The Ominous Ring of Kerry

Ring of Kerry Travel Blog

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Sheep in the Road

Now everyone I have spoken to who was in Ireland loved the Ring of Kerry, with a great name like that, you have to love it.  So after looking at a map we figured the Ring of Kerry would be a great addition to our trip.  We looked at two maps; the larger one made us nervous as it looked like it would take the better half of the day to get around the full Ring and into Dingle.  But when we cross referenced that map with a more detailed one, it didn’t look all that bad and we figured we could manage it in an hour.  Right…

 

The beginning of the journey wasn’t so bad; it was like any other road.  The only problem was that we kept ending back up in the same town.

I Love This Guy!
  I am so scarred; I can’t even remember the name of the town.  The road signs in Ireland are very hard to decipher.  Sometimes there would be arrows pointing in one direction to the Ring of Kerry, but then we would take it and it would end up being the wrong turnoff.  Or it would lead us back to the same town.

 

We tried to leave five times, but every time we kept going the wrong way.  It was getting a little scary.  Finally we asked a man taking a walk early in the morning to help us out.  He told us that the road was very hard to see and you would only know it if you were a local.  Great!  What is the point of signs if they don’t make sense?  We were using a map too and it was sending us in the wrong direction.

Bird at the Ladie's View
 Ireland was freaking me out!

 

Finally, we were free of the town that was holding us back and we were on our way to the Ring of Kerry.  At first it was smooth sailing and then from out of nowhere, the roads began to morph into something I have never seen and hope to never see the likes of again. 

 

We were heading up to the Ladies View as everyone I had spoken to raved about it.  What they forgot to tell us was the higher we got up the mountain, the smaller the roads got.  Besides just being small, they deteriorated before our eyes!  They were in bad shape and were very windy, which we expected as it was on a small mountain, but these babies were so narrow and chock full of potholes and other fun!

 

There were cars that were going 10MPH, this is not an exaggeration.

The Ladie's View
  I can’t blame them, because there were times when there were tour buses in the other lane coming into our lane.  Luckily we were against the mountain so we had nothing to fear except being crushed.

 

We finally got a hang of the driving in the mountainous area but just then nature threw another obstacle at us.  There on the road was a couple of sheep on the road grazing and completely ignoring us.  Eventually they found a better patch of grass on the side and left, but everywhere we drove around the Ring, there was sheep close by the road.  These guys were crazy!  But I love them because they weren’t about time constraints; they were about the simple pleasures in life.

 

After what seemed like an eternity, we came upon the Ladies View.

More of the Ladies View
  I have to say, it was a spectacular site and worth the stress of the drive, well, at least for me.  It was slightly overcast when we arrived (of course it was, it was Ireland in April), but every once in a while the sun would break and dance off of the water in the distance illumination the dark sky. 

 

The view was wonderful, but I am not one to stand idle, so I decided I was going to take a hike and began walking to an area where I could jump over the wall and get a better look of the view.  It seemed innocent enough, but the ground was very damp and I was juggling a new Canon Camera in my hand.  I had a flashback to Angie’s camera at the Blarney Castle.  I tried to take it slow, but ended up tripping and running down the hill at a breakneck speed.

Angie and I
  I have to say it was fun and I was completely unscathed as I kept my balance the whole time.  I’m a beast!

 

The walk was very muddy and I didn’t want to mess up the rental car with muddy shoes, so I decided to jump across a bunch of small stones that were lodged in the muck.  It worked pretty well, except once in a while one would sink and I would have to move quickly to the next stone.  I felt like Frogger!

 

After the hill and the mud I was golden.  I looked back up to find Angie, but she was still by the ledge, I wasn’t even really sure if she knew where I was.  But rather than yell out to her I continued further down to get even closer to the lake in the distance.  

 

On my way there I met up with two gentlemen who I figured were Irish.

  The funny thing is they were from Jersey and Boston and had thought I was Irish.  They asked were I was form and I told them NYC.  We all had a laugh over it as we were all pretty much from the same area, though one of the guys knew I was originally from the West Coast as my accent was nothing like a New Yorkers.  

 

When Angie caught up with me these two fine gentlemen asked if they could take a picture of us together with the view.  I am not one to turn down a cool photo op and agreed, how often am I at the Ladies View?  After we said our goodbyes, I silently stared at the view.  Part of me wanted to continue further down and see more.  After seeing so much amazing scenery in Ireland, part of me wondered if people ever got of off the beaten path and went further and explored more.

Driving on the Ring of Kerry
 Was it safe?  Was it private property thus you could get shot or chased of by dogs?  I still don’t know, but during the whole trip I really wanted to pull over numerous times and just start climbing and exploring.  One day, I will have to do it, why not life is short.

 

After the Ladies View we were back onto the main road and headed further out onto the Ring of Kerry.  The road progressively got worse which I didn’t think was humanly possible, well, it was.  It was strange, because the part of the Ring we were on wasn’t green, but rather brown and hilly. There on the steeps rocky hills were sheep eating on the side.  I have no idea how they were defying gravity on the hills as they were and kept imagining a few of them tumbling down the hill at any moment and hitting our car.  Luckily, it never happened, though the image is still burned into my brain.

 

After 30 minutes, we realized that we were nowhere near the end of the Ring and that we had completely misjudged the time it would take to get around the Ring of Kerry.  We made a decision that rather than take the whole ring and be in the car all day long and do nothing, that we would back track and head straight to Dingle instead.  We would miss out on all of the beauty the Ring would offer us, but we didn’t want to be stuck in a car all day either.

 

So we did a u-turn in the road as there was nobody around for miles.  As we headed back, we were met with a borage of locals that came out of nowhere who were flying down the roads at twice the speed that they should be.  The drivers in Ireland are crazy and are not fazed by scary roads or large cliffs.  Not at all!  These guys will take the roads at the highest speed possible and not think twice about it.

 

We kept letting them pass, but unfortunately heading down the Ring of Kerry by the Ladies View, there is no room to pull over, because if you pull over too much you will fly off a cliff.  

 

Let me tell you, the ride up the cliff wasn’t bad.  Why, because the roads were bad, but we were hugging the mountain.  On the way down, we were hugging the roads that were on the cliff drop off points with lots of water and narrow roads.  Ireland wants you to believe that you are safe by putting up thin wooden posts and a few strands of barbwire, but don’t believe it.  If you hit the “safety” fence you are doomed, because that thing couldn’t hold up a two year old without buckling.

 

Because we drive on the other side in the US, the passenger, who was me at the time, would not be used to sitting on the left side of the car, but this was Ireland and in the left seat I sat.  The whole time we had cars and buses coming into our lane from the other side.  For some reason, they felt we could move over more to the side and give them more room.  Let me tell you, we couldn’t.  We were inches away from the edge, I kid you not.  I was sitting right there and looking straight down.  At times our car would go over the yellow line that was barely on the road and I would grab my seat as I knew it would be over for us soon.

 

Everywhere in Ireland they have signs that  tell you how many people had died on that road that year, those damn signs weren’t helping me either.   Apparently Ireland is know for it fatalities behind the wheel, I thought they would be adding two more to the list very soon.  I tried to keep my eyes on the road ahead, but it wasn’t helping me, I could still see the cliffs.  Finally I tried to close my eyes and sleep.  That is my answer to everything; if you are going to die, close your eyes and sleep, you won’t see it coming.  Nope, I couldn’t do it; my heart pounding was keeping me awake.

 

Finally we got back onto a larger, straighter, flatter road that took us to the main freeway.  We had to pull over at the local Spar and because I had to use the restroom.  I didn’t even care that there was no seat on the toilet, after that trip, I could handle anything.  We decided to grab a sandwich and a few snacks to keep us satisfied until we got to Dingle.

 

The Spar rocks and is a great place to get cheap eats.  What I found interesting is that the Irish are more creative with their sandwiches. I had the tuna with lettuce and cheese and that was it.  The woman looked at me confused and then a local came up next and had the works which consisted of everything you would expect on a sandwich but added mash and stuffing!  It was like a Thanksgiving sandwich in the USA, but it was April!  Wild!

 

I have to say that was one of the best meals I had in Ireland.  Why?  Because I survived the Ring of Kerry and I was so famished at the end of it.  It was kind of like being on death row and getting your last meal.  After, we gobbled down the grub we were on our way to Dingle, after our early morning afternoon jaunt we needed to relax
binky says:
Definitely! I would love to go again and drive up north, but I keep having flashbacks to the roads and waking up in a cold sweat! :) Glad to have experienced it and lived, though.
Posted on: Mar 12, 2010
TravellingAuntie says:
The last time I've driven overseas was in Ireland. You're right, it scarred me for life! Now I take public transportation or taxis.
Posted on: Mar 12, 2010
binky says:
It truly is. I am willing to risk the roads, again as it is a wonderful country and didn't see nearly enough. I can't wait to go back!
Posted on: Jul 31, 2008
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Sheep in the Road
Sheep in the Road
I Love This Guy!
I Love This Guy!
Bird at the Ladies View
Bird at the Ladie's View
The Ladies View
The Ladie's View
More of the Ladies View
More of the Ladies View
Angie and I
Angie and I
Driving on the Ring of Kerry
Driving on the Ring of Kerry
Ring of Kerry
photo by: Eric