A June 2004 trip
to County Kerry by thebigfella
Quote: Lakes, mountains, palatial mansions, picturesque views…Killarney, and the rest of Kerry have it all.
If the views were just "OK" and the lakes were "not bad" and the surrounding Mountains were "alright" then Killarney would probably be less populated with tourists and the trappings they attract, thus making it the perfect place to stay.
Unfortunately though, as Killarney is so full of tourists this bustling Irish City puts all her energy into providing tourists with an abundance of ways to part with their hard earned Euros. There are quaint little pubs playing "Traditional" music every 10 metres or so and these are interspliced with restaurants of every variety known to man. As I made my way down the high street I wondered where all the local people were that night and the answer was of course simple, they were here waiting the tables, cooking the food and playing the fiddles - either that or sensibly tucked up in bed.
Unfortunately, Killarney's Model Railway Museum has permanently closed its doors and contrary to virtually every guide book I've seen, is no longer operating. So it's a fond farewell to what was one of Europe's largest model railway displays.
In fact, seafood features quite heavily in this eclectic mix of traditional Irish and Irish-American meals. Chowder, Mussels and Soda Bread served in a homely atmosphere makes for an enjoyable night out. As you would expect, visitors from the US of A are regular diners here, but this is more to do with the reputation of serving hearty meals at reasonable prices than the obvious links this place has with the Firefighters of America.
Considering the number of people who were seated on the night we went, we were surprised at the efficiency of the waitering and kitchen staff. And there were a number of large parties in, so the feat was all the more impressive. Plus, there was always that twinkle in their eyes regardless of the obvious stress they were under!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 11, 2004
Killarney Town Centre
Attraction | "Dingle & The Beehive Houses"
One of the things to see are the Beehive Houses, which are to be found in a few locations dotted around the peninsula. These houses are made totally of stones piled on top of one another without any mortar or binding substance. Semi-spherical with a small opening on one side these small houses served as accommodation for monks, farmers, and even animals.
You can finish your afternoon with a trip to the Dingle Oceanworld, which is surprisingly good value with all the usual aquatic displays including a Touch Pool, complete with some large Stingrays and a Walk-through Tunnel. Entrance is 7.50 euros for adults and 4.50 for children.
To freshen up before your drive home stop off at Inch, a sand spit jutting out into Dingle Bay - a location used for the filming of Ryan's Daughter. The beach has about three miles of good clean sand with a surf-able one-metre swell!
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 2, 2004
Attraction | "The Ring of Kerry"
As there are so many coaches using this route, particularly from first thing in the morning, the drivers and bus companies have decided to tackle the road in a anti-clockwise direction. This means there are no altercations between buses heading in opposite directions, which have met head-on at a hairpin curve. All guide books do also recommend that the drivers of cars do the same to again prevent any unnecessary aggression between drivers.
We chose to drive clockwise and face the traffic head-on as it was a more appealing thought than to chug along behind a fully laden coach billowing fumes at me and constantly getting in the way. I'm glad we chose to go that way round as we only met 6 coaches and with courtesy and caution we all managed to enjoy the day. A tip is to leave just before lunch and have lunch somewhere en route. This way there are fewer coaches on the Ring and fewer people at the lookouts.
Another advantage to not taking a coach is that you are able to explore the minor roads that can take you up into the mountains or down to secluded bays and beaches. If you take the R565 you will find a bridge that will take you over to Valentia Island - once the most famous place in Ireland! In 1858 the first transatlantic telegraph cable transmitted from here directly to New York and thus history was made.
Lying just off the coast of Valentia are two islands, the Skelligs - Skellig Michael once being inhabited by monks. On good days when the weather is right you are able to take a boat trip across to Michael to climb the 600 steps up to the 6th century monastery and adjoining community. These buildings were in use for over 600 years before they abandoned and the monks moved to Ballinskelligs on the mainland. To book a trip or just to learn more of the monks see the Skellig Experience just across the bridge on the left-hand side on Valentia. To return to the mainland, use the bridge or for something a little different drive to the other end of the island and take the car ferry.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 3, 2004
Ring of Kerry
179 Km Circular Road
Kidderminster, United Kingdom