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County Kerry

IRELAND | Friday, 18 July 2014 | Views [2221]

Dingle Peninsula

Dingle Peninsula

THE SCENERY OF COUNTY KERRY TENDS TO OVERWHELM the senses; after all, there just aren't enough ways to say “cute.”  The rhododendron blossoms of June have fallen petal by petal only to be replaced by hydrangeas in every hue; Kerry must be the hydrangea capital of Ireland.  With everything that is in bloom it is no wonder that our allergies have kicked in.  A-a-choo!


   Kerry's hydrangeas

The Purple Heather B&B was a good choice.  It is within a stone’s throw of Killkarney but away from the race week mayhem.  Despite our cramped room it is charming and quiet with a comfortable lounge with good wi-fi.  Tim and Nora are attentive hosts and serve a “full Irish” if that’s your style, though we generally stuck with the healthier porridge option.  And the B&B is just off the Ring of Kerry, the 180 km circumnavigation of the Kerry Peninsula.


   Skelling Michael (in the distance)

Driving the narrow, twisting Ring is one of the main attractions in Kerry.  The scenery is spectacular with rolling pastures, sheer sea cliffs, fog shrouded islands and colorful pastel towns.  We added to the route with a diversion to Valencia Island and the Skellig Experience.  We didn’t actually visit the World Heritage monastery on Skellig Michael — the rough seas made the €50 boat trip seem absurd — but we did get a peek at the island from a good vantage point.


    Chris May and some of his work

The less popular but equally scenic Dingle Peninsula drive was more to our liking.  The tour buses avoided the even narrower roads so all we had to contend with were maniacal Audi and BMW drivers.  We stopped at the Blasket Island Centre, one of our Irish Heritage sites, to learn about the few hearty souls who called this island home before the government relocated them.  It was amazing to hear some of their stories and to learn that several residents have become famous from their memoirs.  And I had a chance to talk with Chris May, a very talented local photographer who both inspired me and reminded me of my limited talent.  


    Ancient stone ring

A turn on to any side road would result in chastisement from our SatNav but sometimes reward us with a new discovery.  Maybe a long-forgotten stone circle.  Or the  Gallarus Oratory, something we had never encountered.  This tiny but oh so snug, 8th Century monastery church was made entirely of stones with no mortar and not a drop of rain ever penetrates.  Or maybe just a simple cottage with a blue door.
















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