Trip date: Sept 2019
County Kerry is well known to have some of the most beautiful and dramatic landscapes in all of Ireland. My first night in the county I was staying in Kenmare which was a great jumping off point to the Ring of Kerry. Before arriving in town I had made an appointment at the Kissane Sheep Farm for a demonstration of sheep herding and shearing.
The drive from Kinsale in County Cork only took about 2 hours but it was raining incredibly hard the entire way. It's a gorgeous drive though; vibrant green hills, old stone bridges, big estates.
The farm is tucked into the hills of Moll's Gap. I arrived and at the appointed time the gates opened so I could drive down the way and park outside of the shearing barn. We were a small group of visitors, the others were traveling together on a minibus, and the only people truly decked out for the rain were the sheep farmers.
They aren't really sure what the stone circle was used for, it's a bit of a mystery, but it's an interesting site to visit if you are staying in town.
That evening the bar at the Lansdown Arms was very empty so I went across the street to Mulcahy's where I found a very nice selection of gin and a bartender who made me a proper martini! So nice in fact I ended up having two :)
Afterwards I stopped into No. 35 for a light dinner. They were kind enough to let me just order a couple of appetizers as usually they only serve a 3-course set menu. My food was delicious and I'd absolutely recommend an evening here!
The next morning after breakfast of decadent porridge with cream and a side of bacon in the hotel, I checked out, loaded up the car, and was off for my big drive around the Ring of Kerry. This would also be my start of driving the Wild Atlantic Way
Unfortunately the day was drizzly and foggy so I would be missing out on a lot of stellar views. But I was so excited that the weather didn't dampen my spirits. I had done a lot of research on my drive and chosen carefully what I wanted to see. I was also driving clockwise around the ring in order to not get stuck behind tour buses! SMRT
First stop; Staigue Ring Fort. I pulled into the muddy parking lot after driving down a tiny one-lane road. There were only two other people as I pulled on my rain gear and dropped €1 in the honor box.
It's amazing how the ring fort has survived, having been built around 300 AD. And to have it almost to myself was a little eerie!
I climbed up and had a walk around. The actual reasons for forts are still mostly unknown. Were they defensive forts, ritual sites, or meeting areas? No one can say for sure.
As I drove away from the fort, I tailgated the SUV in front of me so that if there was car coming the other way they would have to back up for both of us. :)
The weather cleared just a bit as I pulled into Derrynane House. I didn't tour the inside of the house but walked around the grounds and out to the Ogham stone. As I had learned at the Book of Kells, these stones are found around the country, their markings were an alphabet so people could leave messages.
At Killorglin I ended my Ring of Kerry drive and headed west on the R561 past Inch beach and on to Dingle. I had been on the road for 7 hours and had seen a lot! And even though the weather hadn't exactly cooperated, I was very impressed with the beauty of the Irish countryside!
All photos of County Kerry here.
Other posts from this trip: