Driving the Ring of Kerry, Ireland

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Europe » Ireland » County Kerry » Tralee
July 10th 2009
Published: July 20th 2009
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It was raining when we got up this morning, and continued to rain as we had our breakfast and packed up our car to set out for the Ring of Kerry. (It rained during the ENTIRE drive, about 120km worth) The Ring of Kerry starts just down the road from where our B&B was so we left right after breakfast to get started (in hopes of avoiding the tour bus traffic coming in the opposite direction).

We drove about 17km and took a 4km side route to Staigue Fort. The fort, one of the largest stone forts in Ireland, was likely built in the early centuries AD before Christianity came to Ireland. It is assumed that the fort was used for defensive purposes.

After a brief photo stop along the coast, our next stop was about 40km in at the Derrynane House, the home of Daniel O’Connell. O’Connell was a lawyer, politician and statesman, and is said to have started the grassroots movement in Ireland.

Our next stop was in Waterville to take a picture of the Charlie Chaplin statue. There were a few tour buses already parked along the side of the road so we hurried along to the Skellig Ring turnoff to try and avoid the rest of the buses (they can’t drive on the Skellig Ring). If you drive the Ring of Kerry, it’s best to go clockwise and leave early (by 8:30 or 9am out of Kenmare) to avoid the buses coming the opposite direction. The roads are VERY narrow and it’s hard enough to weave among the cars, let alone a giant tour bus.

The Skellig Ring is about 20km long and offers lovely views (probably lovelier when the weather is clear). Halfway down there is the Skellig Chocolate Factore, where we stopped for some free samples. They give you a sample of EVERY chocolate they offer, which was pretty cool. (It’s also a good place to stop for a toilet break!) We bought a few things and then headed back out into the rain.

On the other side of the Skellig Ring, you can catch a boat ride to Skellig Islands or cross a bridge to Valencia Ialand (and cross back by ferry). We bypassed both and contined on the N70 toward Killingly (where I took over driving) and then on to Tralee.

Today we’re staying at a real castle (Ballyseede) in Tralee, and it’s located in the middle of the countryside on an unmarked road that took us over an hour (and several stops asking for directions) to find. Apparently places in the country aren’t marked (not that it’s that much easier to find places in the towns here either, but that’s another story). We checked in (the place is huge and GORGEOUS!!!) and then headed back down the road to a pub we’d stopped at earlier (to ask for directions of course!). We all had fish and chips (our first in Ireland) with mushy peas and then walked over to the petrol station next door to get snacks before going back to the hotel.

There is a wedding being held here so the place is PACKED with people right now. I went downstairs to use the internet (because they don’t have wi-fi) and grumbled over having to pay 3 euro to use it for 24 minutes. Now I am back in our enormous room. There is a ghost here named Hilda so hopefully she’ll make an appearance while we’re here.

Tomorrow we drive to the Cliffs of Moher and then to Ennis for the night!

Additional photos below
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Ballyseede CastleBallyseede Castle
Ballyseede Castle

Our AWESOME hotel!

25th July 2009

Wow! That is the most amazing hotel ever, I am well impressed with your hotel finding skills! I thought it looked special from the first photograph, and even more exceptional when your second photograph shows the true size of the place! Free chocolate sounds good :D

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