with a pit stop at the stunning Valencia Island, a lunch of fresh seafood chowder in Portmagee, and (you know me) at least 15 pull-off-to-the-side-of-the-road-(trynottogethit)-and-take-a-picture stops. It was a perfect day in my book.
This was the first of very many pull-offs we opted to explore. As the only manual driver in the family (ahem!), I was on triple duty of shifting with my left hand, observing backwards driving policies and keeping my eyes peeled for shots to share with you fine folks.
At one point I spotted this wild leprechaun who likes to eat pizza and watch March Madness. Cute, right?
… and later surveyed the scene from the cliffs on Valencia Island – seriously stunning.
The views from the top of Valencia island, looking back onto the peninsula, were some of the most remarkable I’ve ever seen. Cottages dotted the countryside as rays of sunshine (“grace” as my hubby’s family lovingly calls it) beamed through the clouds.
Lunchtime in Portmagee (Guinness is just out of focus, don’t worry):
So yes, there you go, another activity to add to your bucket list!
If this has caught your fancy and you want to make it happen – we flew into Kerry, Ireland and found it to be an absolute logistical breeze to overnight in Killarney then depart from there the following morning to drive the Ring.