The Ring of Kerry driving tour is another popular Irish attraction, and one we weren’t going to miss. Having been warned to travel counter-clockwise, in the direction of the tour coaches, to avoid having to make any tight passes, we started in Kilorglin and headed South.
The Ring started out a little underwhelming, after some of the sights we’d seen already in this rather spectacular part of the world. We briefly stopped in a town called Cahersiveen, which was creepily quiet and empty, with lots of shops closed down. Not finding anywhere we felt like having lunch, we moved on and stopped in Waterville, apparently once home to Charlie Chaplin’s parents. We splurged on $40 worth of fish and chips, which were very satisfying, which was a relief given the significant financial outlay. While not as desolate-looking as Cahersiveen, we still found Waterville oddly empty, and it was bizzare to see a ‘fun fair’ set up beside the road, one or two rides dejectedly spewing diesel fumes while being ridden by one or two people. Weird.
With the day getting well away from us, we decided it was time to go on the hunt for a place to stop for the night. I picked an arbitrary road and drove for a little while; We found an absolutely fantastic place to park, a spot on the side of the tiny road on a cliff-ette beside the water, strewn with colourful wildflowers and with a view over the surrounding mountains.
We watched the sun go down, a contained explosion of orange peeking through the dense cloud layer, above the distant mountains.
On our second day, the Ring of Kerry picked right up. The road wound up above our waterside overnight spot to reveal a great view over the area:
Further along, the stunning views kept coming.
We stopped by the road for lunch (our tried and true staple of toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches, done in the frying pan), and continued into Killarney National Park.
Along with the beauty of the landscape, the number of tourists grew, leading to the frustrating inevitability that whenever we wanted to pull over to take a closer look at something, any place to stop was taken up by other cars. While trying to turn Nettle around after failing to find a park at one such place, I casually drove her into a rock fence, putting a dent in her back left side, which left me quite mortified and distressed. Damn!!
Anyway, we drove on and made one quick stopover to take a peek at Lough Leane:
We found a parking area with room for us to stop in, and went on a couple-hour walk along a track we found, which led to the quite pretty Torc waterfall. Lots of loud tourists and sandflies, though!
We pulled into a nicer car park around the corner and parked up for the night. Bulmers cider, chocolate, pasta and Alias.
Next day, we visited the town of Killarney, which turned out to be a bit cheesy and touristy for our liking. So, our ferry booking approaching, it was time to start heading eastwards, leaving Kerry.