The Ring of Kerry is an amazing 120+ mile drive that circumnavigates the Inveragh Peninsula. We had extreme winds and blowing rain, but that just made it more of an adventure.
During our drive through the scenic countryside, we enjoyed the flexibility to stop and take in any sights that interested us. While tours have their advantages, the freedom of our self-guided journey around the Ring of Kerry, on this day, was particularly appreciated.
In Ireland, even the sand on the beaches sometimes has a green tint! Such was the case at one of our first stops. We drove down a single lane road, dodging tractors to the little town of Kells Bay.
In the cold windy drizzle, we were surprised to see a couple out enjoying the water, as if it were a sunny warm beach day. We spoke to them and learned that in Ireland, if you want to swim, you just do it regardless of the weather.
In our drive around the Ring of Kerry we stopped in quaint little towns like Portmagee to sample fresh pastries, do some shopping, and notice things that are so different from how we live – such as burning logs of dried, compressed peat instead of wood logs.
Once arriving at Kerry Cliffs, we were blown away – both figuratively speaking and literally. Approaching the cliff edge in most places is slightly uphill, so you are sheltered from the wind until you get close to the edge. The winds on the day we visited must have been easily 30 to 50 mph with some serious gusts, but it was such an amazing view it just didn’t matter. The views out to sea show Puffin Island and the Skellig Islands, made famous for being featured in Star Wars The Last Jedi.
The scale and grandeur of Kerry Cliffs is something I’ll never forget. The harsh conditions somehow made it even more memorable. What a beautiful place!
When we came across Staigue Fort, we were surprised by a few things:
- We had the place to ourselves.
- The admission fee is an honors system
- You can walk all around it, including on top of it!
It is thought to have been built during the late Iron Age, probably between 300 and 400 AD, as a defensive stronghold for a local lord or king. Again, no mortar used in any of this structure. The stories this place could tell..
Muckross Abbey was founded in 1448 as a Franciscan friary. The abbey has a violent history and has been damaged and reconstructed many times. It is one of the best-preserved and evocative of Ireland’s friaries.
Despite it’s violet past, we found it to be a mystical, peaceful place with a distinct feel to it, especially in the center where the amazing yew tree was.
Again, we had this place to ourselves! There’s no easy access to this place; you have to walk in from the nearest parking, which is nearly a mile away and it was raining pretty heavily.
According to local legend, it is bad luck to touch the ancient yew tree. Whether that is true or not, we didn’t test the theory. 😉