Rossbeigh Beach, Glenbeigh.
Three and a half mile (appx.) of uninterrupted sandy beach and dunes, as beautiful in Winter as it is on a Summer's day. There is a riding stable nearby, where you can ride on the beach.
Fondest memory: The people.
Talk to the people. They love to engage in conversation with you, and will want to know everything about you too!
Favorite thing: If I had to choose one place to spend time in out of all the gorgeous places here, it would be Ballyferriter. The countryside is a little less rugged, with loads of green boggy fields, speckled with wild flowers, wending their way down to the sea. There are no great big expanses of beach , just a series of secluded coves one more delightful than the next. In the distance the trio of headlands called The Three Sisters stand out and everywhere there are white cottages and the intense blue of the sea. The village of Ballyferriter is quite big ( as local villages go here ). It has several pubs and restaurants and a small regional museum. This whole area is a Gaeltacht where Irish is the first language of the local people. Because of this there is a huge influx of students who come to learn the vernacular at a whole host of Irish Summer Schools.This is also a very popular place for Irish people to holiday in and there are lots of holiday cottages to rent.
Favorite thing: The Blasket Islands are the farthest point west in Europe. After this the next stop is America. There are seven islands in the group as well as a few isolated outcrops of rock.The islands are now uninhabited, one of them being owned as a holiday retreat by former Taoiseach, the now deceased, Charles J. Haughey. It's possible to visit the islands by boat either from Dingle or Dunquin but this is always dependant on the weather and sea conditions. Like most people of my generation, I don't have a burning desire to visit the Blaskets. This is a direct result of compulsory study of the autobiography of the island woman Peig Sayers whose book was rammed into the skulls of generations of Irish Secondary School students. At Dunquin ( on the mainland) you can visit the Blasket Island heritage centre. Like most heritage centres it is of questionable value and in my opinion a boat trip over there would be much more enjoyable.
Favorite thing: When you stop to admire the view or vist the Fort at Dunbeg you will immediately notice the little stone structures in the fields on the other side of the road. These are Clochans or Beehive Huts and date from the Early Christian period. They really look remarkably like beehives and when you consider that they were built, like the dry-stone walls, without mortar, they become quite impressive feats of architecture and building techniques. These are the little huts used as retreats from the worlds by monks and hermits. Some are in perfect condition and others are in disrepair. Some are now used by farmers for other reasons and this is of course the traditional style of building for ouhouses and farm buildings in this area. (See the photo of the sheep dipping pen in my Off the Beaten Path section). You can photograph the huts qute clearly from the road but if you want to go inside you have to pay a small fee to the farmer whose land they are on.
Favorite thing: Dumore head ( Photo 2) juts out to sea a few miles beyond Slea Head, a green and rocky headland, strewn with farmhouses and small holdings seperated by the traditional dry stone walls. Underneath the headland ( photo 3 ) is Coumeenole Strand, an idyllic little beach featured in the movie, Ryan's Daughter. If you do decide to get off the beaten path and swim here, be careful, as the sea currents can be dangerous. Photo 4 gives an idea of the sheer rock face of the cliffs and the main photo shows this dramatic rock face in detail.
Favorite thing: Slea Head, underneath the slopes of Mount Eagle, is at the westernmost tip of the Dingle Peninsula. Once you pass the large Sculpted Calvary,the views are totally breathtaking. Breathtaking in the literal sense also because when you get out of the car, there is a brusque Atlantic breeze to cope with. But all this fresh air is intoxicating and this is one of the best spots to enjoy the first sight of the Blasket Islands, jutting up from the ocean . There's a Famine Cottage here that you can visit if you are interested in seeing a re-creation of living conditions during the Great Famine. In my view, this is just a tourist trap but many people find it quite fascinating.
The Coastal Drive from Dingle to Smerwick Harbour is, in my opinion, the most spectacular coastal drive in Ireland. I'm describing this under General Tips because these tips are not very detailed . This is somewhere I visit at least once a year, but we just do the drive, stopping at various points along the way to enjoy the scenery. For more detailed information on specific places I suggest using google and the Kerry tourism websites. So in this section I will just include very basic information as the photos speak for themselves quite eloquently.
Ventry is the first large beach and village you pass on this journey and just a few km beyond this you wil see signs for Doonbeg Fort, an Iron Age Promontory Fort at the very precipitous edge of the headland.There's a parking area here and a restaurant. To get to the fort you have to go down a lane through the fields. Well worth the trouble if you haven't visited a Promontory Fort previously.
One of the things that I admired throughout our trip in County Kerry was the abundance of flowers, not only in private gardens, but also on country roundabouts or city lawns.
There were masses of flowers in the wild too and many flowering shrubs, creating a real faerie of colours! They looked so picturesque against the background of the lush green grass of the meadows where you could see white or black sheep grazing. A real idyll!
When I browsed through my pictures taken during the trip to Kerry, I found a strange thing.
If you look at this picture, what do you see? A road with a car and a man standing there admiring the view? Yes, but what else? My husband was like me and saw a face of an old man looking out of the coach window. The problem is that that man would have had to be sitting in the seat in front of me but I remember well there was a girl sitting there. So who could it have been - a leprechaun taking a ride in our coach to avoid trudging up in the rainy weather? This idea appealed to me very much - I do like to believe in supernatural creatures.
On closer inspection of the picture though we think we have discovered the secret. The man's 'nose' is a bend in the road, the 'lips' and 'chin' - the hair of the girl in front. But of course we cannot be sure. Don't our pictures sometimes play tricks on us?
Ogham (pronounced 'oh-am') is a primitive alphabet, sometimes called the Celtic Tree Alphabet, which takes the form of linear strokes cut into stone or etched onto wood.
Fondest memory: We saw a group of Ogham stones at Dunloe, 8kms west of Killarney on the R562 near Beaufort village. The guide told us that they were important, but I didn't really catch what the importance of them was. We didn't get good pictures of them from the speeding bus.
The internet information says: Seven of the eight Ogham stones in this group were discovered in a souterrain at Coolmagort in the nineteenth century and have been set up on this site close to Dunloe Castle. The tallest stone is 8 feet high. There is also a prostrate slab taken from the grounds of nearby Kilbonane church. These stones were originally the roof of a souterrain or underground passage which collapsed at the end of the last century.
Using them as lintels in underground passages protected them from the weather so that the inscriptions can still be read. I don't know what the result will be of setting them up like this.
The Blennerville windmill in Tralee is the best-preserved windmill in Ireland and it is a well-known landmark at the "gate to Dingle-island". There is also a museum-steamtrain going between the windmill and Blennerville.
The train runs daily between may and october
Telephone : 066 28888
Fondest memory: This windmill is just a museum today, and it is located right at the north entrance-road to Dingl Island.
They have a nice tea-room there with great scoones, a big parking and some nice souvenir/antiques-shops, BUT it is also one of these places, where all of the tourbuses will stop, so the prices for souvenirs are higher here than in the smaller villages nearby.
The museum-windmill is open daily
from April to October / Telephone : 066 21064
Ok - well I was going to put this in the 'Things To Do' category - but honestly I think you should only visit it if you're out this way as it only takes about 20 mins to look through the whole place (and that's if you take your time).
That aside, it is 'the only one of it's kind' and contins 6 different aspects of village life in the village. There is; The Turf Cutter's House, The Blacksmith's House, Stable Dwelling and Dairy House, Denny's Hen House, the Labourer's Cottage and The Thatcher's Dwelling. Each house reflects a person (family) who would have lived their and what their circumstances would have been like.
Fondest memory: Ok not a 'fondest memory' - but the address and information for the village:
Glenbeigh, Ring of Kerry, Ireland
(Beside the Red Fox Bar and Restaurant)
Ph: 066 9769184
It's a bit difficult for me to present a county with all it's sights in this VT layout - even though I have to commend VT for a brilliant system.
The Ring of Kerry for instance is a big area with sights that doesn't necessarily apply to a specific town or city. The Ring of Kerry being the biggest attraction to county Kerry in my view, I will add all my Ring of Kerry tips in this County Kerry page. Other places like Killarney, Dingle, Tralee will have their own subpages.
Fondest memory: Meeting Dingle's most famous inhabitant: Funghi the Dolphin. He has been living in Dingle Bay for many years, and accompanies every boat in and out of the bay. He turns up with such certainty that tour operators will even give you your money back if he doesn't. You can also go out to swim with him, if you like.
It's like entering a different world! And it's a funny adventure trip as well! I will never forget the day we went there....
Read more about this amazing experience in my Skelligs Travelogue
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