When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, the Sun is OUT!

Trip Start Jul 16, 2011
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Trip End Jul 31, 2011


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Flag of Ireland  , County Kerry,
Wednesday, July 20, 2011

We got up at 7:00 and went to breakfast a few minutes early. We both had salmon and eggs for our main course.  Erin had muesli with nuts and I had muesli with fruit and yogurt.  We paid up and left.  By 8:20 we were on our way around the Ring of Kerry.  Another peninsula, another road all round it.  Rick Steves has a kilometer by kilometer guide to the best things to see on the Ring of Kerry.  So we used that as our outline of the day.  Our first stop was Staigue Ring Fort, not an earthen one but one made of stone.  The ring forts were where the king and his family and servants lived.  There would have been dwellings inside and there were two small rooms built right into the walls of the fort.  The ring fort is always in a highly defensible position with a 360 degree view.  This one was 20 feet high and 100 feet in diameter. There is one door into it which faces the bay.  On the inside there were stairs up to a platform where you could see out. 

Our next stop was at Carroll's Cove where there is a great beach and oceans views of the Beara Peninsula and rugged coastline.  We could see Dursey Island at the end of the Beara.  Soon we started going up in elevation to cross Coomakesta Pass.  The views of the ocean were breathtaking.  We have felt the awesome beauty of this place all day especially since the sun shined for most of the day.  I now understand "when Irish eyes are smiling."  When we reached the pass there was a large statue of Mary in the parking lot welcoming us to this windy divide where we could see the ocean on both sides.  As we descended the pass we noticed the ruins of famine villages along the road.

Our next stop was Waterville which is right on the ocean on a slim stretch of land between the ocean and Lough Currane.  There was a long sandy beach bordered by a park.  We stopped at the Butler Arms Hotel for tea and scones.  Again we had only scones as they didn’t have decaf tea.  Shortly after we left Waterville we turned off to the Ring of Skellig.  This is another loop road off of the Ring of Kerry.  The buses can’t use this road as it is too narrow.  In a couple of places the road was really narrow with red  fuschia bushes growing ten feet high along each side.  We stopped at a beach in Ballinskelligs and took a short walk.  This stop was not on the Rich Steves tour.  Soon we were on Finnan’s Bay and found our B&B called Beach Cove.  Aptly named.  As I type this I am looking out the window of my bedroom at the tide coming into the cove.  When we got here this afternoon, the tide was out.  It is high tide now.  Until just the last few minutes there have been surfers catching the waves as the tide comes in.

 It was only 1:30 when we got here so we parked at the beach across the street and I came over to talk to the owner who was sitting on the stone wall in front.  He checked with his wife and our room was ready.  Or should I say rooms.  We each have our own bedroom with a shared bath.  My bedroom faces the ocean and Erin’s is in the back.  So we moved in.  While we were moving in the owner called and got us a reservation to go to Skellig Michael tomorrow.  It is an island we can see from the cove and is almost solid rock.  More on that tomorrow. 

We left for Portmagee which is normally a 12 minute trip, took us over an hour and a half because of all the great scenery.  We drove up and over another pass from which you could see the ocean on both sides.  Going down the other side we pulled into a private landholding that advertised the best view in County Kerry.  Rick Steves said it is worth the 4 EUR it costs so we went.  It did not disappoint.  At the end of a ten minute walk we stood at the top of 1000 foot cliffs with the closest view of the Skellig and Puffin Islands.  With soaring and nesting kittiwakes (birds), the wind and the pounding surf, the tilted layers of rock with clefts of green I wished I was an artist.  Since I am not, I just took pictures.  We drove through  Portmageet Valencia Island and went to the Skellig Experience which is an exhibit and movie that explains all about the Skellig Islands.  Then we went back to Portmagee and walked down the main street which took about 5 minutes.  We checked out places to eat as there is no place close to the B&B.  We decided to get “Toasted” sandwiches at the deli and take them to the picnic table down by the pier.  Erin got ham and cheese and I got tuna.  We got potato salad and cole slaw too.  It was great to sit in the sun and eat.  Then we headed back to Finnan’s Bay.  When we got there we sat out front and read for a bit.  We looked at high tide and worked on blogs.  We went back out to look at the cove and then worked on blogs.  We skyped with Larry for a short while and then I finished posting my blog.
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Comments

Toni on

Oh, how beautiful. Looks like you and Erin are seeing some really fantastic scenery.

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