Thanks for tuning into Part 2 of the Ring of Kerry! After narrowly avoiding a tour bus of people at Leacanabuaile, Joseph and I headed back onto the road towards Portmagee. Portmagee is a village in County Kerry that is part of the Iveragh Peninsula. The big draw to Portmagee is Skellig Michael, which is an island off the coast. It is a rocky island in the ocean known for its monastic settlement. You also may recognize it from the 7th Star Wars movie, as well, not to give anything away, the last scene of the movie takes place here. As a result, tours to visit this UNESCO World Heritage site can book 6 weeks to 3 months in advance. No wonder the ferry guy laughed at us when we asked about setting foot on the island! You can take a 3 hour ferry around the island, but Joseph and I both decided it wasn’t going to be worth our time to do it, especially if we didn’t get to set foot on the island.
We were a bit bummed about Skellig Michael, but I guess that means we will have to go back! Instead, we hit the road and went to what the signs kept saying as ‘The Best View in County Kerry‘ – the Kerry Cliffs. This is all part of the ‘Wild Atlantic Way‘ so you really can’t miss the cliffs. Sure we just spent the entire day yesterday at the Cliffs of Moher, but who would complain about seeing more cliffs?! I grew up in flat-as-day Illinois. If I saw a hill in Illinois, I was shocked – so needless to say cliffs, mountains, giant hills will thrill me. OH, and you have an amazing view of Skellig Michael from these cliffs!
The Kerry Cliffs are owned by a family named the O’Donoghue’s. They offer stunning views of Skellig Michael and Puffin Island. Puffin Island is an uninhabited island save for, you guessed it, Atlantic Puffins and other birds. It is exceedingly steep and rocky, much like Skellig Michael. With the cliffs standing over 1000 feet high over the Atlantic, the 4 Euro fee is well worth it.
What is steep, however, is the path up there. Man oh man, was it
a bit of a hike to get up the path! Luckily the family has built a nice path on the two giant cliffs sides you can walk up. They have added rails, observation deck and telescopes, and tables if you need to rest or have a picnic. However, it is extremely windy up there, so hold onto your meals! Although I may have complained a bit to Joseph about climbing up, again I thought it was all worth it. I think our pictures speak for themselves!
There is a little cafe and restaurant on the Kerry Cliffs, so we stopped there for some lunch. I got a hot chocolate to go, and we hit the road yet again. THANK YOU JOSEPH! I haven’t really driven in years, thanks to living abroad and in the city of Chicago. Joseph took it upon himself to drive, in a foreign country AND on the opposite side of the road. What a keeper! There were some scary twists, turns, and hills we had to go straight up, but they don’t call it the ‘Wild Atlantic Way‘ for nothing! We got a bit turned around and headed towards the water, and ended up at Ballinskelligs Beach! At least, I am pretty sure it was Ballinskelligs Beach. Either way, it was a great stop to break up the driving and snag some great photos.
Our last stop on our personal Ring of Kerry Tour was Staigue Stone Fort. Staigue is a fort made during 300-400AD. Part of it is now in ruins, but at the time it was supposedly a defensive stronghold for a lord. It is certainly impressive that it has lasted all these years, considering there is no mortar keeping the stones together. It gets as high as 18 feet, and you can walk, climb, and stand up on the fort. There were little kids braver than me climbing to the top. I was too much of a chicken to climb real high, but I watched everyone walk around. I am sure the view was just lovely, but I really wanted to make it to the wedding! And, while we didn’t play hide and seek this time, I did crawl into one of the ‘doorways’.
After Staigue Stone Fort, Joseph and I made our way to Kenmare, which was to be our home-base for the next couple days for the wedding! Stay tuned for more #ErinGoBroad!