During early February, I had an old friend visit me from the states after his 3 week gruelling cycling tour from Malin Head in Donegal to Mizen Head in Cork. As his route never managed to successfully see any more of Kerry than some of Killarney National Park, he managed to ditch the bike for a few days and head out with me on a road trip around the ring of Kerry.
First stop was Torc Waterfall and the surrounding woodlands which offer a great view out over Killarney National Park. With the weather so frequently changeable in Ireland, bright blue skies change to misty bands of rain in a matter of minutes.
The best and worst thing about the Ring of Kerry is the amazing scenery all along the coast line, stunning to look at, but you'll find yourself pulling over every 5 minutes!
We managed to take a little stop at Derrynane Beach and as it was really windy and cloudy, the sky was changing at a great rate which opened up into some beautiful sunset light.
Back when I was in college, I hadn't realised that I shared classes with another islander until my final year. Brian was from Valencia Island and towards the end of college we built up a friendly rivalry. We decided to head out to Valencia as he gave us some recommended viewpoints since he couldn't be there personally to show us. The island is connected via bridge (so, not a real island 😜) but we took a short hike around some of the coastline to some spectacular views.
The views back towards the mainland are stunning. With sea spray and high winds adding a magical atmosphere to the headland.
Having gained further international attention from a certain space themed film, we managed to finally see the Skellig Islands. The UNESCO world heritage site is clearly visible from Valencia and with the weather changing again quickly, a big band of cloud would rise over them.
We continued on towards Rossbeigh Beach. Another beautiful spot on the northern coastline of the Ring of Kerry.
Our final stint back to Cork led us through the Gap of Dunloe. Being from an island, I am used to it being fairly remote and undeveloped, with all the ruggedness that the wild Atlantic Ocean throws at it. However, venturing through the Gap of Dunloe makes one feel like they have stepped back in time into an ancient land from mythological tales. I genuinely wouldn't have been surprised if a leprechaun jumped out behind a rock!
The road trip was a great excuse to see another part of the country that I had only seen a snippet of, despite going to college in Kerry for 4 years! I have recently been working on a film out in Allihies which lies on the Ring of Beara, and although I didn't have my camera with me, I will have to take a separate road trip out that way. From what I saw while working around that region for the week, I might even say it's more stunning than Kerry...hard to believe!
Here's to more good memories, Brett. We'll do it again in the future. 👊