Ireland – Ring of Kerry – April 19th

Saturday we had an Irish breakfast (complete with Black Pudding – aka. Blood pudding)- at Foley’s before walking around Kenmare a bit. Kenmare has lots of colorful buildings and fun shops to look in. Morgan bought a really nice wool tweed flat cap; though we were told he shouldn’t wear it while in Ireland because he would just look like a tourist.  From Kenmare we hopped on the N70- the Ring of Kerry. We drove through Sneem and Waterville before getting off the N70 to stay closer to the water and go a little further out the peninsula on the Skellig Ring.  We stopped at the Ballinskelligs Priory which is a monastery built in the 15th century. The buildings are in ruins but from the dates on the graves they still bury people here even today. The information sign was in Irish and English and Deborah read the Irish section to me – I wish I would have thought to video it!  Many of the letters are the same as our alphabet, but the pronunciation was very different – ie. B pronounced like V.

We continued along the Skellig Ring and stopped at the Kerry Cliffs – from here we could see Little Skellig and Skellig Michael. Skellig Michael (the larger of the two islands) had a Christian monastery on it from the 6th century until the late 12th century (when they moved to the Ballinskellig Priory that we visited earlier in the day).  I can’t imagine living 12 km out in the ocean on a small (only 54 acres), very rocky, steep sided (highest elevation is 220 m) island. Talk about living in isolation! The 12 monks and 1 abbot lived in 6 clochans (beehive huts made of flat stones laying on top of one another.. no mortar!) on the island. We were able to see replicas of the clochans on the island at the viewing point we stopped at. The Kerry Cliffs were beautiful and probably the most impressive we saw on our trip. Hopefully we’ll get to compare them to the Cliffs of Moher someday.

We kept driving on the Skellig Ring, going out to Valentina Island where we took the ferry from Knights Town back to the mainland. Once back on the Ring of Kerry we stopped in Cathersiveen for lunch at QC’s Seafood Restaurant. Morgan had seafood chowder and I got the crab sandwich – both were yummy! When we left Cathersiveen we followed the Ring on around until Killorglin where we broke off to go up to the Dingle Peninsula. We drove down the R561 which runs right next to the water and has beautiful views – including Inch Beach (which isn’t the most accurate name considering how huge it is! – so big you can drive your cars out on it).  Our next stop was Dingle; which was where we stayed for the night.

Dingle is a really colorful fishing village that also has a fairly big university so there are lots of pubs and restaurants. After walking around the shops and harbor I showed off my terrible pool skills at Paddy Bawn Brosnan’s and we watched some Gaelic Football on TV. Fun fact – Pierce Brosnan visited at some point – his picture was on the wall with the bar’s owner! Next we went to Foxy John’s which is half hardware store (on the right) and half bar (on the left). Here we tried Crean’s for the first time (the local Dingle brewed beer) and I think it is my favorite Irish beer. Then we headed across the street to J. Curran which is also part bar and part shop. Here we talked with a few locals and hung out with Ted- a super sweet golden doodle. We had dinner from a local take out/ fast food place that had the best fish and chips we’d ever had. No frozen fish at Kanon’s Korner- they had just brought the cod in on a boat and battered and fried it for us.. it was delicious! We were so glad our “quick and cheap” dinner turned out so good.

After dinner we met up with some of Shaun’s friends at McCarthy’s, where we added to their collection of foreign money with a $1 (one of a few Beth has given me for safe travels since we moved to Germany!) with “Go Tigers!”, a tiger paw, and “Morgan and Katie” written on it. If anyone stops by McCarthy’s be sure to look for our dollar bill!  Then it was on to the Dingle Pub (a regular pub on the inside with live music – the band sang Wagon Wheel!) and finally the Hillgrove which was a club with a DJ and waaayyyy too many people crammed inside! This was actually my first “club” experience in Europe – can you believe I haven’t been to Arlando (the huge club in Osnabruck) yet?  Hopefully we’ll get around to it this summer – maybe with Mathias (if we can sneak him in!)?

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