Remember to think RURAL, in Kerry.
It makes for a different sort of driving.
Look out for things like:-
Sheep and wild mountain goats that are frequently found walking along (or across) the road.
Slow moving tractors and farm machinery that may be around that sharp bend.
Allow time for the same long, slow vehicle to cross the road, if it should pull out of a junction in front of you.
Older folk like to stop and chat to other locals when they meet, even when they are driving.
Unfortunately, this can mean the car in front may stop suddenly, in order to do so!
Some drivers use their indicators...others like you to guess!
Oh, and dogs...there are many dogs roaming unaccompanied in Ireland, and some like to chase fast moving cars! SLOW RIGHT DOWN......it confuses them!! :-)
If you take a Bus Eireann tour of the Ring of Kerry, or in fact any other, make sure that you come back to your coach by the agreed time. The trips are long and the driver has no time to waste waiting for latecomers. On my first trip, two of the tourists, one of them American, were left behind already in Macroom, our first stop. One managed to catch up with us in Killarney taking another - scheduled - bus, so, should this happen to you, you could try doing that. The other never turned up.
Arriving in Dingle on the Monday of a Bank Holiday weekend last August, we encountered some unexpected problems. We chose a restaurant for lunch, ordered and then noticed on the menu that credit cards ( not even laser cards ) were not accepted. My husband went to the ATM up the street but it was out of order. Same thing for every ATM in town and one outside the town. We had to cancel our order and leave. We planned on eating at a reataurant somewhere along the peninsula instead. Many restaurants certainly, but everyone of them closed. At this stage, we fell between lunch and dinner hours and nowhere, not even the pubs were selling any food at all. A girl in a pub at Dunquin, gave me some cash on a laser card transaction but she had not so much as a sandwich to sell. We ended up buying crisps and chocolate in a small grocery store and the men in my life were not very happy at all. Finally, in the Smerwick Hotel , a barman took pity on us and managed to procure some toasted sandwiches. A very strange situation for such a popular tourist area. You have been warned.
We rented a car for our trip. We're Americans, and therefore not used to driving on the left. Take the time to practice a little (if possible) before leaving the parking lot. The passenger should remind themselves that the roads might be a little narrower then you're used to and that the driver isn't trying to drive into the bushes or scrape the paint off on the bridges. All the shrieking, yelling, and pulling away from the side of the car isn't going to do anyone any good. Try and remain calm. If necessary, remind the driver when turning that they should be on the left.
Not exactly a danger, unless you are hiking and completley unprepared, but as you can imagine the weather here can change in an instant! The higher you go into the mountains, the wetter it gets and the closer you are to the coast the windier it gets!!!
This will not spoil your trip, but will add to the scenery and atmosphere! Honestly, a place you passed 10 minutes ago will look so different in the different weather conditions!!
If you start driving the Ring of Kerry in a clockwise direction, beginning at Kenmare, don't give up! The road is very narrow and wind-y, but the views are gorgeous. And the road gets much better once you're on the northern part of the peninsula.
I sat with someone on the airplane who gave up halfway along the southern part of the Ring and backtracked!!!
Tralee is a friendly town with a buzzing nightlife scene and good live music venues. The people are friendly and if you are travelling on your own you won't be on your own for long. Obviously like any place Tralee has it's fair share of crime but in general it's a safe place.
Good place to start is the Brogue Inn on Rock street. They have traditioinal music playing most nights and there's a good steak house upstairs. You can crawl out of there to more pubs up the road. like Val Shea's and the 'Ramblin house' to name but a few. Oh the memories! After the pub crawl head on to the Brandon Hotel to round off the night. Good bar and nightclub.
Tralee: (The strand on the Lee) is the capital town of the kingdom of Kerry and is famous internationally for its Rose of Tralee Festival. Tralee originally formed part of the ancient kingdom of 'Ciar' which dates from the first century. By the 12th. century Tralee had grown as a fortified town and was the seat of the Earls of Desmond. The Dominican monastery was founded in 1213. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -------
OK that's the history lesson. Now if you have the misfortune of turning up in Tralee with plans to go elsewhere in Ireland forget it! once you are in the kingdom you're here for the duration. Believe me! I have tried to see other places so my best advice is see them first before you get here, if you get my meaning that is.
Connor Pass, Dingle. Do not even consider driving up that way on a bad day. First of all you are not going to see anything, anyway, and secondly the road is very narrow and in places has a sheer drop down the mountain on one side with a towering wall of rock on the other. Highly recommended on a fine day, though.
Watch out for Kerry drivers ;-) If they overtake you with 90 mph on a very narrow street you sometimes think your final day has come ;-)
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