Ring of Kerry

In the morning I woke up to the sound of pattering rain.

Breakfast at the Fuschia House was served in a light-filled room overlooking a green garden. I ordered the full Irish Breakfast, which consists of fried egg, pork sausage, bacon rashers, white pudding, black pudding, fried half tomato and beans…

The food was cooked with care by Erika the hostess, and it’s enough to power me through the day.

My first stop on the Ring was Muckross House and Gardens

The 11,000 acre estate sits on a small peninsula between Muckross Lake and Lough Leane.

The sun peeked out so I decided to walk to the Torc Waterfall – the waterfall is also reachable from the main road but the parking lot is small and often crowded.

The 2.5 kilometers trail goes through a forest, an exposed path next to a cow pasture, a stone bridge, alongside a creek.

The flow was impressive, thanks to Storm Ellen which dumped plenty of water during the previous week.

Returning to the parking lot, I made a stop at the small rose garden behind the Muckross house, taking in the fragrance from the summer bloom.

The Bourn Vincent family presented Muckross House to the Irish Nation in 1932, an act of generority that lead to the development of Killarney National Park as the first National Park in ireland.

Having spent a couple of hours in Muckross House, I was eager to get back on the road, heading towards my second stop on the Ring – Lady’s View.

Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting visited here during the royal visit in 1861. They were so taken with the view that it was named after them.

While this lady was admiring the view, I received a call from Skellig Experience informing me that due to weather condition, all sailings around Skellig Michael was cancelled the following day. Lisa, the nice lady on the phone, asked me if I would like to reschedule.

After the phone call, I went back to the car and drove another 4 kilometers, through a narrow rock tunnel to Kissane Sheep Farm.

I was ready to “adopt a sheep”, or more so checking out a sheep dog/sheep shearing demo, for which the farm is known, but it was closed this year due to you-know-what.

My next quick stop was Moll’s Gap

Like the Gap of Dunloe, Moll’s Gap was formed through a glacial breach, which happened 25,000 years ago during Ireland’s last ice age. There’s supposed to be great view from here of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountains. And there was. I even crossed the road to admire it. But I forgot to take a picture. So you will have to take my word for it 😦

After passing through the colourful village of Sneem

known as the knot in the Ring of Kerry, with its two squares, one on the North and one on the South. and a bridge in the middle, tying the knot.

The view became expansive with the occasional glimpse of the sea to the left. For those interested in history and archeology, an ancient ring fort awaits.

Staigue Fort is one of the largest and finest stone forts in Ireland and was probably built in the early centuries AD before Christianity came to Ireland. It must have been the home of a very wealthy landowner or chieftain who had a great need for security.
A wall up to six metres high and four metres thick – built entirely without motar – encloses an area thirty metres in diameter. Several near vertical masonry joints are visible in the wall, which may indicate that the fort was built in stages, rather than one continuous operation.
“The fort was the home of the chieftain’s family, guards and servants, and should have seen houses and out-buildings, and possibly tents or other temporary structures. No buildings survive today, though two small chambers are contained within the wall. The top of the wall was reached by a series of steps which criss-cross against the inside of the wall. An earthern bank and ditch around the fort gave further protection”

I can attest to the statement about the ditch while taking a walk around the outter perimeter of the fort, I nearly sank my feet into it covered by damp grass and cow dung.

The detour to Staigue Fort is through a one-lane country road lined with overgrown bushes. Since this was only my second day driving in Ireland, I was a bit nervous about the incoming traffic, as you can see here

Back on N70, the road to Coomakesta Pass offers breakthtaking views

Castlecove – known for its turquoise water and white sand beach

with ample parking space

At Coomakista Pass

I was surprised to find a lonesome icecream truck offering Traditional Kerry Soft Ice Cream

***Please make sure to bring small cash or at least ask the vendor if they accept credit card before ordering. This girl ordered a soft serve without realising that the vendor did not take credit cards nor did she have any cash on her, so she got the ice cream without paying. While this was an act of generosity from the Kerry people, it is not easy for the business to survive during this special time. I can imagine the parking lot filled with cars during a regular summer peak season. When I was there, only two or three cars showed up.

Then just as I turned around…

Ten minutes drive and more of this view later

I arrived at Waterville

A town known for its affiliation with one Charlie Chaplin

Chaplin and his family first visited the town in 1959. They loved it so much that they holidayed every year for over ten years.

After checking into the same hotel Mr. Chaplin stayed, with a nice view of the sea from my room

Tea Lounge at Butler Arms Hotel

I went to dinner at Dooley’s Waterfront Bar & Restaurant.

I ordered a bowl of seafood chowder and herb coated rack of lamb

While the food was good, I found it overpriced and although I asked for a seating in the restaruant, I was led to a bar where it was rather sad and dingy.

Overhearing a storm that’s arriving in a couple of hours, grateful that I had made it safe to my destination of the day, I skipped dessert, retreated to my hotel room, brew a cup of tea with some shortbread cookies

ready to call it a night.

Note: Route and distance

  • Killarney -> Muckross House: 7.3 km ~ 16 minute drive
  • Muchross House -> Lady’s View: 12.2 km ~ 17 minute drive
  • Lady’s View -> Moll’s Gap: 6.2 km ~ 8 minute drive
  • Moll’s Gap -> Sneem via Parknasilla Resort (perfect stop for tea if desired): 28.3 km ~ 32 minute drive
  • Sneem -> Staigue Stone Fort: 18.9 km ~ 24 minute drive
  • Staigue Stone Fort -> Coomakista Pass: 16.1 km ~ 22 minute drive
  • Coomakista Pass -> Waterville: 7.8 km ~ 10 minute drive

25 thoughts on “Ring of Kerry

  1. This is WONDERFUL! Ireland is so green and lush. Enjoyed your video of the sheep in the middle of the road and the other videos. Did you upload them to Vimeo to be able to use them on WordPress?

    Thank you for sharing some Irish beauty with us. I was reading that you might be going on 4 weeks of Lockdown again. Hoping that doesn’t happen. Glad you’ve had a chance to explore!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I did. It has a quota for free video which I think I just reached lol. We already started a country-wide level 3 lockdown. Back to travel within Dublin county :(. We had anti-mask demonstrations almost every Saturday, so go figure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh no, well, our numbers are going up here too. I hear Spain and Germany have high COVID. Well, wear your mask, I’ve already been in grocery store where people were sneezing and coughing. COVID or just normal cold season. This is going to be a tough winter. Stay well.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Didn’t know about Germany, but France is pretty bad as well. Hang in there. Hope we will get over this soon…BTW I am going to make the Italian bean soup again. The recipe you sent me, I made it once, really good. Will write a post some day. When I have the time. Happy October 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It reminds me of so many good times during my time in Ireland, the Ring of Kerry, one of the places where the charm of Ireland unfolds in all its grandeur. Very nice report and typical weather 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Fuschia House and Butler Arms Hotel look incredibly inviting: the large windows was a smart strategy by architects to bring in more natural lighting for dreary days (often the case in Ireland, it seems). You really took us on a journey through the various sites all over the Ring of Kerry, and I’d love to explore it now that you’ve introduced it to me. PS You could’ve definitely had more of that lamb, if it weren’t so expensive– it looked delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We had the chance to do the Ring a couple years ago – your pictures bring back good memories. Imagine what that road would be like when full of tourists, buses, lorries, etc. Or maybe, someday in the future, you will not have to imagine it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I heard it could be very congested in the summer, especial with the big tour buses which tend to go clockwise. I chose to drive counter-clockwise just to avoid them, but I didn’t run into any. Must be bad for the local tourist industry this year.

      Like

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