Ireland Road Tripping: Cork & Kerry in August with friends

In early August, we had some friends coming over from Boston to visit us in Dublin. Instead of spending their entire nine-day vacation here in the city, we’re heading to Cork & Kerry for the first four nights of their trip.   Overall we had an amazing time and had great weather but I am Cork & Kerry’d Out – and next road trip will be Northwest & Antrim/Northern Ireland.  We have only been to the area in the winter/Christmas time so to see the amount of people in towns and around was different too.

In looking at Airbnb and other sites, it is very hard to find affordable accommodations for two families for less than 7 days, but we did.  We found a house for rent just outside Kenmare (one of our favorite villages) in Dunkerron Woods.  As you can imagine,  August is peak time in that area so many houses are already rented.   I really enjoyed renting a self-catering unit as we could enjoy breakfast and dinner (occasionally) here at that made it more affordable.  I will say though we had to buy a lot of things which you take for granted having at home like butter, salt, pepper, ketchup, mayo, etc.  So next trip we take, within Ireland, I’m going to bring a sort of started box from home containing all those condiments and bits that would be used.  Anyway, this property was great – a perfect location for exploring the area.  Very quiet at night and served our needs perfectly.

We spent our entire trip going from one place to another – so many places, I have to try and remember the names of them.  I’ll just start by posting a bunch of the best photos I took – all from my android.  Didn’t bother to take my Nikon on this trip – also as I was sitting in the back of the ‘bus’ nearly the entire time, many photos were taken through the window.

One day we drove the entire Ring of Kerry and onto Valentia Island.  It was a bit windy and chilly so didn’t walk up to Bray head – but I imagine the view is amazing and the area is so nice.  I said it was like “50 Shades of Green”. Not any time soon as I want to explore other parts of the country first, but in a few years, I could totally see us renting a small house here & just enjoying the views and area.

We also drove from Kenmare to Crookhaven in West Cork via the beautiful Healy Pass and Kerry Mountains… at one point we HAD to stop, pile out and take some photos.  The views were amazing.
Once we got through the mountains and into West Cork, we entered Goleen and onto Crookhaven, where we were impressed with the crystal clear waters.  Having only been in the area for winters – and last year right after Christmas, we only remember it from cold winter walks with the dogs, Lara and Ashleigh.)   This time was even more fun – the kids LOVED it.  They started running down the dunes and then within minutes clothes were off and they were paddling in the sea.
At Barley Cove Beach, there is a great, week-long surf school – perhaps something for the kids.  If we lived closer, I’d totally sign them up.  Perhaps there is something up this way when they know how to swim better.  Then again, I think Soren would sign up for the Sutton Dingy club to learn to sail.

Of course, a trip down to that area wouldn’t be complete without a stop in O’Sullivans in Crookhaven to have some lunch.

crookhaven

[Yep – open faced salmon sandwiches & seafood chowder!]  It was packed and not only that outside was even more busy.  This time was full of families who were jumping off the wall into the quay. Most wearing full wetsuits and a few without – who were clearly a bit cold.  The kids made a friend who they were encouraging to jump.

Another day we headed over to Killarney – the most “American town: in Ireland.  First we stopped over to check out a real castle as that was on Mason’s list.  So with the closest castle to us being Ross Castle, we went along to check it out.  You were not allowed to take photos inside, but we did have an informative one hour tour of the insides.    Inside was an exhibition hall and you were able to take photos there – so I couldn’t resist the “poop hole” which the kids pointed out to me.  Later on the tour, we got to see said poop hole…

While it was informative and interesting, I think I much prefer visiting old, lavish and elaborate stately historical homes which have been restored – guess I’m spoilt with National Trust properties – could visit the Muckross House next time.

Before we did the tour we had time to kill so we explored the grounds.  It is set on a beautiful lake which you can take a boat tour- that is what all the old people did as they were not physically able to climb the small, winding staircase.  Oh and I can’t forget that the kids nearly gave me a heart attack by climbing around the walls – and as they were going to climb on the cannon, my helicopter instincts kicked in and Sam was kind enough to make the blade sounds – hilarious! .

On the way back to Dublin we made our way to the Blarney Castle so that Sam & Nicole could “kiss the stone & become eloquent”.  It’s one of the biggest tourist attractions in Ireland – we had to go.

I have done it before (many, many years ago  and it was just us and the guy who works there… but this time, despite waiting with our friends in a long line (with Nils & the kids),  I was chicken and couldn’t do it.  Ever since having children 7 years ago, I’m such a wimp and overly cautious.   Anyway, both Nicole & Sam kissed the stone so it was well worth the wait.

Now they will never again be lost for words. 🙂
Outside they have a “Poisonous Garden” – bet you’d NEVER find that in America!!  I can think of a few kids who shouldn’t be brought here!
We had such an amazing time together and this post does not reflect the scenery nor our daily adventures, but for the sake of time, I just want to post up the photos.