From our base in Killarney, we took ourselves off on a day-trip around the Ring of Kerry in the south-west of Ireland.  The main route is 179km long, although there are some detours that can be made on windy country roads, but only by cars.

Click on map to magnify

Driving in an anti-clockwise direction around the ring, our first scenic stop was where the road meets the sea on the north coast of this peninsula, just past the villages of Glenbeigh and Rossbehy.

View across to the Dingle Peninsula

There are plenty tour groups on large coaches also making this trip, but they have to stick to the main drag…making the windy country roads a pleasurable escape from those pesky big buses.  Our first little foray was to Valentia Island, reached by bridge from Portmagee.  Valentia is the site where the first permanent telegraph communication line joining Europe to the USA from 1866 and was used until 1966.

From Valentia Island looking south across to Portmagee

View to the north-east of Valentia Island from a spot called Bré

Valentian sea cliffs

Across the Foilhummeram Bay to the Skellig Islands

The village of Portmagee

Continuing along the coastal track from Portmagee, we stopped in at “The Best View of the Skellig Islangs”.  Not a free view, but a good view nevertheless.

Amazing cliffs at the Skellig Island view-point

View past the cliffs and out to the Skelligs

The smaller of the two islands is called “Little Skellig”, and rather imaginatively the larger one is called “Great Skellig” or, more interestingly, “Skellig Michael”.  It plays host to a Gaelic monastery, founded around the 7th Century and, since 1996, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Skellig Islands

Rejoining the main ring route we stopped at the car park at Coomatloukane, where we viewed the Lohar Ring Fort on one side, and the beautiful view across Iskaroon to the south.

Gorgeous views south of Coomatloukane car park

Caherdaniel Ring Fort

We also stopped in at Staigue Ring Fort, before heading up to Moll’s Gap and then onto Ladies View.  Ladies View is named so after the admiration shown by Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting at this location whilst on their visit to Ireland in 1861.

Ladies View to the west

Ladies View to the east and the Lakes of Killarney

August, 2010