Wrapping up my series on my trip to Ireland, today’s post covers our third major stop, Killarney, and our quick day-trips along the way.
Killarney is a quaint town in the southwest corner of the country. It’s often a waypoint for the Ring of Kerry, a beautiful peninsula popular for its scenic tours. We spent our only full day there on the Ring of Kerry tour, but enjoyed wandering around the town and listening to live music in the pubs.
We thought it was funny how the musicians, upon learning there were Americans there, would always play “Take Me Home Country Roads” or “Ring of Fire.” I also had a nerd-out moment when we stumbled upon this Lord of the Rings-themed pub!
Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is absolutely breathtaking. Our tour was okay; not going to lie, our tour in Galway with the Galway Tour Company was so fantastic that we were a little spoiled. However, we enjoyed the scenic drives and interesting stops:
The statue you see below is King Puck. Every August, a wild goat is taken from the mountains of Co. Kerry and crowned King Puck. He is then caged on the roof of a building in the village while the town celebrates. At the end of the three-day festival, he is released back into the mountains.
Dingle Bay is the body of water that separates the Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry. My ancestors are from Dingle, so I had so snap this picture!
Many of our stops were simply photo stops to take in these magnificent views! We really lucked out on having such a sunny day to explore the Ring.
Who said just because you’re in Ireland doesn’t mean you can’t have a beachy spring break?
Village of Sneem
Sneem is full of brightly colored cottages! According to our tour guide, local lore says that the town men would go to the local pub and when they would stumble home at night, they would get confused at which house they lived in and would end up in the wrong house. To fix this, the women of the town started to paint their houses in bright colors.
Limerick was one of the cities we were passing through on our journey by train, so we figured we’d stop for a couple of hours to explore! Since we didn’t have a ton of time, we just grabbed a bite to eat, walked along the river and through a park, but it was nice to stretch our legs.
This was our last stop on our way back to Dublin to fly home… and I didn’t get any pictures! It was pouring rain and we were starving. I wish we could’ve spent more time here and that the weather was better.
While most of the time we stayed in AirBNBs or small hotels, the last night we really treated ourselves. My friend whom I was traveling with works for Marriott and she got us an incredible discount, so we stayed at an amazing estate in County Wicklow. Our cab driver explained to us that the “who’s-who” of European celebrities get married there… when we pulled up, we were definitely out of place. But it was a great night, nevertheless!
What We Missed (But I saw previously)
- Lakes of Killarney: Three lakes lie in the Black Valley. You can take scenic boat tours of the lakes and visit 15th century Ross Castle.
- Blarney Castle: Kiss the Blarney Stone for the gift of eloquence (aka the gift of gab!). Be warned, though, that to kiss the Blarney Stone you have to lay on your back and stretch out 90ft above the ground.
What I Wish We Saw
Obviously, there are so many amazing things to do in Ireland but a finite amount of time! A few of the things I wish we were able to see..
- Dingle Peninsula: Since this is where my ancestors are from, I would’ve loved to visit the town of Dingle and explored.
- Skellig Michael: This 8th century monastic settlement is located off the coast of the Ring of Kerry. It’s a difficult and often dangerous hike, but has a breathtaking view with incredible history.
- Wicklow Mountains National Park: We drove through the mountains and I wish we had more time to stop and hike around!
That’s it for my Ireland series! Any places I missed and you suggest visiting?