After visiting Blarney Castle we drove the 1.5 hours to Beaufort, which is about 10 kilometers outside of Killarney, and our home for the next three days. We had started our Ireland roadtrip in Dublin and then made our way to Kilkenny. The next day we visited The Rock of Cashel, Cobh, Cork, and Blarney Castle. It was a fun-filled busy few days, and we had such a great time! Now, we were excited to see the wonder of County Kerry as it is full of magnificent scenery, an outstanding national park, and two well-known loop drives – The Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula. This area is a must for any first time visitor to Ireland.
Gap of Dunloe
For our first day in County Kerry we walked the Gap of Dunloe. The Gap of Dunlow is a narrow mountain pass through Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and Purple Mountain. We parked the car at Kate Kearney’s Cottage, which is a pretty popular restaurant for everyone deciding to attack the Gap (either by walking, by jaunting car, bikes, or driving). It’s a relatively easy, though long, walk with periods of steep ascents. The sun was shining down so brightly and the beauty is unlike anything we’ve seen before.
We met a lot of friendly people on the walk and even witnessed a runaway sheep! Poor thing!
The weather held out for most of the walk. But soon we got to a point where we had to make a decision to keep going or turn around. Although it looked very appealing to keep walking, the skies opened up and it started pouring! We didn’t want to be caught in the mountains during the downpour. So after our three mile walk we turned around and headed back. We dried off and warmed up with some stew and a goat cheese salad at Kate Kearney’s Cottage. Yum!
The next day we drove around the Dingle Peninsula. We decided against driving around The Ring of Kerry, though we were able to see many parts of it since as our bed and breakfast was just off it. It was super crowded with buses barreling down the narrow roads with us driving a stick with the “wrong” hand on the “wrong” side of the road. We were looking for a stress free vacation! The Dingle Peninsula did just that and had amazing scenery of its own. The coastline is full of towering cliffs interrupted by sandy beaches.
We stopped at Inch Beach at the recommendation of our B&B host. Even though we had planned every part of this road trip through Ireland, we had been able to be flexible and add on things based on locals’ recommendations. And those are the best!
Stretching four miles, Inch Beach is very popular with surfers and swimmers and offers a magnificent backdrop as you look out onto the blue waters. It was a very breezy and brisk day!
Our next stop along the peninsula was the fishing port town of Dingle. It’s a good thing we got here relatively early in the morning because it became so crowded with tour buses and the general public after 12pm. This is a charming town full of pubs that play live traditional music, and shops that sell a plethora of random trinkets and knick knacks. While strolling the streets we found some beautiful artwork to add to our collection, slipped into a teeny tiny restaurant where we had some delicious chowder, and ate ice cream at the legendary Murphy’s Ice Cream Shop. We had a beautiful and relaxing day in this pleasant town!
Slea Head Loop
Instead of heading back, we drove the Slea Head Loop, which is one of the most famous drives in the area. We headed west from Dingle and hugged the coast as we drove through some of the most breathtaking and dramatic views we have seen. In some places the road was extremely narrow with some sharp cliff-edge bends, which provided some heart stopping moments. It is a stunning drive and we’re happy that we decided to do it.
We went to the town of Killarney a couple of times during our stay in County Kerry, mainly for a couple of meals and to walk around. I had read that Killarney is swarming with tourists, but it actually wasn’t too bad and it was a really nice town. I don’t know if I would go out of my way to visit it, but since our B&B was so close it made sense to go there. There were a few great restaurants that we went ate in and quaint streets to walk through.
We wish we would have had more time in this area, but isn’t that always the case?! Next up is the last part of our Ireland roadtrip… the Cliffs of Moher, Adare, and Bunratty Castle!