Ireland
Co Kerry

Here you’ll find travel reports about Co Kerry. Discover travel destinations in Ireland of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

124 travelers at this place:

  • Day32

    Galway to Kenmare

    October 2 in Ireland

    Just loving Ireland and today another of many contrasts. Set off from Galway for the Cliffs of Moher. The hour and a half drive was gorgeous, yet the countryside so rugged and farms so underdeveloped due to the land being so poor. The cliffs were another tourist site which was very well managed and we were lucky that they were not so busy although by the time we left we counted 15 tourist buses. The sun came out and the scenery was amazing although was very nervous about how stable the ground under our feet was. We drove on to a very old fashioned town full of pubs where we actually found a reasonably modern cafe for lunch. Our next stop was Adare, a beautiful tourist town with lovely shops and some thatched roof cottages. The scenery by now had completely changed and the whole area of Kerry seemed very prosperous compared to County Clare. We drove through Killarney but realised we would now be doing the most picturesque part of the Ring of Kerry as we made our way to Kenmare. Not wanting to get there too late and knowing we wanted to explore the area more tomorrow, we decided not to make any more stops and just carry on. The scenery was breathtaking and we arrived an hour later in Kenmare at 5 30 to find the loveliest little Irish town. Our accomodation was O’Donnabhain’s Hotel and our room was above the main bar. We wandered around the streets before settling into the bar for a lovely pub meal and live music. All gorgeous. After another walk around we retired upstairs and were surprised at how sound proof the room was- but how hard the bed was! Oh well can’t have everything!Read more

  • Day27

    To Gort

    September 30 in Ireland

    According to google maps it should take just over 2 hours to travel from Killarney to Gort but there’s no fun in taking the direct route. I headed first to Dingle, finding a lovely beach at Inch Strand - very sandy and golden. Despite the cold cloudy day there were quite a few surfers out.
    I then took the Conor Pass over to Castlegregory. Like all of the mountain passes I have taken the scenery was beautiful. The road was quite narrow in places and I had to back up quite a bit in one spot.
    Up to Talbert and then I took the car ferry crossing from County Kerry into County Clare. I went up the coast to Lahinch and then across to Gort which is where I’m staying tonight. Basically I couldn’t decide between Ennis and Galway and Gort is halfway between. The hotel I’m in seems to be a hotel for business travellers as tonight is cheaper than the. Ext two.
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  • Day25

    (Half) the Ring of Kerry

    September 28 in Ireland

    Today was the Ring of Kerry. I wanted to make sure I got an early start (for me) as everything I have read says the tour buses are painful to get stuck behind but you need to go in the same direction as them because meeting them is even worse.
    I thought the buses left 10-10:30am so I thought I was okay when I hit the road just before 9am. After stuffing around trying to find the right road I left Killarney following two buses. I wasn’t terribly impressed but I turned off the route to visit Caragh Lake and lost the buses. I didn’t really come across them again as I didn’t stick to the route (the N70) road as I kept going off to look at scenery off the actual route.
    At Rossbeigh I finally found public toilets that weren’t attached to a pub or restaurant. They were locked!

    To visit Valentia Island there are two routes - bridge or car ferry. Obviously I chose the ferry, why go the conventional route? I’ve been on car ferries before but this time I found the experience really weird, sitting in a car that wasn’t moving but it was.
    Valentia Island is reasonably large and had great views. I did take the bridge to Portmagee.

    From Portmagee I took the Ring of Skellig but as I was relying on signs rather than the GPS I went a little awry. I took a turn in which the road was even narrower but all was good for 15 - 20 minutes until I ended up in someone’s driveway. The road didn’t go any further. Looking at the map know I think it was Cahereamore.
    By this stage it was close to 4pm so I decided that rather than finish the full Ring of Kerry I’d go back via the Ballaghisheen Pass which basically bisects the Ring. It was worth it, especially as it was after 6pm by the time I got back to Killarney.

    It’s still light until nearly 8pm so I wandered down the High st. It is very touristy but tastefully done. There are plenty of souvenir shops but also some buskers and Irish dancers. I walked past a pub and heard live music so I mustered up my courage and went in. It was just one woman with her guitar rather than a band but she was very good. She even played “The Wild Rover”. I sat there for half an hour or so listening to her. I wasn’t sure if I’d be brave enough to sit in a busy pub on my own but I found a spot on a bench opposite the singer and it was fine.
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  • Day26

    Today I started the Ring of Kerry clockwise. The road took me through the Killarney National Park which is just gorgeous especially the lakes.
    At Molls Gap I took the minor route down to Sneem and then joined the official ring of Kerry again.

    I came across Kissane Sheep Farm. I got there just in time to join a tour, unfortunately it was with a bus load of Germans and the guide was speaking German. It didn’t stop me from enjoying the sheepdog demonstration. It was traditional hill farming. The dogs were border collies and the sheep black faced Scottish mountain sheep. That much I could understand. It was a great demonstration of the dog’s skills.
    After this was a shearing demonstration. That was okay but once he’d finished the guide then spoke for another half an hour and I couldn’t leave the group without appearing rude.
    As I was looking in the shop another tour group appeared and this time they were Americans so I went back up to the sheep dog demonstration. It was much better with the commentary. The farm has 2000 on 2500 acres, much of it mountains. A lot of it isn’t really accessible by vehicle so they still use dogs and their trainers on foot to bring the sheep in.
    I again watched the shearing demonstration learning that the wool is a coarse wool and used for making carpets. All the processing is done in Leeds and Bradford in the UK.

    From there I headed back to Killarney. I stopped off at the meeting of the waters, where the three lakes in the National Park meet. It was very tranquil.

    I decided I wanted something with some spice for tea so stopped at a Tapas bar. The prawns in chilli oil were very bland but the other two dishes I had were very good.
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  • Day98

    Heading south to Killarney

    December 10, 2016 in Ireland

    Left at 10 am from Galway today heading to Killarney. Had a one hour transfer in Limerick. Not a pretty city at all-very industrialized. However Killarney was sunny and gorgeous. My hostel is 500 m from the gates of the National Park. The town reminds me of Banff and Newfoundland combined. Tomorrow I am going to check it out. So I went for a stroll after dinner tonight a come across Santa wishing good cheer. Feels weird because is warm, sunny but all the Christmas decorations are out. Could this be California? Headed out shopping afterwards and then heard some great Celtic music.....so I had to check it out. Had a pint of G and listened to the band and an older chap, I think his name was Tony bought me another pint and chatted my ear off in Gaelic. I was confused and just smiled , laughed and nodded. He fessed up that he was a retired psychologist, dedicated an Irish ballad to me, and made me laugh. The music was fabulous and the band played Folsom County in traditional Celtic beat and it was great. This town feels alive and great!Read more

  • Day6

    Ring of Kerry, Skellig Ring, Ireland

    August 25, 2017 in Ireland

    Drove from Cork to Kenmore, this was our starting point for our sightseeing around the Ring of Kerry and the Skellig Ring today. Couldn't believe the wild flowers on the side of the road and purple/pink heather all over the mountains. Large Red Fushia bushes growing wild on the roadside, orange, yellow, purple flowers and wild blackberries everywhere. The homes all have the largest hydrangeas bushes I've ever seen with colours from white to pale pink to blue to purple to almost a red - stunning. The scenery was amazing - deep emerald green fields held in by rock walls dotted with white sheep. Rugged stony outcrops laced with lichens. The sheer Cliffs of Kerry at Portmagee and sleepy fishing villages. Grand!Read more

  • Day100

    Muckross Abbey, House & Torc Waterfalls

    December 12, 2016 in Ireland

    I was set to do the Ring of Kerry this morning before moving onto Cork but my tour was cancelled. Bummer I was really looking forward to it but I was the only one going so it wasn't feasible for the tour company. Instead I decided to go up to Torc waterfalls on the park. It was drizzling when I left and by the time I stopped off to have lunch and give my feet a rest (12km in) it was pouring down rain. The last 8 kms were really wet. The polish girls at the hostel were super and threw my coat into the dryer. My feet really hurt but it was well worth it. I also found out that the creatures in the park were the original Red deer of Ireland, which have existed only in Ireland for centuries. The crazy looking second creature is the purebred Japanese Sika deer and was brought to the island by nobility for hunting purposes. Interestingly both deer graze side by side with cattle in the National Park.Read more

  • Day101

    Dingle all the way

    December 13, 2016 in Ireland

    Wow it just keeps getting better. I am in Dingle the most westerly part of Ireland and it is so green including the water. It has been stormy all but I have given to the rain and pressed on. I was going to go on a boat cruise to see the dolphins but the wind picked up and the rain set in. Checked into my hostel and so far am the only one here, yeah! Maybe I'll get a good night sleep. Dingle us very touristy and so a lot of places are shut down for the season. I had fresh fish and chips at a local pub and managed to check the whole town out already, population 1200. I don't remember the water this green in Newfoundland but then again they don't have palm trees like Dingle.Read more

  • Day141

    Day 141: To Kerry via Limerick

    July 6, 2017 in Ireland

    Fairly relaxed day today, as we didn't have much to do besides driving. Checked out of our Airbnb at the usual time and started the drive south - it was going to be a few hours today.

    First stop was the small city/large town of Limerick, the largest city on the western coast of Ireland. We didn't really have anything planned for here, but we parked up anyway and wandered around. It seems like a nice small place with a bit of interesting history; we had a look around the castle and the older buildings though we didn't pay to go in any of them.

    Also had a nice lunch at a trendy cafe Shandos had read about, which was quite good.

    Back to the car where we continued the drive south to county Kerry. Stopped again at the village of Adare which is rated as one of the prettiest in Ireland. It was quite nice, though it would've been a lot prettier without the giant tour buses cramming the main street, trying to show off the pretty-ness. I feel sorry for the people who live there, as their nice little town gets gradually converted into a circus attraction. Maybe not so bad if you owned a cafe or a souvenir shop I guess!

    Drove on to our accommodation for the night, at the little hamlet of Rathmore about 20 minutes from Killarney, the main town in Kerry. We'd had trouble finding dog-friendly accommodation for a reasonable price in Killarney, so as usual we were staying 20 minutes outside of town. This was a large terrace house owned by an older gent in his 60s. He wasn't around, so we let ourselves in using the spare key under the flowerpot.

    Even after staying in 50+ places now, I still find it super weird to just let yourself into someone else's house, particularly when they're clearly still living there. We settled in and relaxed for a while before eventually Denis came home and we had a chat with him.

    Given the tiny village, there weren't many food options, so we ended up driving about 10 minutes down the road to a takeaway. Not the world's greatest food, but still quite a bit better than expected for what was essentially a truck stop!
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  • Day142

    Day 142: Ring of Kerry

    July 7, 2017 in Ireland

    Super long day today, driving the Ring of Kerry! Apparently it's the second-biggest tourist destination in Ireland behind only Dublin, so I was a little apprehensive about it. Though we'd had one good tip: the tour buses all drive the ring anti-clockwise, so it's better to drive clockwise as it's much less crowded.

    We got off to an early start, as we had 200 kilometres of driving to do as well as all of the stops! First up wasn't too far away, with a lovely waterfall to start things off. This first part of the drive was quite spectacular, going through a rugged national park with jagged stone hills and glacial lakes. Very pretty, and we stopped a couple more times to take some photos.

    Up next was Ladies Point, which was a great lookout across a valley. Apparently it was named because of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting, who were super impressed with the view from that spot during a visit in the 19th century. It certainly looked nice, and the cafe there was doing a roaring trade, so we skipped.

    Next stop on the loop was the town of Kenmare, a pretty but again very heavily touristed town. Denis our Airbnb host had told us to visit the old stone circle (a la Stonehenge) just near town, but on arrival we found it cost 5 euros each! No thanks. Instead we had an ice-cream and coffee here and a poke around the "cute little shops" (Shandos's term, not mine) before heading on.

    Up next we visited a town called Sneem, which to me just looked like they'd spelled the name backwards. But Meens doesn't make sense either, so I assume not. Grabbed some lunch from the bakery and had another look around. More cute little shops of course.

    Following the road we eventually made it to the Atlantic, where the ring (which had been heading vaguely south-west) started to turn northwards. The main highlight down here is a place called Skellig's Chocolate Factory, where they make delicious artisan chocolates out of local Irish dairy. Lots of samples available and they were all extremely tasty, though I didn't see any glass elevators or oompa-loompas. We of course bought some supplies for the remainder of the drive!

    Around the tip of the peninsula we drove over a couple of spectacular mountains, where we could see the island of Skellig Michael just off the coast. This was a little heart-breaking for us, since it's a UNESCO world heritage site but we weren't able to visit. We'd tried a month ago to get tickets, only to discover that it was completely sold out! Given the precarious state of the natural environment there (it's only a small rocky outcrop and home to several unique wildlife species), it's fair enough that it's protected from mass tourism. Just annoying that it's Star Wars fans going to see Luke Skywalker's home rather than people who'd appreciate it a bit more. Another time I guess.

    We turned away and started heading north-east back up the ring, through a few little towns. Stopped at Portmacgee which had a nice little harbour, though not much else to see. Found a ruined castle nearby as well which was great - a crumbling ruin that you could climb all over and hardly anyone else around. Though we did get talked into a photo with a baby goat by a local farmer - for a small price of course!

    Final stop on the long drive back up the peninsula was the Gap of Dunloe: a long narrow pass between two tall hills, bordered by lakes, large boulders and a tiny, winding road. Apparently the done thing is to ride a donkey cart through the pass, but because it's at one end of the loop and we'd gone the opposite way to the tour buses, the donkeys had all gone home!

    So we had the place almost entirely to ourselves. Drove very slowly through the Gap as it's a very narrow and windy road, almost like the roads in coastal Italy! Stopped constantly and took lots of photos along the way of course.

    Finally we turned for home, though we stopped for dinner at a bar in Killarney - a much larger and busier town than we expected. Since it was a Friday night many places were booked out or had long queues, but we managed to find a bar that could seat us immediately. Good traditional food, though we didn't get to see the traditional music as it was starting later than we felt like staying!

    Back home very tired after a long day, where we went to bed fairly quickly. Denis wasn't home as he was out at a wedding!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Ciarraí, Ciarrai, Co Kerry, KIR

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