And you couldn’t really call it anything else you know…My favourite place on the tiny island I call home is the world famous Ring of Kerry - meandering lazily around the Iveragh Peninsula with dramatic views as you look out across the surging Atlantic, rugged mountains and miles of beautiful sandy beaches and quiet coves.
The Ring of Kerry is part of a mystical & unspoilt region of Ireland that has attracted visitors for hundreds of years. Its spectacular beauty is beyond question and it is a natural centre for outdoor pursuits including golf, water-sports, cycling, walking, riding and the very best fishing for salmon & trout. It has some of the finest beaches in Europe, providing all the facilities for a traditional seaside holiday (though the weather’s not guaranteed you understand – just ask the players at the Ryder Cup this weekend past).
But above all the Ring of Kerry provides an amazing insight into the ancient heritage of Ireland - from Iron Age Forts & Ogham Stones to Old Monasteries and a landscape carved out of rock by the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago.
Have I tempted you to visit yet???
If I have, then you might need a few pointers… Like knowing the route starts from Killarney (think Jaunting Cars & Bustling Tourist favourite)- then heads around the Iveragh peninsula and passes through places like Kenmare, Sneem, Waterville, Cahersiveen and Killorglin. Most popular points along the way to stop and ooh and ahh would include Muckross House (near Killarney), Staigue Fort and Derrynane House or how about just south of Killarney to see Ross Castle, Lough Leane, and Ladies View (a panoramic viewpoint begging for you to be at the forefront of a digital pic you can beam to all your friends across the planet!) – and all of this located within Killarney National Park too…. Heaven…
STILL got some sight-seeing energy left? Really???
Well then, there’s also an established, walking path named The Kerry Way, which takes its own route or you can take a signposted Ring of Kerry cycling path which uses older quieter roads where possible. The Kerry Way is the longest (215km) signposted walking trail in the Republic of Ireland, and passes through some of the most beautiful scenic areas of the country. It crosses a wide variety of terrain but, due to ongoing land access issues, avoids climbing the highest peaks of the mountains as it roughly follows the scenic driving route of the Ring of Kerry.
And you can vary your route if you’re an off the beaten track kinda traveller – just think what you could be missing! There’s St. Finian's Bay and Valentia Island which the official driving ring misses (though the official cycling route takes in Valentia island)- And Valentia is so worth visiting. I loved it so much when I spent a week there on a tour of Ireland that it’s where I set my July 2007 Romance book – Bride Of The Emerald Isle – so for Category Romance enthusiasts it would be like an ‘on-set’ visit, wouldn’t it?
Just one last thing I would say before I ask “Why aren’t you booking your flights yet???” - "The Ring" is an extremely popular day trip destination and numerous bus companies offer trips during the summer months. As the narrow roads make it difficult for tour coaches to pass (or anything that isn’t a bicycle and a tour bus as it happens…or a car and a Jeep... or maybe even just two cars...), all tour buses run in an anti-clockwise (or counter-clockwise) direction, travelling via Killorglin first. This means that my tip for your visit would be that car owners/drivers travel in the opposite direction, going first to Kenmare to avoid delays caused by tour buses (which also cuts out the fact that you have to watch the bus on front of you the whole time... and the whole kids waving out of the back windows thing...). And be brave. Be very brave. They aren’t kidding when they say some of those roads are narrow… I like the park or stay still and let them sort themselves out method myself…
So, there you go… The Kingdom of Ireland…Anyone wanna come visit???
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