We were on the road by 8:45 so that we could complete our tour of the Ring of Kerry in decent time. This is a stunningly beautiful drive around the Iveragh Peninsula, with lush green fields, brooding mountains and rugged coastline, combined with many different historical buildings and lovely little seaside villages. We made several stops along the way, including the Kerry Cliffs, where it was so windy, you could barely make it up to the top!! But the views up there made the walk most worth it!
Our first stop was at a sheep farm, where we were introduced to the different breeds of sheep that are raised in Ireland, both for their wool and for their lamb. Following that we had a demonstration of sheepherding by the farmer and his two amazing collies. They respond both to voice commands and whistles, and it was fascinating to watch how quickly they each responded to their own series of whistles to guide the sheep wherever he wanted them to go.
Second stop was at Cahergill, the remains of a dry stone constructed ring fort, one of many that dot the countryside in these parts. These are apparently hard to date, but it is believed that this one was probably occupied some 1000 years ago. It was somewhat unique because it not only had the circular walls standing, but also a smaller circular building in the centre, where someone of importance possibly lived.
Our next stop was, as I said, at the Kerry Cliffs. There is a steep walking path up to the top, but it was so windy, the climb was challenging, and once at the top, we were very glad there was a fence, because it would have been very easy to have been blown right off the top! The views were spectacular, including a hazy far-off view of Skellig Michael which is a twin pinnacled crag off the coast, made famous as the planet Ahch-To where Luke Skywalker disappears in the Star Wars movie, and is home to the first Jedi temple.There are also the ruins of an old monastery on the island.
Another place we visited for a short time was the town of Waterville, mostly known for being the place where Charlie Chaplin had a home and spent a fair bit of time. There is a statue of him on their main street.
At ? House we made a stop so people could explore the Fairy path, which led to a garden with all manner of exotic plants, or walk down to the beach to see across to the ruins of an old monastery. We opted for the latter, but weren't sure where to go but after a little wander through the woods, we found the beach. The house itself is quite grand.
Back on the road, Killarney bound, arriving in time for a quick cleanup before heading over to Bricin Boxty House for a taste of some traditional Irish food. A boxty is a potato pancake made with potatoes, flour, baking soda, buttermilk, and sometimes eggs. They are served with a filling, somewhat like a crepe. We had both the lamb and the chicken and both were delicious.
On the way back to the hotel, we passed by a church where there was a free concert. Mary and I opted to stay, while the rest toddled off "home". We were so glad we stopped, as it turned out to be a very talented little group of Irish/Ugandan musicians - three in all! The man who played the guitar and bohdran was amazing, at one point making his guitar sound like a harp. The young woman on the flute was equally impressive. A most lovely way to end our time in Killarney!