Remember that time that I said “can’t wait to share more from our Roadtrip of Southern Ireland trip next week.”
Oh, eager Lauren. It is wedding season. Why did you make that promise!?
Alas, here I am making good, just a few (okay, more than a few!), weeks late… this time highlighting the epic, Ring of Kerry & Dingle Peninsula.
So, when I was first researching our Road trip of Southern Ireland, one of the main stops that I had read about was said, notorious, Ring of Kerry.
It’s known for its beautiful coastal views, seaside cliffs, and plenty of picturesque villages. This makes it a destination for lots of people, but especially tour buses.
If you’re not the type of person who wants to do research, know this: when traveling around the Ring of Kerry, make sure you go clockwise. This leaves you traveling the opposite direction of the tour buses who are making constant stops. I am glad to have heeded this piece of advice while planning our trip.
An additional thought? Most people say that you can do the full ring in one day, but many wish they had done it in two. I was so glad that we chose to stay the night on Valentina Island. It’s the perfect halfway point from Gap of Dunloe around the ring. Plus, we picked the most charming AirBnB to stay at — one straight out of The Holiday.
So picking up where we left off in our road trip itinerary: We traveled from the Gap of Dunloe, west on the Ring of Kerry, up to Valentina Island.
The great part about having our own car and simply a destination to head in the direction of, was that we got to do whatever we wanted to! We stopped when we wanted to take in the views. We even squeezed in almost a full beach day because of how magnificent the weather was. Plus, we were getting up and on the road before 9, which is apparently unheard of in Ireland… things open late there!
Caherdaniel area, specifically Derrynane Beach, was our choice this day and it was incredible. It had views of the distant islands in the background and water so blue it looked unreal. We also decided to hike up past the old abbey (equally fun!), and found some wild cows, too.
After checking into our AirBnB that afternoon, we snuck out for some food at the local pub at Portmagee. Unbeknownst to us, it’s infamous for entertaining Mark Hamill while he filmed some of the Star Wars movies at the Skellig Islands. After filling up with delicious seafood (and only missing ice in our water!), we snuck off to the Kerry Cliffs. They were a beautiful precursor to what was to come at the Cliffs of Moher later on, and way less touristy!
After exploring a bit more, we settled back in on our quaint little island and drove to the top of Geokaun Mountain to catch the sunset. It was a perfect day and by far one of my favorites!
We woke up the next day with a big agenda as well — finish the Ring of Kerry and see the Dingle Peninsula, too. We also were determined to visit as many beaches as we could to find “the best waves.” Unfortunately, we discovered that the only big waves in Ireland are around the cliffs where it’s too dangerous to swim or during rainstorms. Neither of which applied in our case. In fact, our waiter at lunch joked with us about how he’d have to track down some sunscreen for once, but they were unfortunately sold out. However, we did love just going from beach to beach & cove to cove to find some pretty little hidden spots and relax in the water.
One of said beaches was Inch Beach. It’s a drive-on beach with some beautiful dunes and views. The real highlight of that spot for me though was eating at Sammy’s. It was one of the first places we ate that felt like the produce was very fresh and not just covered with fried options. So if you find yourself near Inch Beach, I highly recommend. They also have Dingle Ice Cream at the shop next door which was also worth indulging on!
From there we drove on around the Dingle Peninsula, and along Slea Head Drive to our AirBnb for the night before we drove further North to see the Cliffs of Moher. (I’ll share more about them in a future post!) It was there that we found a slew of wild horses that the locals had to build a fence around to keep out.
As you’ll be able to see from the photos, our Dingle trip is a bit less documented than the Ring of Kerry because it was mostly hopping in and out of the car, from beach to beach! :) Still pretty and worth seeing for sure.
First, Ring of Kerry
Next up, in 5,000 weeks, I’ll get to sharing about the Cliffs of Moher. Stay tuned!