Oct 4: Ring of Kerry

This was by far the most comfortable bed I have slept in at all of the AirBnB’s we’ve been in thus far in Ireland. The mattress was so comfy and those pillows – oh my – were so soft and fluffy and the sheets… so soft I’m sure the thread count was in the millions!

We were up, showered, packed and ready for breakfast at 8:30 am. A lovely breakfast of granola, fruit, toast and jam and freshly squeezed orange juice and an even lovelier chat with Paudie and Anne. When Paudie heard our plans for driving the ring of Kerry clock-wise, he strongly advised against it and gave us a list of the towns in the order we should see them. His reasoning made so much sense we went with his suggestion. You see, it was still pouring rain but Paudie believed it would clear up this afternoon around 1 ish or 2 ish. So, if we drove the ring counter-clockwise, we would be visiting the less scenic towns first,  take a detour into the town of Portmagee for lunch, and when we’re ready to get back at it, the weather would be clear and the best part of the ring would be visible.

Now that was the grand plan but, as we all know, plans have a way of changing or sometimes not coming to fruition. As was the case here. The rain didn’t clear up until 4 ish or 5 ish after we finished the ring.

However, we did see some beautiful views, even in the rain and fog and I highly recommend visiting the town of Portmagee. It is a small fishing village with restaurants and shops. Paudie highly recommended we have lunch at the Moorings restaurant. We arrived too early for lunch so had a late breakfast instead. As I was sitting there waiting for breakfast, I noticed a wall mural with a view of the Skelligs. I wanted to get a picture of it on our way out. It wasn’t until I took the picture that I noticed Darth Vader standing next to the barrel of Guinness. I keep forgetting the Star Wars and Skellig Michael connection.

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While we were driving out of town, my phone rang and I was delighted to be FaceTiming with my sweet niece Shaeleen! She and I had been keeping in contact via FaceTime and Messaging throughout the trip, keeping up-to-date with each other’s daily activities. This morning she would be competing for her school at the cross-country event. (I’m delighted and proud to say Shaeleen came in 4th! Way to go Shae!!!)

As we were leaving Portmagee we noticed a turn-off to Valentia Island and the Skellig route. I was hoping to see Skellig Michael during our tour of the Ring of Kerry so we headed to the island. I mentioned earlier how it was pouring rain since the night before. Well, apparently they had high winds and heavy rain during the night (which we both slept soundly through) and it was causing havoc. Lane ways and roads were washing out. I heard some chatter about flooding and leaking houses. Driving conditions were not great. What a day to be out driving the most scenic and beautiful route in Ireland and perhaps the world.

We came to a barrier as the rest of the road was closed off, so we turned off into a visitor centre claiming to have the most beautiful view in all of Kerry – the Kerry Cliffs. Unfortunately the café and public washrooms were closed but you could still pay the €4 euros each and walk up to the viewing platform. Rain ponchos on and my camera safely tucked into it’s rain cover, tripod in hand we climbed the steep hill up, up and up. I was so very glad to have stopped here because the view was spectacular, even in the rain and fog! I found it more majestic, wild and raw than the Cliffs of Moher. It was simply amazing.

 

We continued around the Ring of Kerry, taking in the scenery and marveling at the beauty.

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One of the last towns we came to had a souvenir shop that caught our eye. It’s amazing how time seems to stand still when you’re in one of these places yet real time keeps ticking away and before you even realize it, hours may have passed you by and your wallet seems much lighter.

The sky eventually cleared up, the sun came out and it was a lovely afternoon. We made our way to Cobh (pronounced Cove) in County Cork to our next and last AirBnB. Another stunning location, also in the country. It was dark when we arrived but we could make out the lights in the harbour. Stunning view!

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Our host met us with open arms, as did her friendly dog and cats. Our apartment was on the small side but perfect for one night. We were supplied with fresh eggs right from the yard! Cereal, milk, tea/coffee, and bread. We had a full kitchen with all the appliances one would need. We put on a pot of tea and settled in for an early night.

 

 

 

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