The Ring of Kerry! Part 1

Trip Start Jan 02, 2011
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Trip End Jun 02, 2011


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Flag of Ireland  , County Kerry,
Friday, February 11, 2011

This weekend me and Kevin went on a trip to the Ring of Kerry that was sponsored by UCC. We went with dozens of other UCC kids so it was a great chance to meet a bunch of new people, some who are still good friends of mine. It's a shame I am writing this almost 3 months after our trip or I would certainly be able to write a more detailed account. 

After a good 2 hour bus ride we finally found ourselves on what could be considered the "Ring of Kerry" This is a scenic route that goes through the whole of the central peninsula in Kerry County. A lot of people consider this to be some of the most beautiful scenery in Ireland and a great way to see the "Old Ireland" as it use to be. We got onto the Ring of Kerry once we entered Killarney. Killarney is a beautiful little city surrounded by beautiful landscapes, namely the Killarney National Park which we had the pleasure of driving through. So many beautiful mountains and lakes and green fields. From there we made our way for a quick stop at Kerry Bog Village. It is a museum that is an exact replica of an old Irish Village from the 1800's. It was really neat. From there we made our way to Cahersiveen which was were we stayed for the weekend. On the way to Cahersiveen we enjoyed some of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. It was really special. 

 Once we got settled in at the Ring of Kerry hotel we all were given new roommates. I was put into a room with Peter and Brendan, both nice guys, and we hit it off pretty well the whole weekend. Kevin got paired up with Antoine who ended up becoming a good friend of ours. After getting to know each other for a little bit we headed down to the common room where our guide Mariam taught us some Irish dances. I was paired up with Anne Flowers who became a good friend, and we did the Walls of Limerick as well as a few other dances I can't remember. I wasn't as bad as I expected to be and we all had a load of fun doing it. Afterwards I went out with a bunch of kids from the trip and we made our way to some local pub. We were shocked to find out that the live music was actually American Country music night which was great we all had a lot of fun and the Irish in Cahersiveen all seemed to have a good time with us.

The next morning we set off for our first adventure. This was to be Valentia Island and Ballinskelligs. The night before we had met a farmer who spoke with us for a while at the hotel. He has a farm on nearby Valentia Island and invited us to come check out his place as he has some outstanding views from his farmland. He even started a mini-business offering tourists a chance to check out his land. definitely worth it. It was beautiful we drove around the whole Island as well. Once we got to his farm we hiked up this huge hill. It was us a chance to appreciate the rolling green hills, views into the water, and the massive sea cliffs. His farmland was unreal - absolutely beautiful. We also snuck into stable and saw a bunch of baby cows which was pretty cool. On the way back down we stopped at an old slate mine that was near his farm. Valentia Slate is very famous and was even used at Westminster Hall. I was able to grab a piece of the slate as a souvenir. 

After that we continued our drive on the western most part of the peninsula. We stopped to look at the Ballinskelligs which was mind blowing. The place we stopped at was right on the border of Valentia Island. Area was marked as Geokaun Mountain and Fogher Cliffs - One of my favorite sites in all of Ireland. We saw this huge inlet with massive cliffs that looked out to the famous Skelligs in the Atltantic where ancient monks use to call home. They stick out like huge rocks..hard to imagine people living on there. They were magnificent but unfortunately closed until the summer. Ballinskellig Bay offered some amazing views as well.

Noone really went out this night. Instead Miriam had organized a trivia night. We had teams of 5. Our team was Kevin, Anne, our new friend Alex Clapp and our new friend Juliana. We had some great moments - me messing up the Napoleon "an army marches on its stomach" quote because I was convinced it was Caesar, Alex putting down the "Colosseum" as the biggest national park in Europe. (as a joke) It was a lot of fun and we had a great time even thought we came in 3rd place. Alex won us a prize for having the most decorated score sheets though.
  
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