To get to the Ballycarbery Castle from the dirt patch used as a car park, you climb under a tied-up bit of barbedwire.
The cannon-blasted structure, which hasn't been home to much more than birds for hundreds of years, was built somewhere around 1569.
A quick Google search brings up plenty of history info!
Josh climbed the broken stairs to the second floor, Elisa was a little chicken, afraid the thing would crumble beneath her feet.
The Cahergal ring fort is accessible by dodging wet piles of cow shit as you hike a couple hundred feet up a small road from the car park. It's worth the smell!
The ring forts along this route are made up of stair-laden drystone walls, 12' thick at the base, up to 20' high.
They are about 80 feet accross.
They were built between 500 B.C. and A.D. 300, and would have taken 6 months for 100 men to construct.
Though there are a few theories, there is no written records of the reason behind these forts, so their purpose is really anyone's educated guess. Josh climbed the partially repaired ancient steps to the top of the walls, and though Elisa tried she got dizzy and turned into a blubbering mess. Fortunately Josh had the camera!
We missed the Derrynane House, which was the home of Daniel O'Connell, and were too pissed off at the stupid Ring of Kerry to turn around. We regretted this more and more everyday, as we learned Ireland's history and the role he played.
The weather turned sour and we ate our picnic (more lox!) in the car, looking over a foggy strand of beach, while a woman walked her Border Collie along the shoreline. It would occassionally leave his owner to chase a gull, making Elisa homesick for Arch Cape and puppy Emily.
Our final stop on the mood- and energy-destroying ring was the Staigue ring fort.
It has the same characteristics as the prior one, but with a lovely hillside view
and sheep roaming among the tourists. This one has also been renovated more.
After getting lost thanks to poor signage, we finally escaped the hellish ring, exhausted and cranky.
The Ring of Kerry is a highly overrated long stretch of road that may as well be avoided, unless you're looking to kill a few hours driving down a mostly viewless, narrow, curvy stretch of boring. There were a few highlights along the way that made it almost worth this stupidly famous waste of a vacation. What seemed like forever after beginning the ring, we finally hit the town of Cahersiveen, which pleased us due to the presence of SuperValue. At many of these stores (the small "supermarket" of Ireland) the charge you 15 Euro cents per plastic bag you take. Others, like this one, don't even offer them. They are SO far ahead of us environmentally, which I think is much due to the economics of waste. Anyway, we picked up a picnic, then headed to the nearbye ring fort and castle.