Joseph and I left Ennis basically at dawn to get on the road. Today was going to be a long day in the car as we were headed towards Kenmare. I also started the morning by taking a freezing cold shower via the sink because I couldn’t figure out how to work the shower. A very long day indeed…. Kenmare is a beautiful town on the south-western coast where my friend Amelia was getting married. We decided to head there via The Ring of Kerry! I had never heard of the Ring of Kerry, but thanks to Rick Steves and Joseph’s mom, this was added to our trip! Joseph’s mom gave him Rick Steve’s Ireland: Best of Ireland guidebook when she found out we were going. It definitely changed our trip for the better!
The Ring of Kerry is a long circular route in County Kerry. While it is very touristy, it is simply beautiful and our host in Ennis had done it like seven times! He absolutely loves doing it and thinks it is something everyone should do! (And, so do I!) Just like the Cliffs of Moher, there are plenty of tour companies and buses that do day trips around the ring. Most people make Kenmare their home base for the trip, but start with Killarney and go clockwise on the N7. Joseph and I went counter-clockwise instead, per Rick Steve’s instructions to avoid the tour buses.
Touring the Ring of Kerry, whether by car or by bus, can be a long day. You should plan around 8 hours between driving, stopping, taking photos, etc. However, if you do decide to drive, this trek definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. For most of the trip, you will be winding up and down hills, mountains, turning around tree-covered corners, oh and it is a ONE CAR ROAD. That’s right, for some reason the roads in this part of Ireland fit one car. One. Car. And you have giant coach buses doing this route as well. Luckily there are little areas where you can quickly pull off to the side to let a car pass, so it is “somewhat safe.” By “somewhat safe” I mean your are
hurtling cruising at 100km an hour around bends, corners covered in trees, and cliffs. We sang a little prayer song basically every time we turned a corner (which was a lot!) to so pleas make sure there was no car coming round the corner. It was intense and luckily we made it safe and sound!
As we were coming from Ennis, we decided to skip Killarney for timing and to not have to backtrack. Along the route there are some picture points where you can stop your car and get some pictures, especially along the coast. We stopped at one of these to snag a few photos. Then we headed to our official first stop – Cahergal and Leacanabuaile Stone Forts. They are situated outside of Cahirsiveen.
Cahergal and Leacanabuaile are a short walk from each other, surrounded by sheep and farms. It is easy to visit both during your tour of the Ring of Kerry. They are free to the public, however there is a suggestion donation for you to make if so inclined. Cahergal Stone Fort was built around 600AD, with walls as high as 6 meters high. Laecanbuaile dates back to 800-900 AD and is believed to be an early Christian farming community.We may or may not have placed a little bit of hide and seek in Laecanbuaile (unbeknownst to Joseph!). Sure, it may not be Stonehenge, but I really enjoyed it!
We left the fort right as a tour bus arrived and continued on our way through the Ring Of Kerry, Stay tuned for part 2 of the Ring of Kerry in #ErinGoBroad.