Round trip through Ireland | Counties Cork and Kerry

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My round trip through the Counties Cork and Kerry is now my second Ireland tour. This time I have chosen some nice destinations in the southwest of the island to explore Ireland. And one place fascinated me on this round trip through Ireland.

List of my destinations on the round trip through Ireland

  • Cork and Blarney Castle & Gardens
  • Kinsale – picturesque village on the Irish coast
  • Kenmare – „Jewel on the Ring of Kerry“
  • Cruise on the Ring of Beara on the Beara Peninsula
  • Beef of Kerry I. Rossbeigh – Killarney
  • Rind of Kerry II. Portmagee – Valentia Island
  • Michael the Sociable
  • Ring of Kerry III. Dublin – Dublin

Cork and Blarney Castle & Gardens

First of all, we will drive from Dublin airport to Cork by rental car. A relaxed drive as it goes over the motorway. I’ll be in Cork in less than three hours.

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Cork is not the destination for me, but only a place to stay overnight to continue from here. But I have chosen a place to visit near Cork: Blarney Castle with its beautiful gardens.

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Here I spend a beautiful day strolling through the various gardens and visiting Blarney House. Of course, it goes high. I’m going to climb the tower of Blarney Castle. From up here you can look over the whole area of Blarney Castle. Fantastic.

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Up here is also the Blarney Stone… When you kiss it, you get the gift of eloquence.

After an afternoon cake in the café, which is located in the old stables of the Castles, we return to the hotel. The trip to Blarney Castle is a great highlight of my trip through Ireland.

Kinsale – picturesque village on the Irish coast

Originally, Kinsale is a medieval fishing port. That’s where the name Kinsale – from the Irish Ceann tSaile – „Head of the Sea“comes from. It is now a picturesque village on the coast of Ireland.

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On my way from Cork to Kenmare I drive along the coast to make a short stopover in Kinsale.

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After a little refreshment in a cute café, I drive on. As I walk towards the car, I notice this sign. I have to laugh a lot.

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I get in the car, start the engine and have to think back to the sign. Why can’t such „commandment signs“ in Germany actually come across so sympathetically! But this thought quickly disappeared again and I enjoy the Irish landscape that opens up to me.

Kenmare – Jewel on the Ring of Kerry

After two and a half hours on the N 71 I arrive in Kenmare at my B&B for the next few days: River Meadows B&B. I’m starting out in this little town down south of County Kerry. Pretty little houses are in a row in the „Jewel at the Ring of Kerry“ – by the way the slogan of the city.

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It is beautiful here and with just over 1,700 inhabitants it is very cosy. I regret it a little bit that I mainly intended the city as a starting point for my tours on the Ring of Kerry.

Clive Owen, who owns a house in Kenmare, has responded to the question of the Irish Independent „What helps to keep you under control? the following:

„Exercise. Chilling out in Ireland. I’m getting a house built in Kenmare. I would rather be in an old pub in Kenmare than in the West End.“

Well, then I’ll do that and go to the „city“for a cosy end of the day.

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When I return to the B&B, my hostess gives me a good tip for going out. I’ll check it out tomorrow after my tour on the Ring of Beara.

Trip on the Ring of Beara

In bad weather, I start my tour on the Ring of Beara in the morning. After a short time I have to stop to look at an extraordinary plant. The vegetation on Ireland surprises me again and again. This plant is really big. To illustrate this, Chrissie from the edelfabrik simply stands under one of the leaves.

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Another small natural spectacle is only visible because of the current low tide. It reveals colourful algae that are otherwise hidden under water. And there is a lot more to come out.

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No stone on stone, but a small snail on the stone.

On my tour I also discover a plant that I would have thought to be more likely to find in southern regions: Rhododendron.

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As beautiful as it looks, it unfortunately turns out to be a plague in Ireland. The English had once introduced the Rhododendron ponticum from Spain into their Victorian gardens. The plant thrives even more beautifully than in its former home country due to the optimal climatic conditions and soils.

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The invasive rhododendron thus displaces native plants and changes the face of Ireland. An Irish Member of Parliament has recently even called for the army to be used extensively against the Rhododendron.

But not only exciting plants line my path on my Ring-of-Beara tour. Also the mighty rock formations impress me.

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They look as if the rock had been stacked on top of each other in individual layers and has now simply fallen over.

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Because I stopped every few meters by car to enjoy the beautiful and impressive landscape, my actual destination is no longer reachable. I wanted to translate with the „Ballaghboy Cable Car“ to Dursey Island. But the cable car is closed. Then I guess I’ll have to come back. *smile*

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In a travel documentary I had already heard about the Ballaghboy Cable Car. Even cows are transported in it. As the weather is getting worse and worse and it’s getting rather late, I drive back home on the other side of the peninsula a bit faster.

I was not able to see the „real“ sights of the Beara Peninsula during my tour. So here is a short list for you: an imposing stone circle near Castletownbere, the ruins of Dunboy Castle and Puxley Castle or Garinish Island. But it was also a nice tour.

Arrived at the B&B I freshen up a bit and then I go to the Boathouse Winebar & Bistro for dinner. What do you want me to say? It’s gorgeous. While eating, you have a great view over Kenmare Bay.

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The Boathouse Winebar & Bistro is furnished in a nice country house style, the service is very good and the food is really delicious. So I have reserved another table for the next evening.

First route on the Ring of Kerry
Kenmare – Sneem – Rossbeigh Beach

On my first day tour on the Ring of Kerry I drive first from my B&B on the N70 to Sneem. Here I leave the Ring of Kerry on the R568 to drive through the Iveragh Heights to the center of the peninsula. There I also roam the highest mountains of Ireland: the Macgillycuddy Reeks.

But first I encounter something else typically Irish. On Irish side roads it can happen more often that a herd of sheep stroll on the street.

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And it shouldn’t be the only time I’ve had sheep in my way today. After a while I turn left from the R568 onto Ballaghbeama Pass. One or two houses are still standing at the edge of the road. Later, apart from the street, every sign of civilization disappeared.

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Since there is usually little traffic on this route, the sheep feel very comfortable here in the region and occupy the road more often. If this is a single-track road, on one side it’s a slope and on the other side it goes steeply upwards, then this is how it looks:

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Well, and since the sheep don’t line up in line along the roadside, you just follow the sheep at walking pace. In between, they don’t want to eat anymore, stop and start eating again.

Then I have to use horns or loud engine noises to make them run.

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But then it goes on at a normal pace until I have driven the sheep to the next pasture. After such decelerations I am always rewarded with fantastic views.

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Finally I arrive at the northern side of the Iveragh peninsula and drive to Rossbeigh Strand. This is located 2 km west of Glenbeigh on the Wild Atlantic Way. This wonderful beach extends over three kilometres.

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On the way back to the B&B to Kenmare I drive again on the N70, past the Lough Caragh and the Lough Leane. I make a short stopover in Killarney and walk through the city.

Shortly after Killarney on the N71 I make another stop on my way back to Kenmare. In the heart of Killarney National Park, at the legendary Lady’s View viewing point, I enjoy the view over the landscape.

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The viewpoint is said to have been given this name because Queen Victoria’s queen was deeply impressed by this view over Upper Lake.

Conclusion to my first tour on the Ring of Kerry

The tour is fantastic. I had to drive many single track tracks with tight turns. But the scenery is breathtaking and worth the trip. I like to look back on this tour.

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Travel tips for driving over Ballaghbeama Pass

  • Duration approx. 1.5 to 2 hours – stops for photo shooting not included.
  • There are only a few places on the route – don’t forget to bring provisions.
    Because there are stops and walking speed on the way due to sheep demos, it is best to start the tour with a sufficiently filled tank.
  • Get up early and drive off. More oncoming traffic could be on the road later. In some places, however, only one car can pass through. You have to drive backwards until the road widens again.
  • Take a road map with you for safety – mobile phone reception and GPS is not available in some places.

Ring of Kerry II. – Portmagee – Valentia Island

On my second tour of parts of the Ring of Kerry, Kenmare says,“Goodbye.“ to say. My next overnight stop is the B&B Shealane Country House on Valentia Island.

So it’s back on the N70 for now. When I pass Sneem again, I have to think about my dreamlike tour from the day before.

In Castlecove I turn onto a side road that leads me to my first stop on the way to Valentia Island.

Staigue Stone Fort

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From the car park there are only 150 meters to the Ringfort. You enter the interior through a low gate opening.

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The purpose of the fort is still unknown. Previous interpretations assume that it was a defensive structure, a night camp or a ritual site. However. It is exciting to see how people have built up these walls in such a way.

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The tour continues on the Ring of Kerry along the coast. In many places I have a fantastic view of the sea and the islands.

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Finally I arrive in Portmagee. I have planned two overnight stays here at the B&B because I really want to visit the Skelligs.

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But since the boats can’t drive over to the two islands in all weathers, I want to play it safe. A visit in rainy weather is not really fun when you have to climb up on slippery stone steps.

Another advantage is that the owners of the B&B have booked the crossing for me and I go to the boat dock completely relaxed next day.

The highlight of my trip through Ireland: Skellig Michael

Several boats are available at the pier of Portmagee to cross over to Skellig Michael. We wait briefly until everyone who has registered on board, and then the captain leaves. Next stop: UNESCO World Heritage Site Skellig Michael.

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If you are here in the region, then you should definitely make the crossing to Skellig Michael. Since the island has become more popular due to the new Star Wars movies, the prices have naturally been a little bit higher.

Nevertheless, this is a unique experience which I report more about in my blogpost travel tip Ireland Skellig Michael.

Conclusion of my second round trip through Ireland

And with this highlight my round trip through Ireland was already over again. With dreamlike impressions of the Green Island I return home. I still think back to the exciting experiences and unique travel impressions.

Ireland will certainly see me again soon. The north of the island also has its charms. So my next trip to Northern Ireland will take me.

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