Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Today we had an amazing day trip to the Ring of Kerry, again with Paddywagon tours. We arrived early again and got front row seats for the whole trip. Sometimes that was a little scary with the narrow, windy roads and squeezing vehicles. Our guide was Joe O'Reilly, who made the day with his commentary and jokes. Just wish I could remember it all.
Our first stop was for a cow crossing. All in a day's life in Ireland. But our real first stop (and last) was Killarney, the gateway to the Ring. We had an hour to explore what is considered the most beautiful town in Ireland. Again, we saw brightly painted storefronts.
We followed the 112 mile route around the Iveragh Peninsula, traveling first through Killorglin, another town with colorful buildings. We stopped outside the city at Glenbeigh to get our first view of the MacGillicuddy Mountains.
Next we enjoyed a ride along the coast, stopping for a view of Dingle Peninsula, opposite our route. It was quite a windy day.
We drove through Caherciven and photographed the Scarrif Islands.
Lunch was in Waterville, a picturesque little village overlooking Ballinskelligs Bay. We had lunch at the Bay View Restaurant -- vegetable soup with brown bread. We have come to learn that vegetable soup in Ireland is puréed, but quite good. I was intrigued by this craftsman building a stone wall.
From here, we drove along the coastline and saw the Skellig Islands. The most famous is Skellig Michael, a pinnacle of rock rising out of the Atlantic and covering 44 acres. It once was the home to an early Christianisn monastery, but today is a wildlife refuge. That's it in the background. Hard to believe anyone lived here under such harsh conditions.
Then we passed by more of the Skellig Islands for a brief photo shoot.
Along the way we saw Inch Beach, one of the few beaches along the way. Surprisingly, the water here is warmer than a beach, say, in Maine, because it is affected by the Gulf Stream.
The views were spectacular all along the way. We stopped in Sneem for ice cream and crossed the bridge where the River Sneem meets the currents of Kenmare Bay. We saw interesting limestone formations from the bridge similar to some I saw in Missouri where the geology is similar.
Then we entered Killarney National Park, which was established in 1932. The park comprises 26,000 acres and has 3 lakes. Here is Lake Killarney and Black Valley.
Our final stop was a short walk to the 54 ft.Torc Waterfall. The woods surrounding it were covered in moss and you almost expected to see leprechauns living there.
We headed back to Cork and arrived about 7:30. Since we were close to Gallagher's, we went there again to eat their beef pie.