Monday, May 23, 2011

Co. Kerry, Ireland

We spent the weekend on Ireland's best side, i.e. the west coast. Our friend's family has a house in Kerry and once she heard I had never been there, she was kind enough to invite us down before we moved away. Her family's home is in Sneem which is on the lower road of the Ring of Kerry and about 5 hours from Dublin. That's just a note to all you people who think the Ring of Kerry would make a great day trip from Dublin. It's not. We were on the motorway for about 2.5 hours, but you get off of that and are on small two lane roads that have posted speed limits of 100 km/h, which is about 62 mph. Let's just say we were lucky to go about 45 mph and our friend was very familiar with the roads. Fortunately we only ended up behind one tractor and counted ourselves lucky for that!

It was a nice, relaxing weekend which is always the way when you're visiting with a local. The downer was that it did rain on Saturday morning, but managed to clear up in the afternoon. The wind was blowing and it was COLD, so we all forgot that it was actually the end of May and wore winter hats. Fortunately the rain and clouds lifted and we were blessed with the gorgeous views of the region. It was truly spectacular and we agreed that if the world was going to end on Saturday, we were in the right spot for it!

We started off by checking out Ireland's most famous view:
That's about right.

Then we headed on to Derrynane House. It was owned by Daniel O'Connell aka The Liberator. I didn't know a thing about him, but now I know he fought for rights for the Catholics and he accidentally killed a man in a dual (he just wanted to shoot him in the leg). Oh, and he kind of looked like Nathan Lane. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside and it was chucking it down outside, so I have no pictures. Here's a picture of what it looks like on a nice day!
Photo Courtesy of

After that we headed to Valentia Island. We had lunch in a great little coffee shop then headed to the heritage museum there. Again no pictures, but believe me when I say that this tiny island has a buttload of history. Most notably the first transatlantic telegraph cable was sent between the US from Valentia Island in 1866. Oh, but if that's not old enough for you then check out the tetrapod trackways discovered on the rocks on the northern side of the island. Yeah, they're 385 million years old.
(They're the dots running across the middle of the picture)

Fortunately the weather broke a bit while we were there. The seas were angry!

We were headed to Ballinskellig to watch the rugby match with some friends so we left Valentia Island via the Skellig Ring. We didn't even consider going to Skellig Michael because the weather was so bad, but here's a shot of it on the drive over. Crazy to think people actually lived out there! It's a beautiful drive and I highly recommend it.

When we got to the pub, the weather finally broke!

After the match we headed back to Sneem for dinner and got another look at Ireland's most famous view:
Okay, there it is! That's a big change from the morning!

On Sunday we headed to Killarney to visit Muckross House via Moll's Gap. The road went through the national park, so again, the views were just stunning.

Muckross House - the tour was 7 quid, but it was worth it. The tour was an hour long and you saw quite a bit of the house. The gardens are free. You can also visit the farms which are an additional cost (we didn't do this, so I can't comment about it). We could have spent the whole day there! The views were amazing. This is the view from the main bedroom. Imagine waking up to this!

The rhododendrons were gorgeous and we also came across this fallen tree. Or is it??

After making like the Victorians and taking in airs at Muckross we headed into Killarney for lunch. We ended up having coffee and cakes at the cutest tea room. I really liked this:

And it wouldn't be Ireland if we wouldn't have seen someone we knew on the train back to Dublin. Not only were we on the same train as Wes' friend, we were one seat away from him!

We had a wonderful weekend and I'm looking forward to visiting Kerry again on future trips back to Ireland!


  1. Gorgeous photos, Kim! I don't know why I've never been to Ireland. I had relatives living in Kinsale for yonks, and my parents went over often but I never did. (Probably due to stingy vacation time in the US. But I still should have gone!) Then when I lived in Pembrokeshire, I was literally a 15-minute drive from the Ireland ferry, but I still never went. Yeesh.

    P.S. Love your purple jacket!

    P.P.S. Love the hanging china too!

  2. Helen, you would have LOVED the tea room! I actually thought of you when we were there! You should definitely come to Ireland for a visit. It's worth it!

  3. They are beautiful photos! Looks like the Ireland they show off in the brochures.

    Ah, the two lane highway. Remind me to tell you the story of getting a speeding ticket in Ireland.

  4. i've been to Sneem, when we were there a young couple had just gotten married and the 35 of us all took their photos as the stood on the bridge over the water! your photos make me want to call my travel agent.

  5. Love the pic of you in the purple!

    Can you believe I've never been to Ireland? Seeing this reminds me why I need to go.