Written by atherts on 11 Aug, 2006
Ballyferriter is a small village nestled in a green valley between the hill of Croaghmarhin to the south and the peaks of Sybil Head and the Three Sisters to the north. To the east, Smerwick Harbor has a two mile long stretch of sandy beach…Read More
Ballyferriter is a small village nestled in a green valley between the hill of Croaghmarhin to the south and the peaks of Sybil Head and the Three Sisters to the north. To the east, Smerwick Harbor has a two mile long stretch of sandy beach called Béal Bán. To the west, the Atlantic is side has rocky cliffs, with small coves and beaches just right for smuggling. The town has a hotel and a few pubs. There are numerous cottages and a few B&Bs around the town. Most shopping is done in Dingle although An Cat Dubh or the Black Cat is a small shop with essentials is located to the West of town. To the east Tigh Bhric has a restaurant, a gas station and a small shop. There is a church and a museum in Ballyferriter that are worth visiting too.There is much to do in the area, and many short driving, walking and biking trips lie in all directions. I’d recommend purchasing a book like The Dingle Way (Rucksack Reader). There are some good local maps available for a small amount that show most of the ancient sites and ruins on the peninsula. These are available in many shops in Dingle and are a must if you’re looking for sites of this nature. Following are some basic directions to sites in the area.Half a mile along the road north out of Ballyferriter is a small road to the left saying to Béal Bán. To the left along the beach are some houses. 500 yards away, turn right to Dún an Óir, (the Fort of Gold). Driving from Ballyferriter take the Dunquin road and turn to the right after about half a mile where there are signposts to the Dún an Óir hotel. At a junction turn right and then right again for the fort.To the west of the fort rise the three peaks known as the Three Sisters. Below Doon Point lies Ferriter's Cove, and here in the cliff-face can be seen a series of shell middens, which are the earliest known archaeological remains on the Dingle Peninsula. Excavated during the 1980s, the site showed the characteristic piles of shells, together with hearths and charcoal, and it yielded finds of wild pig and deer bones, fish bones and stone tools.The roads north and east from Ballyferriter leads into an area concentrated with early Christian settlement ruins. A short distance from Ballyferriter lies Reask; one-and-a-half miles from Reask is the cross-slab of a settlement at Lateevemanagh. A mile from Lateevemanagh is Templenacloonagh, and both Kilcolman and St. Manchan's lie about a half-mile over the hill. The oratory of Gallarus is only half a mile from Templenacloonagh and a mile from Kilmalkedar church. Cráilí is less than a mile-and-a-half from Kilmalkedar, and Reenconnell is less than a mile distant. Ten early Christian sites lie in a small area of land. Close
Written by atherts on 10 Aug, 2006
The picturesque Slea Head Drive goes from Dingle around the Dingle Peninsula and returns back to Dingle. On the way you’ll pass through several small towns, including Ventry, Dunquin, and Ballyferriter. The views around Ventry and Dunquin are the most spectacular, but do benefit significantly…Read More
The picturesque Slea Head Drive goes from Dingle around the Dingle Peninsula and returns back to Dingle. On the way you’ll pass through several small towns, including Ventry, Dunquin, and Ballyferriter. The views around Ventry and Dunquin are the most spectacular, but do benefit significantly with some good weather.Heading north out of Dingle, continue on the roundabout following the signs to Slea Head. Take your time and drive slowly. The roads are very narrow and winding, and often walkers and bikers are around the next corner. There are sites to see along the way, including the Fahan Beehive huts, Dunbeg Stone fort and the Famine Cottage.
Near Ventry, keep an eye out for boats in the harbor. The last time we passed through there was a large three-masted sailing ship at anchor. You can park down by the water in a car park halfway through town. The bathrooms were terrifying, so don’t stop for that purpose.
Outside of Ventry, the road begins to climb, and you rise higher away from the water. Take advantage of turnouts to stop and take pictures. Late afternoon towards sunset is a nice time to be on Slea Head for pictures. Slea Head itself is marked by a statue of the Crucifixion. At this point, the road is barely one lane and can be scary if you meet a tour bus or another car. A short distance down the road is a small parking area just above Dunquin. This is the best spot to park for viewing the scenery and pictures. To the Northwest are the Blasket Islands. Directly ahead the water crashes into the bay below. Near sunset, the light is fantastic and falls across the islands and hills.
Down the road a short distance is a large gift shop with some interesting items and decent prices. At this point you’re probably ready for a pint or cup of tea and a scone. There are several small cafes, gift shops, and pubs in and around Dunquin that will serve those needs. Kruger’s, in Dunquin, pours a good pint, or you could wait and try one of the pubs in Ballyferriter. We had some of the best food we’d eaten in Ireland in Ballyferriter in 2002. Sadly, that pub is closed, replaced by a hotel where I ate some bad beef and kidney pie. All along the way from Dunquin to Ballyferriter there are wonderful photo opportunities, including the Ryan’s Daughter cove, the Dunquin pier, and Clougher Head.Take side roads if the mood strikes you. You can’t really get lost as all roads, head back towards Dingle or a main road.Continue on through Ballyferriter by Tigh Bhric pub and towards the Gallarus Oratory. Follow the signs back towards Dingle that take you up and over the hills. Watch for Rahinnane Castle to the West after you start your descent.This is a route you can take many times while you are in the area and always see or discover something new.
Written by atherts on 03 Aug, 2006
It all started with the All-Ireland Gaelic football match which we watched on a Sunday at the hotel bar in Ballyferriter. We’d stopped in earlier in the day for a quick pint, and chatted awhile with the Polish bartender. We thought that experiencing Gaelic football…Read More
It all started with the All-Ireland Gaelic football match which we watched on a Sunday at the hotel bar in Ballyferriter. We’d stopped in earlier in the day for a quick pint, and chatted awhile with the Polish bartender. We thought that experiencing Gaelic football in a Gaelic speaking area wiht a Polish bartender would be a fun and enlightening experience, and it was.We arrived early to secure a good seat, and found one just to the right of the large screen television, but still back far enough to see well. We ordered pints, and throughout the match a few more pints and lunch. I opted for a beef and kidney pie while the ladies settled for more standard fare. The pie was large, tasted delicious and even had a chunk of black pudding on top for decoration. As the match progressed, my insides began to express disquiet. The disquiet was compounded by Kerry losing to Tyrone, but it was a great match altogether and very entertaining to watch the crowd as well as the game.I skipped dinner that evening as the internal distress continued. It reached a climax in the early hours of the morning with a total systems purge. In the morning it was obvious that I had food poisoning. I can’t say for sure, but I blame it on the black pudding atop the pie.The ladies took off and left me to sleep and visit the bathroom at alternating intervals. By mid afternoon I felt better and was retaining fluids at both ends, and by late afternoon I needed to walk around in the fresh air. The weather had cleared and the sun was partially obscured through the clouds. Perfect for taking pictures! I gathered my camera equipment and put on outdoor clothing and boots. Imagine my distress and irritation when I tried the front door and realized I’d been locked in. Not only abandoned by the ladies, but locked in to boot. The door lock was unable to be opened from the inside. Not exactly good in case of fire, but it being a concrete block building and usually raining, that probably wasn’t a concern. The back door was sealed with tape to keep out the wind and appeared to be nailed shut as well. I set about examining the windows and found that the back bedroom window had no screen and was large enough to permit me to escape. I wrote a note explaining my situation. I think it read something like “Gone out for a walk, please don’t lock me in next time”. I had to drop the camera bag out the window first and then squeeze through the narrow opening and fall/hop out onto the grass. I shut the window behind me, and ventured out into the wind and sun.I had in mind to visit a spot that we’d gone to last year. Just down the paved road a few yards from the Suantra Cottages was a dirt road leading North towards the bay. It was a fairly easy walk, and wasn’t overly taxing on my delicate constitution. The road passed between green fields and jogged to the right sharply and ended in a large stone fenced area. The water was clearly visible, and the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks was very loud. Seabirds wheeled overhead adding their voices to the sea and wind. I walked out carefully as I remembered large sink holes from the prior excursion. Abruptly a large hole appeared underfoot about four feet in diameter. It dropped down about 30 feet into water below. Evidently the sea had eroded the rock and penetrated about 50 feet inland. If one had gone down the hole, there would be little chance of surviving the fall let alone the watery end awaiting. I tried not to think about other holes yet undiscovered but waiting as I walked out towards the water's edge. The ground dropped away abruptly below to a rocky beach with larger boulders offshore. Sybil Head was visible in the distance ahead, and to the right Clougher Head enclosed the bay. The waves crashed in heavily on the rocks, shooting high into the air and creating plumes of spray. The sun sank lower and shone between clouds, creating a red and gold light. I wandered along the shoreline, taking pictures of the waves, sun, rock and cliffs.Eventually my wife joined me, no doubt figuring that’s where I had gone. She wandered further West and down onto the rocky beach. She started digging amongst the soft rock and found several stones containing fossils of shells and sea plants. Further excavations revealed more and she began filling her pockets with interesting bits of rock, shells and wood. This is typical behaviour. In an earlier excursion on the Beara Peninsula she had found several geodes along the rocky shoreline. I tried to find something interesting, but she seemed to have the knack, so I returned to the camera and scenery. We continued our mutually exclusive excavations and picture taking until the sun sank to low to see well. Treading carefully, we skirted the sinkholes found and unfound and trekked back to the road and then to the cottage.Examination of the bits collected by my wife, and the myrid of photos proved it a successful venture, and one to be repeated again next time we returned to Ballyferriter. Close
Written by ladyanne47 on 06 May, 2006
The colorful store fronts and buildings in the many villages of Ireland in general are enjoyable to see and visit. County Kerry has many to offer and some of the best shopping are in those villages.My favorite village is Dingle, on the Dingle Peninsula. It…Read More
The colorful store fronts and buildings in the many villages of Ireland in general are enjoyable to see and visit. County Kerry has many to offer and some of the best shopping are in those villages.My favorite village is Dingle, on the Dingle Peninsula. It is situated on Dingle Bay, and you can get to it by either going over the Conor Pass on R560 or by N86 from Tralee. Another Route is R561 from Castlemaine along the Dingle Bay. Conor Pass is not recommended in the winter or in bad weather. Dingle is a lively town full of pubs, restaurants, and great shopping.I also love Kenmare at the mouth of the Kenmare River between the Beara and Iveragh Peninsulas and Castleisland that is the hub of many routes including N21, N23 and R577. A gorgeous and lively town—wonderful at night.The small village of Anascaul has some famous charming pubs, especially "Dan Foley's" which is painted a bright pink and royal blue. Tralee is quite large and market day is busy with narrow crowded streets. We tried to find a parking space but had to just keep driving on through.We had a fun memory of Kenmare's market day, only one person showed up with a huge bulk of carrots and a few root vegetables sitting on the pavement. Quill's Market is on the town square also and it is always a great place to find a good bargain on Irish woolens and gifts.There is a nice pub in Milltown called "Larkins" and Killorglin is a cute busy village also. Of course, Killarney is a favorite with many travelers, but a bit too touristy for me. I know I have only touched on just a few, but these are the ones I know of the most and like the best. See which you can discover!!! Close
Dunquin, or Dún Chaoin in Irish, is a small town on the Dingle Peninsula. It is on the Slea Head drive just north of Slea Head. The town is fairly spread out along the drive and includes a pub and some small cafés. The area…Read More
Dunquin, or Dún Chaoin in Irish, is a small town on the Dingle Peninsula. It is on the Slea Head drive just north of Slea Head. The town is fairly spread out along the drive and includes a pub and some small cafés. The area is in the Gaeltacht, or Irish-speaking area, and is the most westerly point in Europe. The population changes with the tourist season, but there are about 150 voters registered, so it is not crowded. Dunquin is often referred to as the “next parish to America”. Dunquin is overlooked by Mount Eagle (1,659 feet), which rises to the north of Slea Head.Kruger’s Pub in Dunquin is a great place to catch a pint and look out the windows over the ocean. There is occasional music, and it's a hangout for locals. Dunquin also has a few excellent cafes for a quick bowl of soup or sandwich. Many of these are also gift shops and or museums.Just offshore from Dunquin are the Blasket Islands. A small boat makes a trip several times a day to carry visitors to the main island in good weather. If you have the time, this is a highly recommended excursion. See my journal for Blasket information. In 1588, when the Spanish Armada returned near Ireland, many ships sought shelter in the Blasket Sound, the area between Dunquin and the islands, and some were wrecked there. A memorial is located on the cliff overlooking the site. The Islanders did well from the salvage of wrecked ships over the years that the island was inhabited.It is famous as the place of birth of the Irish language author, Peig Sayers. There is a small graveyard with a view of the Blasket Islands, where Sayers lived where she is buried. The Blasket Centre (see Blasket Centre journal), or Ionad an Bhlascaoid Mhóir in Irish (you might as well get used to it, as most of the signs in this area are in Irish), tells the story of the Blaskets and the myriad of island writers, including Peig Sayers, Tomás Ó Criomhthain author of The Island Man, and Muiris Ó Súilleabháin author of Twenty Years A Growing. The Great Blasket was abandoned in 1953, after most of the population was deemed too old to safely make the passage between the island and Dunquin and Dingle. The population had dwindled to 22 people. Most of the population relocated to Dunquin.There are a number of summer cottages and B&Bs in the area, and it is much less expensive than the Dingle area and gives you quicker access to the Slea Head area. Close
Written by atherts on 15 Jul, 2004
The Blaskets are islands off the coast of Ireland that were home to some of the most hearty and creative people in Ireland, and that's saying a lot. The Great Blasket was abandoned in 1953 as the youth left the island, mostly for America, and…Read More
The Blaskets are islands off the coast of Ireland that were home to some of the most hearty and creative people in Ireland, and that's saying a lot. The Great Blasket was abandoned in 1953 as the youth left the island, mostly for America, and the remaining population could not sustain itself because of the conditions required to survive on the island.First, read any and all books you can lay your hands on by the writers from the island. I'd recommend "Island Man", "Peig" and "20 Years A Growing" to start.Second, visit The Blasket Centre in DúnChaoin (Dunquin) before going. You'll appreciate it more, and be able to identify the houses and landmarks. If you can't purchase the books before, they are available at the Centre with many others. Reading them will add immensely to the experience!You must travel to the island by boat. This can be from Dingle or Dunquin. Dunquin is the shortest distance. These are not the tar and canvas boats used by the islanders, but almost as rough. You'll take a 12-man fishing boat out to the island (about three miles) from Dunquin. Then you'll board a small rubber raft that holds 8 people to the pier. It hasn't changed since 1953, and you'll see why the raft is necessary. No boat could get close without breaking up on the rocks. The ride is rough, even on a good day and many days the tours are canceled because of the weather. While we were there the tour was only open three days out of the week. If you don't like bouncy boat rides, are prone to seasickness or rough water, stay away!Once on the island you are free to explore the houses, cliffs, and coves. There is an abundance of birds and wildlife, mostly rabbits, sheep, seagulls and other sea birds. Puffins and seals are there some of the year but we didn't see any.The Great Blasket is about 1/2 mile by 4 miles. You can hike/walk the length and back in a day. If you have the time and fortitude, I'd recommend it as it gives a better perspective of the island. Wear good hiking boots if you intend to do this. The paths are rough and rocky.You can stay overnight, but the conditions are primitive and there is no guarantee of getting off the island the next day. The books tell of a month of more where no one came on or off the island because of the weather and heavy seas.The day we went it was sunny with high clouds and a stiff wind, probably about 30-40 miles per hour on the highest points. Enough to be glad for the waterproof windbreaker (thanks Columbia Sportswear!). It would be pretty miserable if it were raining, although I doubt that you'd be able to get out there anyway.We only ventured as far as the first high point above the houses and then to the North and back along the shoreline. This killed most of the four hours we were planning to spend. The climb up was very taxing. The walk along the shoreline was easier, but very dangerous because of the drop off to the water.Because the boat only hold 12 at a time, you are given a return time on your ticket. Some people ignore this and try to get on the boat regardless of what their ticket says. We followed the rules and were at the pier in adequate time to see the boat approach. A number of German tourists came down and started crowding to the front. Many of the people waiting were American (to polite to protest) and older. Two of the Germans got in front of us and boarded the raft along with four others. The raft only holds 8 with 2 being the crew. More Germans were behind us and were trying to push past us as the raft returned. Being younger, brash and not wanting to wait, we didn't let them pass. They began yelling "no queue culture" and began to trying to push us out of the way. We were able to get to the raft and four Germans followed us leaving the rightful boarders to wait another hour or more for the next boat.We contemplated throwing the queue crashers overboard halfway across, but figured it might cause us to be regaled as heros by the crew and passengers and delay our anticipated pint. We settled for dirty looks and snarls at the Germans and pushed them out of the way to exit the boat. A long hike up the path sharpened our thirst and the first Guinness went down a treat! Close
Written by dglawless on 20 Mar, 2001
We took the train in from Dublin to Killarney. The train ride cost about $40 US roundtrip. The cars held about 35 people and we were seated in "booth" type tables. The train ride itself was an experience. There was a "hen party" on board…Read More
We took the train in from Dublin to Killarney. The train ride cost about $40 US roundtrip. The cars held about 35 people and we were seated in "booth" type tables. The train ride itself was an experience. There was a "hen party" on board going to Killarney for the weekend. I found out that this is a popular term for a pre-wedding party for women. The bride to be and about 15 of her friends were on board. They were certainly out for a weekend blow out which clearly started the minute the train left the Dublin station. There was a great deal of drinking, singing and fun on the train and we were entertained quite well on our voyage to Killarney.
The country side on the way was exquisite. We passed several small towns and rural areas. Since it was the beginning of September we saw many farmers out starting the harvest of the crops. I couldn't help but notice how similar it was to my home state of Kentucky.
When we left Killarney to head back to Dublin on Sunday, the "hen party" was on board also. It was a much quieter ride home and many of the members of the party look a little worse for the wear. They did seem to have a wonderful time and it was a great deal of fun being an observer.
Written by emptynest on 04 Jun, 2005
We learned a new appreciation of Ireland with this train trip from Killarney to Dublin. It is 4 to 5 hours one-way and allows a snapshot of all of the small towns along the way. We did the "milk run," which leaves Killarney…Read More
We learned a new appreciation of Ireland with this train trip from Killarney to Dublin. It is 4 to 5 hours one-way and allows a snapshot of all of the small towns along the way. We did the "milk run," which leaves Killarney in the small hours of the morning and stops at each station. We brought our own breakfast along of cereal and fruit, but there is a vendor cart onboard (no dining car).
We met a lot of local folks who make this trip weekly. It was a great way to listen to their stories about their lifestyle and how similar and how different it is from life in the US. We met a boy who travels 6 hours one-way (from Dingle) to Dublin for medical treatment each week. We met college students on our way back from Dublin to Killarney headed to their home for a weekend. The people are open and welcoming and want to know about us as much as we wanted to know about them.
Written by kilroy was here on 23 May, 2003
The island with the very Spanish name is not a place of great sights and restaurants, but it's simply a picturesque little village and island. Pack a picnic on a sunny day and drive across the island to find your spot. Doesn't sound like much,…Read More
The island with the very Spanish name is not a place of great sights and restaurants, but it's simply a picturesque little village and island. Pack a picnic on a sunny day and drive across the island to find your spot. Doesn't sound like much, but it is sure worth the time invested. Close
Written by kilroy was here on 14 May, 2003
Killarney is quite a picturesque little town, just as it is described in the guide books. Don't be under any illusions though, it is not where you are going to find 'the real Ireland' (in all its quirkiness I hope you all understand what I…Read More
Killarney is quite a picturesque little town, just as it is described in the guide books. Don't be under any illusions though, it is not where you are going to find 'the real Ireland' (in all its quirkiness I hope you all understand what I mean). This is a tourist town. Period.
The town boosts a quite busy shopping street, with a couple of fantastic restaurants. The shopping is very expensive. My tip would be to save your money and spend it in the major cities of Dublin or Cork instead.
Beware if you are travelling with kids, with its narrow streets and quite a few cars and tourists, it is not very stroller accessible and if going on a weekend . . . well . . . just try to avoid the weekends if you have a stroller.
As a summary, yes, you should see Killarney but don't plan for a too long stay. There are so many beautiful cities and sights around Killarney that you are much better off seeing.