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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.