Ring of Kerry
With not much to do around the causeway, we decided to take a car ride on the Ring of Kerry which is a 179 km scenic drive on the Southwest coast of Ireland. It may sound like a lot but with your car cruising at 80km per hour, it is easy to complete the drive in three hours without stopping to get magnificent pictures. If you wish to stop to get those captivating pictures, it will take you about 4 hours. There are numerous sea-side restaurants which come on the way and are worth trying. There is a lot of greenery on the way and the car never leaves the ocean side. We did stop at some roadside shack to eat where there was amazing food and a great view by the ocean. There was bird feeding at the restaurant too. Even this was an instant plan and it felt great to see that there are great things in Ireland which we hadn’t even heard of before. We did not expect much and were awed at all the spontaneous things that sprung towards us.
By a very small margin, the Dingle Peninsula beats every other road-route in Ireland on its beauty quotient. Absolutely stunning views of the Atlantic, roads that can barely accommodate two cars at once, with a free falling cliff on one side and a raging peak on the other, with lambs & sheep aplenty to keep you company, and sometimes block the road altogether, this is as close to wild-paradise as you can get! From several parking spots, you can see the nearby Blaskett Islands on clear days - some of these views are simply indescribable by words or pictures; they are an experience and nothing else can possibly do them any sort of justice!
The Ring of Kerry
Amongst the top 3 circular drives in Ireland, the Ring of Kerry is the longest & most diverse. Combining jaw-dropping coastal scenery with stretches of land that are simply green and blissful, the 179 km long circuit winds past pristine beaches, distant views of the island-dotted wild Atlantic, medieval ruins, mountains & lakes aplenty. Tour buses navigate this route in an anti-clockwise direction fro Killarney - to avoid getting stuck behind one, navigate the route in a clockwise direction. You can take regular pit-stops at some charming villages like Kenmare, Sneem, Caherdaniel, Waterville, Caherciveen & Killorglin! Between Waterville & Caherciveen is the secluded village of Portmagee, which can be used as a launching pad for a one day excursion to nearby Skellig Michael - one of Ireland's 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is an island 11 kms off the mainland coast, which houses a pre-historic monastic settlement.
8:30 AM - We checked out of our B&B and drove to Portmagee to catch our boat out to Skellig Michael. It's an old monastery built into a large craggy rock pretty far out into the ocean (a 50 minute boat ride) that survived three separate recorded raides from vikings and harsh living circumstances (no livestock, rough sea winds, etc.). We hiked 300 steps up to the settlement (also the filming location where Luke Skywalker was revealed in the most recent Star Wars movie). On our way back we went by the "Little Skellig", which is inhabited entirely by seabirds (and seals, as you can see in the last pic).