We drove our way through the Southern tip of the peninsula with a stop at the coastal town of Ballinskelligs. This town isn't actually on the Ring of Kerry, but it was an important side trip for us. My great-grandmother was born here and lived in the town until her late teens, when she moved to the US and never looked back. Her mother and father stayed behind in the house and her brother later returned to build a new cottage on the site. Their immediate family is now all deceased, but there is a new family in the house. They use the original house as a storage place for their peet. We stopped in the town and got directions to the farm from the most helpful woman and found it with no problems, although the family wasn't there (they were in the next big town at the parade . . . oh great, another parade!) How neat it was to be witness to this piece of my family history. You can get back onto the Ring from here quite easily, so we continued on our way.
Cahersiveen was the next big town on our map. We knew we would be running into some congestion here because they told us about the parade back in Ballinskelligs. And sure enough, we were driving the parade route again. Luckily, a policeman gave us a detour route just above the main road which took us away from the crowds and parade. The remainder of the Ring of Kerry route didn't give us many stops, but we did get some amazing views of the Dingle Bay and Peninsula across the water. The water appeared to be bright blue, it was so beautiful.
We drove our way back to Killarney and decided to go back to Muckross for one last look and to see the Torc waterfall, which we missed on our first way around. The waterfall can be accessed at a clearly marked right turn off of the road. There is a small car park and the falls are about a 100 meter walk up an incline. You can also climb even higher up a number of stairs to the top of the falls. We expected another view of the falls from this vantage, but none came about. It is at this point where you can join three walking trails which lead in various directions. A couple we met told us that we could walk all the way to Kenmare if we wanted to. It was then that we decided to come back with our backpacks someday!
Information on the Ring of Kerry can be accessed through these websites: